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Belief in a Business Model

Posted at 11:26 AM on Friday, March 11, 2005

I grew up on a farm in Michigan, and learned early about the cooperative business model. Coops have historically been popular in rural areas - and have been responsible for bringing services like electricity to these areas.

Basically, Cooperative businesses are different because they are owned by the consumers they serve and because they are guided by a set of seven principles that reflect the best interests of those consumers.

While I have been aware of this business model my entire life, it is in my more recent work that I have gained a new found appreciation of what this model can bring to a community.

This appreciation came in large part to my strategic planning with the Mid America Cooperative Council, itself a cooperative formed to foster, enhance and promotes the value of Cooperatives.

Far beyond farm supply, credit unions and electrical coops, there are many businesses, including some you would readily recognize like Ocean Spray, that operate in this way, and there are many new organizations springing up all over this country.

I share this because if you are like me you didn't learn about this business model in school, but it is one I would encourage you to learn about. I will continue to learn more because of my time spent with 12 people from 4 states who are passionate about this form of business and the value it can bring to communities and consumers.
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