Community Economic Development and Cooperatives

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There is a natural affinity between community economic development (CED) and cooperative development. Many cooperative development practitioners have a background in CED. They can readily see the co-op model as a powerful tool for local economic development[1] [2]. This is especially true in low-income communities, where conventional lenders and investors are often absent. By pooling human, financial and other resources, cooperative enterprises can be run by people who lack the resources to start or run individual businesses [3].

Worker cooperatives around the country are organizing to offer peer learning opportunities, mentoring programs, and resource sharing strategies to prospective, emerging and established co-ops [4] [5], often focusing on low-income and immigrant communities. At Southern New Hampshire University the Center for Cooperatives & CED provides co-ops access to resources such as a series of webinars entitled "Cooperatives in Troubled Times"[6]. The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions [7] and Credit Union National Association [8] as well as the Coalition of Community Development Finance Institutions [9], are all places where the aims and the underlying values of cooperatives and CED groups align.

See Also