An innovative economic model - La Tricoterie - Fabrique de liens

An innovative economic model

La Tricoterie is a citizen’s project, divided into two structures (an ASBL and a cooperative), each with its own activities and sources of funding. Not easy to find your way around ! We explain.

Two distinct and complementary structures

From the outset, La Tricoterie was conceived with a particular economic model. Indeed, as the project is a citizen’s initiative, it was necessary to wait several years before obtaining subsidies : it was therefore necessary to find another way of financing the cultural activity, which was inevitably in deficit.

To do this, the project was designed around two components : on the one hand, a socio-cultural program (the real heart of the project), and on the other hand, an event activity and an economically viable catering service, making it possible to support the first component (to a certain extent).

In concrete terms, the Tricoterie project is structured around two distinct legal entities : Théodore SC (buildings, events and catering) and La Tricoterie ASBL (socio-cultural season).

Events at the service of culture

Théodore SC : A business activity as a tool, not as a goal

Our cooperative "Théodore SC" had 47 co-operators until 2021 and has grown to 342 co-operators lduring the big fundraising event we organised for the purchase of a new building (find out more about the history of La Tricoterie here!). The cooperative is the owner of all the buildings dof the Tricoterie and oversees the events and catering activities of the project : room rental, catering, team buildings and other professional services dedicated to companies or individuals.

Theodore Cooperative does not benefit from any structural subsidy : this is why our professional services must be profitable and are offered at market prices, unlike our cultural activities which are offered at very democratic prices, or even free of charge.

Thanks to the profits from the events and catering activities, the cooperative can :

  • Continue to invest in its buildings and improve their energy efficiency.
  • Hire the staff needed for its activities (sales, coordination, management, managers, etc.) but also some of the staff needed for the cultural activities of La Tricoterie ASBL, if it does not have the means to do so itself.
  • Invest in sound and light equipment used for private events, but also for cultural activities organised by La Tricoterie ASBL.
  • Make its rooms available to La Tricoterie ASBL at a very preferential price (about 20% of the standard price).
  • Directly financing the activities of La Tricoterie ASBL through annual donations, when the cooperative’s financial situation allows it.

The income from the events and catering activities of the Théodore cooperative therefore enables it to develop its activity, but this objective is secondary (we have never paid a dividend to our co-operators). The primary objective of the Théodore cooperative is to finance the cultural activity of La Tricoterie ASBL.

In other words, when you use our professional services (room hire, catering...) you contribute directly to the financing and sustainability of our socio-cultural activity and make a strong civic and environmental gesture. Discover our rooms and our catering service here !

La Tricoterie ASBL : The link factory and culture at the heart of the project

La Tricoterie ASBL (non-profit association) is the real heart of our project : it organises all our socio-cultural programming (theatre, music, workshops, evenings...).

Initially financed solely by the Théodore cooperative, La Tricoterie ASBL can now count on public subsidies which represent more than 70% of its financial income. These subsidies are extremely valuable : they allow us to be less dependent on income from our event activity, and therefore to use our spaces more and more often for our cultural activities, instead of having to rent them out.

In addition to the subsidies, the Théodore cooperative remains essential to the functioning of La Tricoterie ASBL : it rents out its spaces at a highly preferential rate, lends it sound and light equipment, puts some of its staff at its disposal and directly supports the ASBL through financial donations.

Thanks to the subsidies and the direct or indirect help of the Théodore cooperative, the ASBL can :

  • Hire staff (coordination, communication, management...) : 3.5 FTE in 2022
  • Pay its socio-cultural partners and service providers (artists, craftsmen, animators, advisers, accountants...)
  • To rent the spaces of Théodore SC at a very preferential price (approximately 20% of the standard price)

The economic model of the Tricoterie is thus a structure in two parts, one cultural and loss-making, the other event-based and profitable, which together allow to support a citizen project thanks to a system of partial self-subsidisation, as well as to the indispensable support of the subsidising authorities.