Multi-stakeholder cooperatives (MSCs) are co-ops that are owned and controlled by more than one type of membership class such as consumers, producers, workers, volunteers, or community supporters. Stakeholders can be individuals or organizations such as non-profits, businesses, government agencies, or even other cooperatives. Instead of focusing on the needs of a single membership class, MSCs are often built around a broad mission that addresses the interests of the various stakeholder groups. The number of MSCs in the U.S. is small but growing. As co-op developers, how can we best serve this emergent class of cooperatives? To begin answering that question, I embarked on an informal research project to learn more about MCS’s opportunities, challenges, and board training needs.
Providing the Right Support: Are the Training Needs of Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives Unique?
University of Wisconin Center for Cooperatives