Webinar: Retaining Rural Businesses Through Conversions to Employee Cooperatives

Date: February 22, 2 PM-3 PM (ET)

A two-state initiative in 2020 created awareness and curriculum about converting businesses to employee owned cooperatives as a route to rural business retention. There are fewer than 7,500 employee-owned companies in the U.S. (out of millions of employer firms). While most of these are Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), worker cooperatives are a more viable and practical option for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The project was funded by NCRCRD and led by the University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives as well as Cooperative Development Services in Minnesota.


  • Michael Darger, University of Minnesota Extension
  • Courtney Berner,  University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
  • Kevin Edberg, Cooperative Development Services