Cooperative Business Development Training Program for Practitioners

The Art and Science of Starting a Cooperative Business

The CooperationWorks! Cooperative Business Development Training Program is a rigorous course for participants to develop the skills to start a new cooperative and assist groups to start new cooperative enterprises. The curriculum includes:

  • The key steps of effective cooperative business development
  • The unique aspects of cooperative finance, law, governance and management
  • The essential tools for group ownership in building long-term success
  • Financial analysis and pro forma financial statements for new co-ops

Below is a description of the current three sessions that comprise CW’s professional development training program. This program was designed to deliver the best of what has been learned in the field of cooperative business development.

CooperationWorks and the University of Wisconsin, Center for Cooperative Development will be offering Session One of The Art and Science of Cooperative Development June 27-30, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. Stay tuned for more details!

If you are interested in receiving information about the training or when the next session will be offered, please contact Alex Stone at

Program Descriptions

Session One: The Steps to Start a New Cooperative Business

The first session in the program covers the skills and key development steps for the successful development of cooperative businesses. The program will include interactive sessions, case studies and tours to local co-ops to detail the practical applications of the developmental steps and methodologies. Areas of study in Session One of the training and certification program include:
Cooperative History and Principles
Comparative Business Models
The Critical Steps of Co-op Development
Feasibility Analysis
Business Planning
Building Stakeholder Capacity
Governance and Oversight
Case Study Analysis

Session Two: Key Ingredients for New Cooperative Business Success

The second session in the program examines the unique aspects of cooperative enterprises and the building of effective group capacity for the long-term success of the enterprise. Break-out case studies will track the practical applications of the methodologies in four existing cooperative businesses. Areas of study in Session Two of the training and certification program include:
Co-op Legal Structures and Taxation
Co-op Finance, Equity and Capitalization
Group Decision Making and Strategic Planning
Co-op Management Oversight
Keys to Achieving Operational Success

Session Three: Financial Analysis for Cooperative Start-Ups

The third session in the program examines the financial modeling and analysis process involved in conducting feasibility studies and business plans for start-up cooperatives. Each student will complete a set of pro forma financial statements for a new cooperative business. Areas of study in Session Three of the training and certification program include:
Components of financial analysis for start-up businesses
Financial success including liquidity, profitability and solvency
Revenue models, income statements, balance sheets and cash flow analysis
Financial projections and ratio analysis

Certification is available for participants who attend Sessions One, Two
and achieve a passing score in Session Three. Participants must pre-register for certification with CooperationWorks!

CooperationWorks! is a national cooperative of cooperative business development centers and practitioners. Members provide expertise across all aspects of cooperative development, including feasibility analysis, business plan development, training and education. By sharing their knowledge through CooperationWorks!, members maximize resources, avoid duplication and bring the greatest benefit to the communities they serve. To find out more about CW visit: