From timelines to documentation and technical assistance, Cooperative Development Institute is an excellent resource.  


  • Find a group with a common vision - you will need at least five for a board of directors
  • Make plans for what you'd like to achieve together, and draw these out in a feasibility study and business plan
  • Register. Similar to registering a company, but governed by different legislation (in Maine). You will need Articles of Organization at least
  • Draft rules that comply with the relevant laws
  • Draft a disclosure statement to let the members know of their obligations
  • Once the co-op is registered and the documents are approved, hold a formation meeting
  • Sign the rules and you're in business

 Below is a survey of some excellent cooperative resources available on the  interweb. We'll be adding to these, so stay tuned! 

Worker Co-ops

US Federation of Worker Cooperatives,

Democracy at Work Institute,

Democracy at Work Network,

American Worker Cooperative,

ICA Group,

Understanding Worker-Owned Cooperatives: A Strategic Guide for Organizers,


US Co-op Resources                                   


National Cooperative Business Association,

University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives,

International Cooperative Alliance,


Cooperative Fund of New England,

Local Enterprise Assistance Fund,

National Cooperative Bank,

Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) ,

Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund,


Co-op Law Center,

Starting a Co-op

Co-op 101: A Guide to Starting a Cooperative,

Vital Steps: A Cooperative Feasibility Study Guide,

Credit Unions

Report of the CUNA Cooperative Alliances Committee (pdf)