Madison Cooperative Enterprise Development Initiative

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= project for local cooperative development in Madison, Wisconsin


Rebecca Kelme:

"Steering Committee – multiple partners work with fiscal agent (Cooperative Network) to develop processes for authorizing program activity and develop budget. Reporting and evaluation.

Tools & Resource Development – Website, communications and marketing of project.

Program Delivery Coordination – Develop directory of technical assistance providers and coordinate intake and service delivery.

Program Design & Curriculum – UW Center for Cooperatives works with partners to identify educational resource needs. Individual needs assessment tools."

Program Goals

By Rebecca Kelme:

  • Capacity building around technical assistance, financing, community organizing and tracking & reporting the impact of cooperative businesses in the City of Madison.
  • Increased number of family-supporting, living wage jobs as a result of worker ownership. This can include new jobs created by new co-ops, jobs retained by the transition of a business to a co-op ownership or unionized co-op models.
  • Community asset building. Technical and financial support for programs that help create ownership of businesses and community owned assets with a focus on communities of color, low wealth communities and communities excluded or exploited within the traditional workforce.


By Rebecca Kelme:

Program Principles

  • Accountable and representative leadership
  • Clear and careful thinking about goals
  • Establish metrics, evaluation system
  • Communicate to all stakeholders
  • Leverage City funds for private investment in a revolving loan fund
  • Embed cooperative development capacity in a diverse group of organizations: professionals, unions, cooperatives, community orgs, SBDC, lenders

?Timeline for Cooperative Business Development initiative

  • September 2014: Mayor Soglin announces a 5-year plan for funding the cooperative enterprise development initiative
  • November 2014: the Madison Capital Budget includes $1 million/year for 5 years beginning in 2016
  • November 2015: the amount is cut to $600,000/year for 5 years
  • February 2016: RFP for the program released
  • June 2016: Common Council to vote on award of contracts and programming begin

Request for Proposal Funding

Two-part RFP released by the City in early 2016:

$300,000 for a high-risk revolving loan fund

$300,000 for technical assistance, outreach, public education and coalition building

One collaborative proposal was submitted to the City by a broad coalition of financial institutions, cooperatives, labor and community organizations.


Unions and Labor partners

  1. WRTP Big Step (WI Regional Training Partnership)
  2. SCFL (South Central Federation of Labor)
  3. IUPAT (Painters and Allied Trades)
  4. SMART(Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation)
  5. UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers)


  1. University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
  2. ??MadWorC (Madison worker co-op network)
  3. Madison Interpreters Cooperative
  4. Wisconsin Cooperative Network (statewide co-op association)
  5. ?Shared Capital Cooperative

Community financial organizations

  1. Madison Development Corporation
  2. Forward Community Investments
  3. Summit Credit Union
  4. Heartland Credit Union

?Community and activist organizations

  1. Young, Gifted and Black
  2. Freedom, Inc.
  3. Centro Hispano
  4. Black Chamber of Commerce
  5. Latino Chamber of Commerce
  6. Latino Professionals Association
  7. Workers Justice Center
  8. Madison Urban Ministries
  9. Operation Welcome Home
  10. Feed Kitchen/Northside Planning Council