Mutual Benefit Enterprise

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A mutual benefit enterprise (MBE) is a hybrid business structure that includes characteristics of both an LLC and a cooperative. A MBE, known in other states as a limited cooperative association (LCA), is an unincorporated cooperative entity. An MBE is an association of individuals or businesses that unite to meet their mutual interests by creating and using a jointly owned enterprise.

The MBE combines an unincorporated and flexible organizational structure (like limited liability companies and limited partnerships) with the principles and values of “traditional” cooperative corporations. This is designed to increase equity investment opportunities for capital-intensive and startup cooperative enterprises by allowing, but not requiring, the MBE to have voting investor members in addition to patron members.

Foreign (Non-Vermont) Enterprises Doing Business in Vermont

If you are an existing out-of-state MBE and wish to do business in Vermont, you need to obtain a Certificate of Authority from the Office of the Secretary of State. For more information about registering as a foreign MBE, please see “Foreign Business Registration.”

Business Name of a Mutual Benefit Enterprise

The name of a mutual benefit enterprise must end with the phrase "mutual benefit enterprise, the abbreviation "MBE," or the abbreviation "Mut. Ben. Ent."

MBE business names may NOT contain the word "cooperative," nor the abbreviation "coop."
   

Mutual Benefit Enterprise Law

Please visit Title 11C of the Vermont Statutes Online for more information.

Registration Fees

Please see “Fees & Filings” for the costs of registration.

Duration of Registration

Once registered, you must renew your MBE registration each year. For renewal information,
please see “Annual/Biennial Reports.”

STOP: Before you get started, we recommend that you consult with an attorney, accountant, or business advisor about which business structure is best for you. 

Registering a Mutual Benefit Enterprise: Online or by Mail

Do not invest in websites, signs, business cards, or other marketing materials until you receive a certificate confirming the availability and your ownership of the requested name.

The state of Vermont operates under a “deceptively similar” standard. Under this standard, if the requested name is too similar to an already registered name, such that it would confuse the public as to whom they are dealing with, it will be rejected.

All registrations with the Office of the Secretary of State are subject to name availability rules. Please search our online database for your desired business name to avoid any obvious conflicts.

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Online Registration

Online registration is the preferred method. There is no extra fee and turnaround times are much faster. For information and instructions about online registration, please see our Online Registration Guide. To begin your online registration, please visit the Online Business Service Center:

Log In & Register Online 


Registration by Mail

To create a Vemont (domestic) MBE:

You will need to file Articles of Organization (MBE).

To register a non-Vermont (foreign) MBE

You will need to file an Application for Certificate of Authority (MBE).

This page was last updated: 2014-11-24