ASU – Are co-ops the business model of the future in Arizona?

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“Cooperative businesses offer a chance for good stable jobs, meaningful work, community empowerment and strong local economies, particularly in areas where this is needed most: in rural areas and in poor urban areas,” says Forrest, a postdoctoral research associate at Arizona State University.

Forrest manages the Sustainable Local Food Economies and Enterprises Lab with Arnim Wiek, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Sustainability. Wiek has teaches a graduate level class that covers cooperatives, employee-owned businesses and benefit corporations.

Wiek’s lab has been working to build local capacity for co-op business development, including a bakery cooperative startup project. The lab, together with the Arizona Cooperative Initiative and a handful of enthusiastic volunteers, is hosting a workshop this week to support a growing network of cooperatives around Arizona. Over 50 participants who are from business support organizations, community organizations, or are existing or aspiring members of cooperatives will take part in panel and group discussions to chart a path forward.