Supporting the Start-up and Growth of Cooperatives

The Value-Added Sustainable Development Center helps cooperatives and other community-owned businesses in rural Illinois start up and succeed, through technical assistance, training, and publications. Assistance is delivered through a combination of Center staff, partner cooperative development agencies, and paid consultants, with most assistance available free of charge. Cooperatives in all sectors of the economy are eligible for assistance, which is also available to economic development and business assistance organizations seeking to enhance their own ability to serve co-ops.

This support of cooperatives is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development.

Types of assistance provided by the Center

Primary services

  • Co-op start-up process & resources
  • Planning & visioning
  • Sector-specific info
  • Steering committee formation
  • Member recruitment
  • Incorporation process
  • Cooperative bylaws
  • Grant writing techniques
  • Financing & fundraising
  • Board of directors training

By-referral or fee-based services

  • Business plan development
  • Feasibility studies
  • Marketing studies
  • Target market analysis
  • Economic impact analysis
  • Organizational development

Links of interest

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.