2006. Building an Economic Democracy: Starting a Worker Cooperative. School of Community Economic Development, Southern New Hampshire University.
The objective of this project was to conduct all of the necessary research in order to start a worker cooperative in a particular industry, and from this research to develop a business plan and other deliverables that will lay the foundation for the launch of the worker cooperative. The work involved was completed by this author and his business partner, who will be the first two worker-owners of the new business to be established. If initial success in the business is achieved, operations will be expanded and the worker cooperative will take on additional worker-owners. The co-op, Renewergy Cooperative Corporation, will be started in Erie, PA, in an effort to ease some of the economic hardships faced by workers in that city, and to provide an example of the benefits that democratic workplaces can offer as an alternative to capitalist, investor-owned businesses. The project administrators based their efforts on business development literature, seeking to create the best possible foundation from which to start the business, utilizing various professionals and resources in the field and others in the chosen industry. The success of this project will be measured by the completeness of the business plan and other deliverables, and also by reviews of these materials by business development practitioners.