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Examples of Community Based Enterprise

C2BE was originally inspired by a number of real-world examples of community-based enterprise efforts.  The following are some of the best-established programs around.

Metro Detroit

CBE Scan (PDF, 45mb):  One of C2BE’s first projects was completing a review of Community Based Enterprises in the Metro Detroit area.  It’s large, but it contains a lot of information.

Midtown Commercial District:  Led by the proprietors of regional culinary powerhouse Avalon International Breads, businesses throughout the Midtown neighborhood near the campus of Wayne State University have banded together to develop a meaningful commercial presence in a previously underserved region of the city, turning it into one of the most talked about retail destinations in the Detroit.


Evergreen Cooperatives:   Led by the Cleveland Foundation and assisted by the Ohio Center for Employee Ownership , Evergreen is a partnership between the residents of six Cleveland neighborhoods and some of the city’s most important “anchor
institutions” – the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland, Case
Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals,
and many others.

Maryland Brush Company:  A company with nearly 150 years of history, Maryland Brush went employee owned in 1990 and is rebuiliding itself as a 21st century industrial company, moving into the green energy sector through the production of solar power equipment.

Arizmendi Bakeries:  A network of a half dozen worker-owned bakeries in California, named after the leader of the Mondragon cooperative movement (see below).


The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation:  Founded in 1956 in the Basque region of Spain during a period of economic depression, it transformed the economy of the region.  Under the leadership of  Father José María Arizmendiarrieta, the MCC has grown into a multi-billion dollar collection of locally-owned interconnected corporations.

The Quebec Solidarity Fund:  The most prominent of Canada’s Labor Sponsored Investment Funds, the Quebec Solidarity Fund was created by legislatively established under the management of the Quebec Federation of Labor.  With the expicit goal of providing investment to smaller firms to promote employment and economic growth, Fund investments approach $1 billion per year, with a portfolio that is characterized by exceptionally high rates of job creation and R&D investment.

Emilia Romagna region, Italy:   The Emilia Romagna region of Italy is home to a network of hundreds of cooperative enterprises founded over the last 70 years, providing everything from agricultural products to education, as well as a whole host of social services devolved from the government to the cooperatives in the early 1990s.

     Other Resources

Co-op Funding Sources: Here’s a list of banks, community development loan funds, community development financial institutions and grant programs that fund cooperative development.

Co-op Support Resources:Here’s a list of programs and membership organizations that seek to connect and build capacity amongst those working towards cooperative development and worker ownership.

Educational Resources: We’ve compiled list of educational material around cooperative development, which includes educational board games and guides around consensus-based decision-making.

Legal Resources & Policy InitiativesHere’s a list of national legal and policy work that promotes cooperative development.

Consulting Services & Trainings: Here’s a list of trainings and consulting services that specialize in cooperative development.

Cooperative Extensions: Here’s a list of resources that highlight cooperative development in the agricultural sector.

Publications: Here are publications and writing series that focus on worker and housing cooperatives. is a project of The Democracy Collaborative and seeks to bring together information about the broad range of innovative community wealth-building strategies throughout the US. has compiled an extensive list of resources around research, toolboxes, and organizations that support cooperative development. Explore here!

Worker Co-op Legal Structure Options: An overview of the various forms of co-ops.

“The Big Picture: The Cleveland Evergreen Model and Community Wealth Building” presentation by Steve Dubb: at the”Good Jobs, Green Jobs” Blue Green Alliance Conference

Fair Exchange : C2BE’s research into successful efforts to anchor economic development in local communities around the country has led us to identify the concept of Fair Exchange, a model for how communities can ensure that public investment in development generates a fair return to the citizens.  The concept is explained in greater detail in our Fair Exchange brochure.

Business Coops Survey(11219863_2) (XLSX)

Business Coops Survey(11219863_2)[1] (XLSX)

Massachusetts Corporation Division Fee Schedule (PDF)

Michigan 1 (DOC)

Michigan 2 (DOC)

Michigan 3 (DOC)

Minnesota Worker Coop Statute Part 4 (PDF)

New York Worker Coop Statute (PDF)

Oregon (PDF)

Pennslyvania – 7101 General (PDF)

Pennslyvania – 7701 Worker Cooperatives (PDF)

South Dakota – General (PDF)

South Dakota – General[1] (PDF)

Texas – General (PDF)

Vermont – Worker Coop Act (PDF)

Washington – Cooperative Associations (PDF)

Washington – Employee Coop Statute (PDF)

Washington – Employee Coop Statute copy (PDF)

Wisconsin (PDF)