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New Policies for a New Economy

What are new policy ideas to support a more just and sustainable economy?Over the last several years, jurisdictions across the country have enacted programs to support inclusive economic development through worker ownership.

What are new policy ideas to support a more just and sustainable economy?

Over the last several years, jurisdictions across the country have enacted programs to support inclusive economic development through worker ownership.

C2BE has compiled these programs in a Memo that surveys all policies at City, State, and Federal level that support worker ownership. This blog post excerpts such policies at the City level. The full Policy Memo memo is available for download on our Resources Page.

C2BE hopes that our Policy Memo can provide Detroit-based policymakers and supporters with helpful ideas for how we can decide how to use public policy to advance worker ownership and inclusive economic development locally.

  •   New York City, New York

1.     Mandatory Tracking of Worker Cooperatives Contracting with City Government

a)    In March 2015, the New York City Council passed a law requiring the city to report the number of contracts it awarded worker cooperatives and the number of worker cooperatives assisted by its Department of Small Business Services.[2]

2.     Public Funding of Cooperative Development Organizations.

a)    In 2015, the New York City Council passed the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, which authorized the City Council to spend public funds on technical assistance organizations dedicated to worker cooperative development. The Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative is administered by the New York City Department of Small Business Services.

b)    In 2015, New York City Council distributed $1.2 million to 10 technical assistance organizations that: created 21 new worker cooperatives, provided 84 services to 24 existing worker cooperatives, reached 938 entrepreneurs, and created 141 new worker owners.[3]

c)    In 2016, New York City Council distributed $2.4 million to 14 technical assistance organizations that: created 17 new worker-owned businesses, developed 182 technical assistance service relationships to 114 individual businesses, created 164 new sustainable jobs, and reached 2,164 entrepreneurs, business development professionals, and new partners.[4]

d)    In 2017, the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative will distribute $2.45 million towards worker cooperative development.[5]

  •   Madison, Wisconsin

1.     Public Funding of Cooperative Loan Fund and Development Organizations

a)    In November 2015, the Madison Common Council passed the Cooperative Enterprise Development Program, authorizing the city to spend $600,000 each year over the next five years to fund worker cooperative development for the purposes of job creation and economic development.[6]

b)    In July 2016, Madison Common Council distributed $300,000 to the Cooperative Network, a coalition of local cooperative development organizations, to provide technical assistance, outreach, public education and coalition building. [7]

c)    In addition, Madison Common Council distributed $300,000 to the Madison Development Corporation, an experienced community economic development organization, to administer a high-risk revolving loan fund for cooperatives.[8]

  •   Minneapolis, Minnesota

1.     Cooperative-Specific Training Integrated into City’s Business Development Programs

a)    In April 2016, the City of Minneapolis announced the expansion of its Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) to include services aimed specifically at supporting the development of new Minneapolis co-operatives through the new Co-operative Technical Assistance Program (C-TAP).  C-TAP hosts a series of feasibility classes for people interested in forming a cooperative. Follow-up technical assistance includes: site selection assistance, business consultation, grants, financing programs, and more.[9]

  •   Oakland, California

1.     Public Resolution Recommending Policy Support for Cooperatives

a)    In September 2015, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution recognizing the benefits that worker cooperatives bring to local economies[10] and recommending the City support cooperative development through a broad range of options: preferential procurement, succession planning, tracking cooperative contracting, and monitoring technical assistance delivered by the city’s Business Assistance Center.[11]

  •   Berkeley, California

1.     Public Resolution Recommending Policy Support for Cooperatives

a) In February 2016, the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution calling for City Manager to develop a worker cooperative ordinance to support worker co-op development in distinct ways: preferential procurement, cooperative-specific education materials, business tax and land use incentives, and changing the business permit application to allow registration as a worker cooperative[12]

  •   Austin, Texas

1.     Public Resolution Recommending Policy Support for Cooperatives

a)    In March 2017, the Austin City Council passed a resolution directing the City Manager to develop policies to support worker cooperatives in Austin and recommending a broad range of options including: funding, education, succession planning, and city procurement.[13]

  •   Cleveland, Ohio

1.     City Participation in Anchor Institution Strategy

a)    Since 2005, the City of Cleveland has participated in a coalition using an “anchor institution” strategy of cooperative development, which uses the purchasing power of large, locally-rooted entities (mainly universities and hospitals) in order to incubate green, worker-owned businesses in low-income neighborhoods to build community wealth.[14]

NOTE: This blog post only includes policies at the City level. To see policies at the State and Federal level that support worker ownership, please download the full Policy Memo.


[1] A worker cooperative is a business that is owned and democratically controlled by its workers, typically on the basis of “one worker, one vote.”

[2] http://www.nycetc.org/single-post/2015/03/23/Mayor-de-Blasio-Signs-Council-Bill-into-Law-Supporting-Economic-Opportunities-for-Worker-Cooperatives

[3] http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/downloads/misc/wcbdi2015-booklet/offline/wcbdi.pdf

[4] http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/downloads/pdf/working-together-fy16-local-law-22-report.pdf

[5] Id.

[6] http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/pdf/Schlachter_MCDC%20Planning_0816.pdf

[7] http://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Madison_Cooperative_Enterprise_Development_Initiative

[8] https://madison.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=4479377&GUID=15F830A9-1887-469F-942D-EA99AEAB2EDB

[9] http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/pdf/local%20govt%20support.pdf

[10] https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/oakland-worker-coops-support-city-council

[11] https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B24IaEIz1aPFb1BtMGtWYlN3RHJXU0hEblk5eFA3WVFmWjQ0/view

[12] http://www.theselc.org/berkeley_worker_cooperative_resolution_passes

[13] http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/edims/document.cfm?id=274100

[14] http://www.evgoh.co/our-partners/

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