A. EXPLORING THE CO-OP MODEL
SESSION I: CO-OPS 101: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CO-OP BUSINESS MODEL
Audience: This workshop is designed for those who know little about the cooperative business model and are interested in learning more. It will be ideal for those serving on steering committees that are studying the feasibility of forming a co-op or those just thinking about starting a new co-op business.
Content: Presenters will cover the history of cooperatives in both Europe and North America, as well as the evolution of credit unions and rural utilities in the United States. The seven International Co-op Principles will be outlined, as will the different co-op business types and industry sectors here in Montana. Finally, speakers will outline how co-ops are legally formed under Montana statutes and the nature of technical assistance available to those interested in organizing new cooperatives.
Janice Brown, Executive Director, Montana Cooperative Development Center
Brianna Ewert, Cooperative Development Program Manager, Lake County Community Development Corporation
SESSION II: CAPITALIZING YOUR COOPERATIVE
Audience: This workshop is designed for those interested in the cooperative business model and especially how to raise the equity needed to launch a cooperative enterprise. It will be ideal for those serving on steering committees that are examining the feasibility of new co-op, performing market analyses, and/or developing the necessary pro forma spreadsheets.
Content: Presenters will introduce the concept of cooperative equity and how co-ops are able to offer common and preferred stock exempt from federal securities regulation as a means of capitalizing their business venture. Also covered will be debt structuring ideas suitable to co-ops, as well as foundation and government grants and loans available to young cooperatives. Sources of start-up capital will be explained, including co-op oriented banks, credit unions, and other cooperative credit institutions.
George Haynes, MSU Agricultural Economics and Economics Department
Margaret Lund, Consultant, Co-opera Co.