The Art And Science of
Cooperative Development

A rigorous three-part course for participants to develop the skills to start a new cooperative and assist groups to start new cooperative enterprises.

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Sessions 1-3

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Comprehensive Training
For Cooperative Developers

This intensive, outcome-based curriculum is focused exclusively on cooperative applications and real-world elements such as site visits and interactive case studies.  The training provides critical lessons in cooperative business model, group facilitation and start-up issues while incorporating challenges cooperatives face today.  Upon completion of the program participants will be able to:

  • Understand the unique attributes of the cooperative business model

  • Lead groups through the key steps of cooperative business development process

  • Set up effective governance models for start-up cooperatives

  • Apply strong group facilitation and communication skills

  • Assess cooperative finance and capitalization strategies towards business success

  • Advise groups on the process of completing a feasibility study

  • Prepare a cooperative business plan

  • Educate groups on the legal structure and the tax environment for cooperatives

  • Build successful cooperative development ecosystems

Explore The Sessions

Building Blocks

The first session of The Art and Science of Cooperative Development lays out the basics of the cooperative model, including governance, feasibility, business basics, and memberships. Additionally, we’ll cover topics ranging from cooperative history to building your cooperative ecosystem.

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Toolkit Implementation

This session will dive deeper into topics like feasibility, explore a wider array of business planning tools, include more information and resources for later stages of business development, and put more emphasis on the field of cooperative development and the participants’ role in it.

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Finance Fundamentals

Session 3 is a five-day, webinar-based training that gives participants hands-on experience building their own Excel workbook to determine the feasibility of a start-up co-op.

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Building Blocks: Cooperative Basics, Building Capacity, and Developing Leadership

Our foundational training on co-op development and the first in our Art and Science of Cooperative Development series, Building Blocks is back! We’ll be offering this virtual program from June 21st-July 21st, 2022.

Building Blocks Online 2022 Agenda

You can register for the program here. We’re offering a $100 early bird discount on registrations until Friday, May 13th!

Limited scholarships are available. If you require financial assistance, please fill out and submit this application by Friday, May 6th!

Building Blocks (formerly Session 1) provides a thorough but introductory overview into the field of cooperative development. This session lays out the basics of the cooperative model, including governance, feasibility, business basics, and memberships. We’ll cover topics ranging from cooperative history to building your cooperative ecosystem. Participants will learn from case studies that delve into particular topics in co-op development, such as investment cooperatives, conversions, and assisting groups in low-resource communities. Additionally, tours to local co-ops and ample networking opportunities this intensive, productive, and meaningful training.

While we’re optimistic, we don’t know what the COVID variants are going to do! To remain accessible to more people, we’re keeping Building Blocks online this year. We hope to gather in person by 2023! Check out the rough schedule below. Find the detailed agenda here.

Building Blocks 2022 Dates

  • Tuesday, June 21st: Welcome, Networking, and Co-ops 101
  • Thursday, June 23rd: Cooperative Movement Through History and Group Dynamic in a Cooperative Setting
  • Tuesday, June 28th: Tax & Legal Environment for Cooperatives, Intro to Co-op Accounting, Group Work
  • Thursday, June 30th: Cooperative Governance and Cooperative Business Basics
  • Tuesday, July 5th: No session
  • Thursday, July 7th: Intro to Feasibility for Start-up Cooperatives
  • Tuesday, July 12th: Cooperative Sectors
  • Thursday, July 14th: Cooperative Sectors, Continued
  • Tuesday, July 19th: Cooperative Case Studies
  • Thursday, July 21st: Assessing and Building Cooperative Ecosystems, Wrap-up

Building Blocks Online is coming to a computer near you from June 21st-July 21st, 2022!

We are always looking for new, innovative, and experienced trainers. Here are some of the folks who helped make our trainings world-class:

  • Darnell Adams, Principal/Worker-Owner, Firebrand Cooperative
  • Margaret Bau, Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA-Rural Development
  • Maru Bautista, Independent Consultant
  • Courtney Berner, Executive Director, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
  • Jamie Duong, Bookkeeper/Principal, Resolve Cooperative
  • Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development, John Jay College, City University of NY
  • Brel Hutton-Okpalaeke, Director of Development Services, NASCO
  • Margaret LundPrincipal, Co-opera
  • Nat Marineau Begej, Principal, Solanum
  • Ojan Mobedshahi, Finance Director, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative
  • Luis Sierra, Cooperative Development Specialist, Northwest Cooperative Development Center
  • Jason Wiener, President, Jason Wiener|p.c. a public benefit corporation

Building Blocks Online is $1200. We offer an early bird discount of $100 when you register and pay by May 13th. We also have limited scholarships available. Please see this application for more details.

Toolkit Implementation: Practical Application of Tools and Skills for Cooperative Developers

Toolkit Implementation will be offered online November 1st-December 1st, 2022.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!
Registration closes Friday, October 21st.

Ralph K Morris has generously provided the funds to help keep our trainings accessible and affordable. The Ralph K. Morris Foundation is a nonprofit corporation which provides development opportunities for emerging leaders expressing interest in applying and advancing the principles of cooperation, and in promoting farmland preservation, land stewardship and sustainability. We appreciate their support!

Toolkit Implementation (formerly Session 2) builds upon the concepts and skills developed in Building Blocks and prompts participants to use these in interactive, hands-on, case studies.  This session will dive deeper into topics like feasibility, explore a wider array of business planning tools, include more information and resources for later stages of business development, and put more emphasis on the field of cooperative development and the participants’ role in it. Toolkit Implementation includes hands-on case studies, peer clinicals, and plenty of opportunities to practice your co-op development skills! Check out  this Toolkit Implementation Online agenda and stay tuned for more details:

  • Tuesday, November 1st: Introductions and Networking, Business Planning and Launch
  • Thursday, November 3rd: Governance, Anticipating Common Launch Issues
  • Tuesday, November 8th: Intro to Peer Clinicals, Feasibility
  • Thursday, November 10th: Navigating Power Dynamics, Peer Clinical
  • Tuesday, November 15th: Mapping Latinx Co-ops, Rethinking Sectors, Peer Clinical
  • Thursday, November 17th: Funding Cooperative Developer, Co-op Ecosystem Case Study
  • Tuesday, November 29th: Case Studies Revealed, Practical Application of Co-op Development
  • Thursday, December 1st: Co-op Careers and Wrap

***No sessions the week of November 21st

Toolkit Implementation will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from November 1st-December 1st, 2022.

Toolkit Implementation 2021 Trainers Included:

  • Margaret Bau, Cooperative Development Specialist, US Department of Agriculture
  • Courtney Berner, Executive Director, UW Center for Cooperatives
  • Nat Marineau Begej, Cooperative Educator
  • Mavery Davis, CPA
  • Alex Stone, Executive Director, CooperationWorks!
  • Ricardo Nuñez, Director of Economic Democracy, Sustainable Economies Law Center
  • Christina Jennings, Executive Director, Shared Capital Cooperative
  • Esther West, Cooperative Development Specialist, UW Center for Cooperatives
  • Margaret Lund, Principal, Co-opera
  • John McNamara, Senior Cooperative Developer, Northwest Cooperative Development Center
  • Stuart Reid, Executive Director, Food Co-op Initiative
  • Diane Gasaway, Executive Director, Northwest Cooperative Development Center

Tuition for Toolkit Implementation Online program is $1200. If you register by October 3rd, there’s an early bird discount of $100.

Finance Fundamentals: Financial Analysis for New Cooperatives

The Next Finance Fundamentals will be offered in Winter 2023. Stay tuned!

Finance Fundamentals (formerly Session 3) is a five-day, webinar-based training that gives participants hands-on experience building their own Excel workbook to determine the feasibility of a start-up co-op. This training requires some knowledge of Excel and will build participants’ knowledge of the program.  Finance Fundamentals requires daily homework assignments as well as a final project that must be passed to be considered as having passed the course. This intensive session demands participants learn and utilize practical skills for assessing feasibility and determining success factors for new cooperatives.  Check out a sample agenda. Corrigan Nadon Nichols, Certified Management Accountant and co-op consultant, leads the course. Finance Fundamentals 2022 will be offered on the following days from approximately 9am-2pm PT:

  • Tuesday, March 15th
  • Thursday, March 17th
  • Tuesday, March 22nd
  • Thursday, March 24th
  • Tuesday, March 29th
  • Thursday, March 31st (make-up day/office hours)
  • Friday, April 8th: Final Project Due

Coming to a computer near you in early 2023!

Lead Trainer: Corrigan Nadon Nichols

Corrigan Nadon-Nichols has been consulting for non-profits, small businesses, cooperatives, and condominium associations for over ten years. He has assisted dozens of groups through initial formation, start-up, expansion, and recovering from crises. Corrigan has managed staff teams as well as boards of directors and has experience bridging the divides between different groups of stakeholders in an organization or business. Corrigan is also an experienced trainer and educator, who focuses on building the capacity of his clients.

Tuition for Finance Fundamentals is $1000. Participants who register by January 31st, 2022 receive a $100 early bird discount.

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