Upcoming conference to support small and emerging cooperatives

Cooperatives require a group with a mutual need that is willing to share the responsibilities for managing this form of business.

Cooperatives are formed to provide services or products to their members. This coming together of economic interests makes sense in our capitalistic system for many reasons. The price of admission, most generally, is to accumulate as a group the necessary monetary capital to accomplish shared goals not possible as individuals. This shared economic democracy requires, in addition to cash or equipment, the exercising of the rights and responsibilities of cooperative membership.

The Michigan Cooperative Development Program, part of the Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, is co-sponsoring a conference for small and emerging cooperatives on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at The GreenStone Farm Credit Services building, 3515 West Road, East Lansing, MI 48823 (North of Lake Lansing Road).

The Michigan Cooperative Development Program is a part of the MSU Product Center, an entrepreneurial support center focused on supporting new and developing business ventures in Michigan. The Michigan Cooperative Development’s mission is to support groups interested in learning more about cooperatives as a business structure. Other sponsors are CoBank, GreenStone, Foster, Swift, Collins and Smith P.C., and the Mid America Cooperative Council.

The conference is for directors and members of small and recently-organized cooperatives as well as anyone contemplating starting a cooperative or other type of association. The conference is an excellent opportunity for groups interested in learning more about cooperatives as a business structure. This year’s conference will cover the essential elements of cooperatives, how MSU works with cooperatives and USDA rural development to support new cooperative groups, and the legal, business and financial aspects of starting your new cooperative business.

You can find more information on the online registration page through Michigan State University Extension, or you may contact me, Mark Thomas, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (269) 370-2978 if you have any questions.

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