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Start-Up Resources

Gathering information about the cooperative start-up process should include both reading and talking to knowledgeable people. Other cooperatives may also be willing to share information about about cooperative operations and issues specific to the business sector.

Organizations Providing Cooperative Development Assistance

Click here for a listing.

Resources: General

Cooperatives in Wisconsin: the Power of Cooperative Action
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Cooperative Equity and Ownership: An Introduction

Cooperatives - A Tool for Community Economic Development
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

How to Start a Cooperative
USDA Cooperative Information Report 45

Keys to Success for Food Co-op Start Ups in Rural Areas: Four Case Studies
USDA Research Report 208

Co-op 101: A Guide to Starting a Cooperative
Cooperative Development Institute

In Good Company: A Guide to Cooperative Employee Ownership
Northcountry Cooperative Foundation

Startup Resources for Worker Cooperatives
Democracy at Work Institute/US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

Steps to Starting a Worker Co-op
Northwest Cooperative Federation and the University of California Center for Cooperatives

Starting a Worker-Owned Cooperative for Homecare Workers
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

A Guide for the Development of Purchasing Cooperatives
USDA Cooperative Information Report 64

Development Manual for Small Rural Home Cooperatives
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Cooperative Housing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Cooperative Success
Northcountry Cooperative Foundation

Cooperative Housing Toolbox: A Guide for Successful Community Development
Northcountry Cooperative Foundation

A Training Manual for Starting Worker-Owned Cooperatives
The Wages Curriculum to Assess Feasibility & Develop Group Cohesion

Resources: Incorporation, Bylaws and Financing a Start-Up Cooperative

Sample Legal Documents for Cooperatives
USDA Cooperative Information Report 40

State of Wisconsin Incorporation Forms

State of Wisconsin Statues Chapter 185

State of Wisconsin Statues Chapter 193

Comparing Nonprofit and Cooperative Entities; FAQs
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Guidelines for Cooperative Bylaws
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Comparison of WI Cooperative Statutes 185 and 193
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Stock v. Nonstock Cooperatives in Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Legal Manual for Small Rural Home Cooperatives
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Legal Primer: For Formation of Consumer-Owned Food Cooperatives
Food Co-op Initiative

The Member Equity Toolbox: A Guide for Retail Food Co-ops
Food Co-op Initiative

Member Loan Campaign Toolbox: A Guide for Retail Food Co-ops
Food Co-op Initiative

Resources: Feasibility Studies, Business Plans, and Working with Groups

Cooperative Feasibility Study Guide
USDA Service Report 58

Feasibility Study Outline
Iowa State University Extension

Food Co-op Feasibility
Food Co-op Initiative

How to Hold Effective Meetings
Northwest Cooperative Development Center

For additional resources on these topics:

Co-op Topics on this website
Case Studies on this website
Staff Papers on this website

USDA Rural Development Library of Publications