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


Steps in starting a cooperative

  1. Invite leading potential member-users to meet and discuss issues. Identify the economic need a cooperative might fill.
  2. Conduct an exploratory meeting with potential member-users. If the group votes to continue, select a steering committee.
  3. Survey prospective members to determine the potential use of a cooperative.
  4. Discuss survey results at a second general meeting of all potential members and vote on whether to proceed.
  5. Conduct a needs analysis.
  6. Discuss results of the needs analysis at a third general meeting. Vote by secret ballot on whether to proceed.
  7. Conduct a feasibility analysis and develop a business plan.
  8. Present results of the feasibility analysis at the fourth general meeting. If participants agree to proceed, decide whether to keep or change the steering committee members.
  9. Prepare legal documents and incorporate.
  10. Call a meeting of charter members and all potential members to review and adopt the proposed bylaws. Elect a board of directors.
  11. Convene the first meeting of the board and elect officers. Assign responsibilities to implement the business plan
  12. Conduct a membership drive
  13. Acquire capital and develop a loan application package
  14. Hire the manager
  15. Acquire facilities
  16. Begin operations

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