COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT

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

STARTING A CO-OP

  • 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, www.usworker.coop

Democracy at Work Institute, dawi.usworker.coop

Democracy at Work Network, www.dawn.coop

American Worker Cooperative, www.american.coop

ICA Group, www.ica-group.org

Understanding Worker-Owned Cooperatives: A Strategic Guide for Organizers, http://www.communitychange.org/uploads/files/worker-ownedcoops11_30.pdf

WAGES, www.wagescooperatives.org

US Co-op Resources                                   

CooperationWorks!, www.cooperationworks.coop

National Cooperative Business Association, www.ncba.coop

University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, www.uwcc.wisc.edu

International Cooperative Alliance, www.ica.coop

Funding

Cooperative Fund of New England, www.coopfund.coop

Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, www.leaffund.org

National Cooperative Bank, www.ncb.coop

Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) ,www.acenetworks.org

Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, www.ncdf.coop

Legal

Co-op Law Center, http://www.co-oplaw.org/

Starting a Co-op

Co-op 101: A Guide to Starting a Cooperative, www.cdi.coop/CDIcompletestart-uppkt2010.pd

Vital Steps: A Cooperative Feasibility Study Guide, www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/pub/sr58.pdf

Credit Unions

Report of the CUNA Cooperative Alliances Committee (pdf)