A business model that allows workers to have a stake in how their employer pays and supports them while also tackling social justice issues is expanding in Madison and statewide.

At the state level, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. last week unveiled its inaugural round of seven “Cooperative Feasibility Study” grants, which allows businesses to explore different models for operating before making large investment decisions. Businesses that received grants aim to help people find affordable housing, access food, build grocery stores and more.

“Cooperatives can be an especially valuable tool for rural Wisconsin allowing residents to get the goods and services they need but that the market doesn’t otherwise supply,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO in an email statement. “These grants will allow businesses and communities, both rural and urban, to thoroughly research and plan so that these cooperatives thrive.”

[Adapted from: Social impact worker cooperatives gain adherents in Madison with accelerator kickoff, growth May 30, 2022 Wisconsin State Journal]