Co-ops and you!

Contact Us

University of Wisconsin
Center for Cooperatives
230 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch Street
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608-262-3981


Critical questions

  • Is there general agreement on the nature of the problem?
  • Does the cooperative form of business meet the group’s needs?
  • Is there sufficient interest among potential co-op members to proceed with a feasibility study?
  • Are there individuals willing to serve in a leadership capacity?
  • Are qualified individuals conducting the feasibility study?
  • Does the feasibility study indicate that the co-op would be viable as a business?
  • What are the major obstacles and opportunities the co-op will face and how can the co-op prepare for them?
  • Given the results of the feasibility study, is there still enough interest and commitment to pursue forming the co-op?
  • Are there enough potential members willing to invest the required equity to provide the co-op sufficient start-up capital?
  • Has the steering committee determined whether or not the co-op will issue stock?
  • Has a lawyer familiar with cooperatives reviewed your co-op’s articles of incorporation and bylaws?
  • Has a bank account been opened in the cooperative's name?
  • Will the steering committee do the business plan themselves or will the co-op obtain technical assistance? Or some of both?
  • Does the steering committee have the necessary skills?
  • Has the committee tried to obtain grants and loans available to help pay for technical assistance?
  • Is the co-op able to obtain the necessary capital through a combination of equity and debt financing?
  • Does the co-op have sufficient member support to continue?
  • Is the co-op able to identify and recruit qualified individuals for key management positions?

(Source: “Cooperatives: A Tool for Community Economic Development”, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and Cooperatives Development Services, 1998)

For more information, visit: