Cooperatives represent a growing segment of the economy with an estimated 30,000 enterprises and 100 million members in the U.S. alone. A great way to bring democracy into the workplace, coops can be built from scratch, but they can also be created by converting existing businesses into worker-owned cooperatives. For retiring business owners as well as entrepreneurs, selling a business to employees is a way to strengthen the business while getting a return on investment.
Melissa Hoover, executive director of the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), says that coop conversions are one of the most promising sources of new cooperatives as they already have customers, assets and employees, which makes it less risky than a startup. She also notes that those coops created from conversions are among the most passionate members of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives.
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