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The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem

Inclusive Economic Development in Action

A new approach to local economic development has never been more urgent, as poverty concentrates and inequality rises in cities across the United States. A new approach has also never been more possible. Faced with a widening racial wealth gap, unprecedented displacement of people of color from urban cores, and deadlocked federal and state governments, cities across the country are flexing their local muscle to solve big problems. They are innovating. They are prioritizing strong local economies. Various public and private sector actors are working together to maximize broad-based community benefit in real and sustainable ways.

The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem framework encourages diverse stakeholders in the field of community economic development to invest in inclusive economic development by fostering cooperatively owned enterprises within a broader entrepreneurial “ecosystem.” It helps answer the question, “How can all the actors in a place work together strategically to turn the demand for worker cooperatives into the supply of what is needed to create them?”

Project Equity co-developed the Cooperative Growth Ecosystem framework with the Democracy at Work Institute and piloted it as an analytical and strategy tool looking at five regions around the country.

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New studies in the SF Bay Area, Twin Cities, Western North Carolina and Detroit, show millions of businesses at risk, pointing to employee ownership as a solution.

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