In 2008, CooperationWorks conducted a survey of cooperative development centers in the United States to gather pertinent industry information for use in cooperative development advocacy and help to express in quantifiable terms the aggregate results of cooperative development activity.
Both current (2008) and historical data were collected. Representatives from 19 Centers responded and their Centers cover 36 states. The earliest Center’s cooperative development work began in 1985 and the youngest in 2006.
The survey of centers indicated that in 2008 these organizations:
- responded to over 965 rural business development inquiries and had 687 cooperative business clients
- provided over 470 educational activities
- delivered technical assistance (TA) resulting in 260 new jobs and 3,250 retained jobs
Over the history of the development centers these organizations
- helped create 328 viable cooperative businesses
- assisted in creating at least 1,985 new jobs
- delivered TA resulting in 169 non-co-op businesses
Cooperatives are a strong business model in the United States. There was one job created, saved or significantly impacted for every $3,713 of 2008 Development Center gross revenue. This survey suggests consistency is needed in co-op development center funding in order to maximize the productivity of cooperative development centers. It also suggests that funding restrictions make co-op development unavailable to a significant number of people in the United States who would otherwise be interested in developing cooperatives.
CW still conducts and Outcome Survey measuring the economic impact of cooperative developers every 3-5 years.