MIRAPHONE - A CO-OP COMPANY
Miraphone eG was founded in the form of a co-op company in 1946. The eG stands for “eingetragene Genossenschaft” which means a “registered cooperative”. This registered cooperative is a legal association that abides by the rules laid out by German law. The compliance and functions of the company are monitored by an external cooperative auditor to ensure that guidelines are being followed, and to act as liaison for legal issues.
A German co-op is a legal entity consisting of a General Assembly of all members, Board of Supervisors, and Executive Officers. As a cooperative, the Board and the Officers must be shareholders in the company. The rest of the Miraphone’s employees may apply to hold shares in the company allowing them a vote in the General Assembly. These applications are reviewed for approval by the Executive Officers. Investors from outside the company, are not permitted to hold shares. Every year, the General Assembly holds an election to determine its Board of Supervisors and to place a vote of confidence in their Executive Officers.
The Co-op Members benefit directly from the financial success
The purpose of the cooperative is to promote the entrepreneurial efforts and activities of its members, whether apprentices or master craftsman, as well as to meet the social and cultural needs of the corporate business and its community. The cooperative’s main objective is the support and development of its members and is a joint venture and member-management model concerning itself with performance relationships between its members and the business industry. At the center of the co-op’s identity, are the principles of self-help, personal responsibility and self-administration. The members are simultaneously equity investors and co-workers toward the greater good of the company: a two-way relationship. The investors, while having a large liability to themselves and their colleagues with regards to the success of the company, have limited liability with regards to the company’s assets. They are only liable for their own share of the capital.
The main advantage of a cooperative is clearly the financial interest in the prosperous growth of the company which influences the economic well-being of the members as well as their own work ethic. Every business year, the profit is used for re-investment as well as to pay out dividends to its members. The coop members benefit directly from the financial success of the company. Further advantages are the community aspect and the orientation to the demands of the members, as well as company security. Different than other business models, the co-op entity is protected by law and cannot be bought out or endure a forced merger unless there were a 90% member-majority vote in favor of such a proposal.