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Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale

The field of worker co-op development is just beginning to create the infrastructure and knowledge base needed to increase its scale and impact. This paper aims to help build the field of U.S. worker co-op development by providing a current view of the cooperative landscape and by analyzing factors that inhibit or promote cooperative development. Although informed by the cooperative giants in Europe, this analysis highlights lessons learned through the development and growth of worker coops in the United States.

Project Equity’s approach stems directly from the needs uncovered in this research, focusing on:

  • Increasing the scale of worker-cooperative development in low-income communities
  • Investing effectively in smart business development, and human capital development as mutually-reinforcing components
  • Influencing the systems of job and business growth to incorporate worker ownership more broadly

 

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