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

REGISTRATION FOR ALL BUILDING BLOCKS ONLINE 2021 PROGRAMS NOW OPEN!

Midwestern Regional Registration has been extended to Friday, September 24th, 2021!

Register for Individual Days for Building Blocks Online Midwestern Regional:

In 2021, Building Blocks Online will be offered fourt times as part of a program expansion aim at training up co-op developers to tackle the economic recovery in an equitable, sustainable way. We’re proud to offer Building Blocks for a Cooperative Economy starting in summer 2021 with support from the Cooperative Development Foundation and CHS Foundation.

Building Blocks Online is being offered four times throughout 2021, with each offering focusing on a specific US region. Anyone is welcome to take any of the sessions, but registering for the one in your region may contain more local trainers and case studies, and will connect you with other co-op developers in your immediate region.

Participants in need of financial assistance can submit a scholarship application. Deadlines vary depending on which session you are applying for.
Los participantes que necesiten asistencia financiera pueden presentar una solicitud de beca. Los plazos varían según la sesión a la que asista.

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.

With the pandemic still impacting ability to travel and gather, as well as budgets, CooperationWorks has transformed our four-day in-person training into a virtual training held on nine days over the course of a month. While this is the same cohesive and robust training we’ve offered in the past, this format allows participants to register for and participate in select days if they are unable to attend the entire training. Registration for individual days will open on Monday, June 14th. Registering for the complete course comes with a significant discount. Please go to registration for each training to see the specific days and times for each course. The course looks roughly as follows:

  • Day 1 – Building the Network: Overview, Intros, and Networking
  • Day 2   Co-ops 101: The Basics Day!
  • Day 3-  It’s Business Time: The Business Day!
  • Day 4 – Cooperation Works?: The People Day!
  • Day 5 Will It Work?: The Feasibility Day!
  • Day 6 – All the Power to All the People: The Case Studies Day!
  • Days 7&8 – Break It Down Now: The Co-op Sectors Days!
  • Day 9 Build It to Last: The Ecosystem Day!

Building Blocks Online will be held four times in 2021 via Zoom. Each session has a regional focus, but is open to all. The dates are as follows:

  • Building Blocks Online: Midwestern Regional – October 12th-29th

Check out trainers for Building Blocks 2021: the Western US.  More will be added shortly!

  • Courtney Berner, Executive Director, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
  • Margaret Bau, Cooperative Developer, USDA-Rural Development
  • Brel Hutton-Okpalaeke, Director of Development Services, NASCO
  • Nat Marineau Begej, Cooperative Educator
  • Margaret Lund, Principal, Co-opera
  • Briana Sydney, Mandela Grocery Cooperative
  • James Bell, Mandela Grocery Cooperative
  • Cherrelle Gardner, Co-op Dayton
  • Darnell Adams, Firebrand Cooperative
  • Rebecca Bauer, Democracy at Work Institute
  • Ojan Mobedshahi, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative
  • Kandis Quam, Ancestral Rich Treasure of Zuni (ARTZ) Cooperative

The tuition for Building Blocks Online is $1200. All programs have an early bird registration discount and limited scholarships available. Please see below for deadlines. Please find the scholarship application in English and Español.

Midwestern Regional: October 12th-29th, 2021
Early Bird Registration Deadline: September 7th, 2021
Scholarship Deadline: September 6th, 2021

Friday, September 24th, is the last day to register for the final Building Blocks Online Session of the year!

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

Registration for Toolkit Implementation 2021 closes Wednesday, November 10th!

We’re offering Toolkit Implementation as an online course this year from November 15-December 16th. Registration closes November 10th, so register today!

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 opportunties to practice your co-op develoment skills! Check out this year’s schedule:

  • Monday November 15: Introductions and Networking
  • Wednesday, November 17: Intro to Case Studies, Business Planning and Launch
  • Thursday, November 18th: Governance
  • Tuesday, November 30th: Funding Cooperative Development
  • Thursday, December 2nd: Group Dynamics
  • Tuesday, Demceber 7th: Feasibility
  • Thursday, December 9th: Mapping Latinx Co-ops, Rethinking Sectors
  • Tuesday, December 14th: Case Studies Revealed
  • Thursday, December 16th: Co-op Careers and Wrap

The next offering of Toolkit Implementation is November 15-December 16th, 2021!

Toolkit Implementation 2021 Trainers Include:

  • Teia Evans, Associate Director, Carolina Common Enterprise
  • Margaret Bau, Cooperative Development Specialist, US Department of Agriculture
  • Courtney Berner, Executive Director, UW Center for Cooperatives
  • Nat Marineau Begej, Cooperative Educator
  • Alex Stone, Executve 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
  • Stuart Reid, Executive Director, Food Co-op Initiative

Tuition for this program is $1200. An early bird discount of $100 is available until Monday, October 18th.

Finance Fundamentals: Financial Analysis for New Cooperatives

Finance Fundamentals was offered in January 2020. Stay tuned for our next offering (coming late 2021 or early 2022)

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 exam. 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 leads the course.

Finance Fundamentals will be offered M-W-Fr. January 6-15th 2021 via Zoom Video Conferencing.

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.

Cost will be determined when the dates for the next offering are set.

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