Own Your Future!

Cooperative Academy


At the Cooperative Academy, we believe in the transformative power of cooperative enterprises to not only impact communities and economies but also to foster personal and professional growth.

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, an existing business owner, or a group of workers eager to explore cooperative models, our Academy is designed to inspire and motivate you, providing the tools, knowledge, and support needed to succeed.

What We Offer

Our comprehensive program covers all aspects of cooperative development, from cooperatives’ foundational principles to business planning, governance, and management. Led by experienced professionals in the field, our curriculum is designed to empower you with the theoretical knowledge of how to run a cooperative business and the practical skills to put that knowledge to use.

The Benefits of Learning From Us

Expert-Led Workshops

Learn directly from leaders in cooperative development.

Practical Experience

Apply what you learn through project-based sessions and real-world scenarios.

Networking Opportunities

Connect with like-minded individuals, potential collaborators, and seasoned experts.

Resource Access

Gain exclusive access to our extensive library of materials, case studies, and tools.

What You'll Learn

The Co-op Academy takes you from “dream stage” to “shovel ready” in ten weeks.

You’ll have weekly session to learn about cooperative ownership, democratic management, and cooperative economics including:

  • The Co-op Identity
  • Business Mapping
  • Governing Documents
  • Finance and Equity
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • and more!

Class Details

Classes are from 6 to 8 PM each Monday. Next Class: TBD – Stay Tuned!

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t see your question here? Please contact us, we’re happy to help.

The International Cooperative Alliance defines a cooperative as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.”

The big difference for a co-op is that the ownership is spread out among a lot of people in a democratic (one member, one vote) structure. The purpose of the co-op isn’t to drive up share value, but to meet member needs (access to markets, access to goods and services, access to good jobs, and even wealth creation).

In all co-ops, members have a voice in the policies, and budgeting so they can design an organization that meets the needs of the membership. In a worker co-op, the model offers much more flexibility than traditional business ownership. If a member (owner) wants to go on vacation, the other workers can pick up the slack. If a worker-member wants to retire, they can just retire! They don’t have to close out the business.

This academy is for anyone that wants to start any type of co-op (Producer, consumer, worker, housing) as well as current members, workers, and directors of existing co-ops who want to learn more and help improve their co-op.

The cost for the sessions is covered through a grant NWCDC received through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant from the US Department of Agriculture. For assistance outside of the class session, urban co-op folks might need to establish a fee for service with us, but the classroom is free.

We would like to keep it to either 5 unique co-ops or 30 people.

This 10-week program will provide participants basic knowledge and skills to create Governing Documents, a decision-making matrix, a business plan, a marketing plan, the beginnings of a policy manual, and an overall strategy for membership and capitalization campaigns. Depending on the energy of your group, you could end the 10-week session with an incorporated cooperative ready to add members and start operations. For the majority, it will give you a strong foundation on getting to the operational phase.

We have not determined the timing of the academy. We expect that it will launch in early or late Spring. The time and place will be determined once we have an idea on who is going to attend.

If you’re interested, given the limited spots, we encourage you to contact us and add your name to the prospective list.