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Cooperativism had been a system with a long tradition in the Basque Country, but it was Mr. José Maria Arizmendiarrieta, a priest from Mondragón, who shaped the movement as we know it today. 


He did not consider human beings as instruments but as the basis and purpose of any social action. In order to implement his theories, he turned to young workers from the area who knew each other as they worked in the same companies. Those who excelled at their jobs thanks to their professionalism, capacity and responsibility were selected. Likewise, he was looking for nonconformist and restless young people who wanted to change the established socioeconomic system. Towards the end of the summer of 1962, the twenty men who would establish Poyam had been recruited, contributing 50,000 pesetas (300€) each and, in 1964, the 29 men that would found Ampo, with individual contributions of 100,000 pesetas (600€), were also selected. Poyam began as an auxiliary workshop, manufacturing automation components and accessories while, on the other hand, AMPO, was, from the beginning, a steel foundry. Both cooperatives, with similar origins and history, shared a friendly relationship and a similar approach to business and cooperative issues. Due to this, towards the end of the 1960s, the idea to merge both cooperative arose and on December 20, 1970 the relevant Assemblies approved the merger.