Project Description               The “ECom Coop” is a cooperative structure designed to enable improved access to e-commerce opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries. The Cooperative aims to open the possibility for SMEs to share legal and logistical resources to that are necessary for cross border E-commerce, and in doing do enable the enterprises to retain more of the value of their production.

Currently, only businesses from select countries can register and trade on the most common e-commerce platforms (such as Amazon, Alibaba, or E-bay). Enterprises from most least developed countries are effectively excluded from participating in these high growth market platforms, largely as the result of concerns on compliance with relevant financial rules and regulations. The UK-registered ECom Coop provides an efficient and transparent channel to access such online trading platforms. The Cooperative allows SMEs to ship small quantities by grouping their need for transport purchases together with other members and negotiating lower prices with transporters. Sharing budgets through the Cooperative also enables larger scale more visible marketing promotion on behalf of all members.

Acting on behalf of SME members, the ECom Coop can negotiate contracts for services – including transport but also packaging and processing. Having access to these outsourced service at competitive prices ensures that the SMEs are able to retain a higher share of the final price, and earn higher margin.

The ECom Coop is a route for SMEs to explore global markets and take advantage of the new possibilities for digital trade.  
   
Legal Scope Sidley is providing assistance and advice on: the set-up of the organizational structure of the E-commerce Cooperative; buyer-seller contract templates; the drafting of appropriate privacy policies for the website; and market access advice for some specific products.  
   
Legal Team  Monika Zdzieborska, Rajib Pal, Jan Yves Remy, Sarah Preisler, Christine McDaniel, Suvayu PantWilliam Long, Francesca Blythe. Several NYU students are assisting on this project as well.
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