Unleash the Potential of Cooperative Management Upcoming Online Workshop

As we are aware, cooperatives offer a tremendous amount of opportunities, while opening a door to vast networking and knowledge exchange among their members, stakeholders and even their customers.  Cooperatives agree to a set of principles, the first of which is “voluntary and open membership.” Through this cooperative principle, any individual willing to accept the responsibility of membership and who wishes to use the services of a cooperative are welcome to become a member and should be allowed to voluntarily join the cooperative.  The open membership principle can be contradictive to today’s corporate business practices as firms try to find the “best talent” to compete in their industry. If you or your company are finding yourselves in this situation, consider attending the workshop “Unleash the Potential of Cooperative Management” to gain a better understanding of how the cooperative principle of “voluntary and open membership” can become an advantage for yourself, your business, or your team. You will take away a set of tools to discover the untapped skills that exist within your organization and be able to invite your team members to contribute in new ways.  Please join us for this free workshop on Tuesday, October 18th from 1:00- 2:00 p.m.  To register visit: go.osu.edu/potential. This course will be taught by Daniella Mostow.

Daniella is the founder of MightWe, a consulting firm that helps teams collaborate better even when the challenges are complex, and solutions are unclear. She leads teams through conversations to gain a deeper understanding of core opportunities and experiment with innovative solutions. MightWe is committed to supporting small businesses and worker cooperatives in order to strengthen local economies and create more opportunities for people to shape their futures.

Get Ready for Co-Op Month- Celebrate the History!

You may be aware that Co-Op Month is celebrated in October, but are you aware of some of the history behind the holiday? Several states across the United States began celebrating the holiday in the mid-1930’s, but it wasn’t until Minnesota declared the month ‘official,’ with a proclamation in 1948, that Co-Op Month was designated in that state.  It would take 16 years to gain national recognition, but in 1964 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Orville Freeman, also a former Minnesota governor, proclaimed October Co-op Month for the entire country.  The first theme of the national celebration of Co-op Month was “Cooperatives: USDA Helps Build a Better America.”

Since that time, co-ops have been excitedly celebrating Co-Op Month each October across the country working together to build, grow and be more resilient in their respective communities.  Many also use it as an opportunity to tell their stories and share the collective impact co-ops have throughout the country.

According to the Cooperative Network, “It is a time for cooperative businesses to reflect on their shared principles and to educate others about the value of belonging to a cooperative.”  Today, we continue to celebrate the over 40,000 cooperatives, that provide more than $25 billion in wages in the United States alone.  It is also estimated that there are 350 million members of cooperatives nationwide, including those members that belong to more than one cooperative.

According to a 2021 report from the USDA, “the largest number of farmer cooperatives are in Minnesota, followed by Texas, North Dakota, California and Wisconsin.  Farm cooperatives did the most business in Iowa ($18.3 billion) followed by Minnesota ($16.2 billion), California, Illinois and Wisconsin.”

This year’s theme, ‘Co-Ops Build Economic Power’ brings to light the power of cooperative business to strengthen the economy.  According to the National Cooperative Business Association, “As businesses face inflation and supply chain challenges, cooperatives provide stability and opportunity. As employees question their role in the economy, cooperatives are creating dignified, empowering jobs with paths to ownership and wealth-building. As communities tire of rhetoric, cooperatives are creating the meaningful diversity and equity at the heart of an inclusive economy.”

Here at The Ohio State University South Centers, Center for Cooperatives, we plan to celebrate Co-Op Month all October long with informative articles and podcasts, information from our partners and much more.  Be sure and follow our Facebook page, as well as our Twitter account so you don’t miss out on how we celebrate!