Inclusive Economy | February 4, 2015

Worker-Owned Co-ops Gain Traction

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Madison, Wisconsin will invest $5 million in worker-owned cooperatives in 2015, more than four times the $1.2 million that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio committed last year to the growing movement of worker-owner businesses.

Worker cooperatives are increasingly part of the conversation around ways to reduce income inequality. There are roughly 30,000 cooperatives in the U.S. today (the majority are customer-, versus worker-owned). Nearly half of US workers participate in profit-sharing programs at work.

Fast Company reported that Madison’s city government plans to consider proposals for planning, research, grants, loans, and even forgivable loans to support the development of cooperatives in the city.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin told Fast Company: ”We’re hoping this will be part of our economic development strategy in areas where there’s food insecurity, where there isn’t a concentration of jobs, and where significant numbers of households are below the poverty line.”