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

Thanks for an amazing, first-ever hybrid offering of Building Blocks! It was wonderful getting to see people in-person again, and we look forward to offering another in-person training in 2024!

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. This training will return in 2024.

Tuition for Building Blocks will be updated as the 2024 session is planned and finalized.

Building Blocks will return in 2024!

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

  • Margaret Bau, Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA-Rural Development
  • 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
  • Margaret LundPrincipal, Co-opera
  • Ojan Mobedshahi, Finance Director, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative
  • Cherrelle Gardner, Program Director, Co-op Dayton
  • Jason Wiener, President, Jason Wiener|p.c. a public benefit corporation

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

Toolkit Implementation will return in a virtual format November 9-December 12th, 2023

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN. Early Bird discount available until Friday, October 13th.

Apply for a scholarship with this form. Scholarships are due by Monday, October 9th.

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 draft Toolkit Implementation Online 2023 Agenda.

Toolkit Implementation will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from November 9th-December 12th, 2023. Sessions will be offered virtually through Zoom. Exact timing changes day-to-day, but the course will run from approximately 10am-3pm PT, as follows:

  • Thursday, November 9th: Introductions and Networking, Business Planning
  • Tuesday, November 14th: Governance, Anticipating Common Launch Issues
  • Thursday, November 16th: Intro to Peer Clinicals, Group Dynamics
  • Tuesday, November 28th: Feasibility, Peer Clinical
  • Thursday, November 30th: Funding Cooperative Development, Rethinking Sectors
  • Tuesday, December 5th: Bay Area Co-op Ecosystem Case Study, Mapping Latinx Co-ops
  • Thursday, December 7th: Case Studies Revealed, Practical Application of Co-op Development
  • Tuesday, December 12th: Co-op Careers and Wrap

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
  • Alex Stone, Executive Director, CooperationWorks!
  • Ricardo Nuñez, Director of Economic Democracy, Sustainable Economies Law Center
  • Christina Jennings, Executive Director, Shared Capital Cooperative
  • Esther West, Loan Officer, Shared Capital Cooperative
  • Margaret Lund, Principal, Co-opera
  • John McNamara, Co-Director, Northwest Cooperative Development Center

The cost for this training is $1200. Participants who register by Friday, October 13th can access an early bird discount of $100.

Finance Fundamentals: Financial Analysis for New Cooperatives

The Next Finance Fundamentals will be offered online in April 2024

Registration Is OPEN! Register Here. 

Need financial assistance? Apply for a scholarship by March 1st. Applications received at least two days before the early bird deadline will be reviewed in time for applicants to register with that discount.

Finance Fundamentals 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 regular 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.

The course runs on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout April. Each day runs for three hours, beginning at 11am PT/12pm MT/1pm CT/2pm ET and ending at 2pm PT/3pmMT/4pm CT/5pm ET.

    • Tuesday, April 2nd: Intro, Roles & Goals, Financial Statements Pt. 1
    • Friday, April 5th: Financial Statements Pt. 2& 3, Financial Model Overview
    • Tuesday, April 9th: Market Study and Revenue Model
    • Friday, April 12th: Market Study & Revenue Model, Market Research, CoGS, Finacial Model: Operating Expenses, Case Study: Ag Co-op
    • Tuesday, April 16th: Development Budgets, Raising Co-ops Capital, Financial Model: Cash Flow
    • Friday, April 19th: Financial Model: Multi-year, Case Study: Housing
    • Tuesday, April 23rd: Analysis: Break-even volume, Case Study: Worker Co-op Conversion
    • Friday, April 26th: Financial Challenges and Strategies, Group Strategy Sessions

April 2-26th, 2024 via Zoom. The course runs on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout April. Each day runs for three hours, beginning at 11am PT/12pm MT/1pm CT/2pm ET and ending at 2pm PT/3pmMT/4pm CT/4pm ET

  • Tuesday, April 2nd: Intro, Roles & Goals, Financial Statements Pt. 1
  • Friday, April 5th: Financial Statements Pt. 2& 3, Financial Model Overview
  • Tuesday, April 9th: Market Study and Revenue Model
  • Friday, April 12th: Market Study & Revenue Model, Market Research, CoGS, Finacial Model: Operating Expenses, Case Study: Ag Co-op
  • Tuesday, April 16th: Development Budgets, Raising Co-ops Capital, Financial Model: Cash Flow
  • Friday, April 19th: Financial Model: Multi-year, Case Study: Housing
  • Tuesday, April 23rd: Analysis: Break-even volume, Case Study: Worker Co-op Conversion
  • Friday, April 26th: Financial Challenges and Strategies, Group Strategy Sessions

Corrigan Nadon Nichols is the lead presenter for Finance Fundamentals. 

Corrigan Nadon-Nichols, CMA, has been guiding, supporting, and developing cooperatives and democratically controlled organizations since 2008. Corrigan provides high-level accounting, financial system management, and business strategy services to help cooperatives operate effectively while giving member-owners effective accountability processes to govern their organizations. Corrigan has worked closely with over fifteen cooperatives through the process of planning, securing financing, starting operations, and implementing cooperative management and governance procedures. Our experience is primarily in the areas of construction, manufacturing, housing, and retail, including worker- and consumer-owned cooperatives.

Stay tuned for more information on guest presenters!

Tuition for Finance Fundamentals is $1000.

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