Supporting the development of new and existing cooperatives in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is offering grants to support the development of new and existing cooperatives in Wisconsin, with a goal of fostering the success of current and future cooperatives by supporting planning and exploratory research in advance of making a large investment.

How It Works

Who is eligible to apply?

  • An existing cooperative operating in Wisconsin
  • Businesses looking to convert to the cooperative business model
  • Any group of individuals actively working towards legal cooperative status in Wisconsin

* Applicants who currently have an existing Cooperative Feasibility Study Grant are not eligible until they successfully complete and close out their current grant.

What can grant funds cover?

  • Applicants may use the funds to cover consulting fees for business planning, feasibility studies, legal services, and accounting services to help new or existing cooperatives become established or further develop.
  • Only projects related to development are eligible. Salaries and supplies are NOT eligible costs.

What else do I need to know?

  • WEDC has set aside up to $200,000 for each of the next two years (FY24 and FY25), with a $50,000 maximum per grant.
  • Each application must include an active quote from the consultant (or attorney or accountant) with whom you will work. As part of the application, the project quote must be submitted on the consultant’s business letterhead. Spouses and immediate family members of anyone involved with an established or developing cooperative may not serve in this role.
  • The applicant will be required to pay the up-front costs and submit them to WEDC for reimbursement with appropriate documentation.

How do I apply?

  • Contact your WEDC regional economic development director, the WEDC downtown development team, or the Office of Rural Prosperity to get started.
  • Have your quote ready from the consultant, accountant, or attorney with whom you wish to work.
  • Be aware that reporting will be required throughout the length of the project and each project will have specific deliverables due at the end of the project. Discuss reporting and project deliverables during your pre-application conversation with a WEDC representative.