The City of Madison supports its businesses in a number of innovative ways, from our Façade Grant Program that helps small businesses pay for improvements to their streetscapes through grants, to supporting organizations like the Madison Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation that provide micro or alternative lending to small businesses all over the City.
Continuing to find ways to help strengthen locally owned businesses the City is working on the "Co-operative Enterprises for Job Creation and Business Development" program that will begin in 2016.
The State of Wisconsin has a unique strength in the number and strength of cooperative or worker owned businesses. There are over 773 cooperatives throughout the state that account for over 64,000 jobs and $27 billion in revenue.
It was great to see these efforts to create and support cooperative enterprises receive national interest from an on-line publication called GEO Newsletter.
Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) is a decentralized collective of educators, researchers and grassroots activists working to promote an economy based on democratic participation, worker and community ownership, social and economic justice, and ecological sustainability.
Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, a journalist for GEO, researched our Madison efforts and ideas by interviewing a large cross-section of supporters of this work including: Kevin Gundlach, South Central Federation of Labor President; Ole Olson and John Kessler both of Isthmus Engineering and Manufacturing; Ruth Rohlich of the City's Economic Development Department; Anne Reynolds, Director of UW Center for Cooperatives and me.
Her story shares some history of the successful cooperative businesses in Madison and additionally outlines City plans for the "Co-operative Enterprises for Job Creation and Business Development" project.
Check out the GEO story: "$5 Million for Co-op Development in Madison."
For more information about the project: Co-operative Enterprises Program
These are a few of the organizations mentioned in the story: