How To Start a Worker Coop

Below you will find documents that offer step-by-step guidance and best-practices when organizing a worker cooperative. It’s worth mentioning that a worker cooperatives is a business, so any book/course/resource on how to start a business should suffice for most of your planning process. Although the documents below take into consideration organizational aspects particular to cooperative model, these components are in addition to a general business plan, not a substitution for it. In order for you to create a successful worker cooperative, you have to create a successful BUSINESS plan; it has to make money. A cooperative business will not survive on it’s cooperative laurels.

In addition to the staff’s choice of resources below, you can find a much longer list on the Democracy at Work Institute’s Resource Page.

InGoodCompany-GuideToCoopEmployeeOwnership In Good Company: A Guide to Cooperative Employee Ownership was published in 2006 by Northcountry Cooperative Foundationin partnership with Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund with special funding from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Steps to Start Worker Coop (English) Steps to Starting a Worker Co-op by Gary b. Hansen, E. Kim Coonts, and Audrey Malan. Published in 1997, this manual offers thorough guidance on the essential steps in starting a worker cooperative. Case-studies of existing worker cooperatives included in this manual offer a real-life perspective to the start-up process and day-to-day operations.

Steps to Start Worker Coop (Spanish) The Spanish language version of the above document.

TechCoopHOWTO A Technology Freelancer’s Guide to Starting a Worker Cooperative. This manual us not just for techies. It’s useful for anyone who considers themselves to be in a “freelance” industry/profession or for what I like to call the “new generation coops”, people who can work for themselves, but who prefer to work with a team of peers. Edited by Brent Emerson and Jim Johnson, with stories from tech worker co-ops including: Brattleboro Tech Collective by Jason Mott, Design Action Collective by Sabitha Basrai, Electric Embers by Brent Emerson, GAIA Host Collective by Benjamin Bradley, Quilted by Everybody in Quilted, TechCollective by Yochai Gal, Web Collective by Alex Tokar, Chicago Technology Cooperative by Jim Cramer, Tech Underground by Brent Emerson and May First/People Link by Alfredo Lon.

28questionsBeforeMeetingLawyer This one-pager lists 28+ questions you should ask yourself as you plan your coop. Knowing answers to these questions will save you time and money when meeting with a business attorney to discuss the best incorporation option for your venture. You ALWAYS want to incorporate before doing business or you risk losing your personal assets if things go array. These questions were compiled by a good friend of NoBAWC, Jenny Kassan an attorney with the The Katovich Law Group and a co-founder of the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

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