"If a cooperative is the best business model for your business, why not share that benefit with others? Imagine an entire economy of principled enterprises that serve member needs and advance democratic participation.
Cooperatives can grow the cooperative economy in several ways. One way is by growing themselves: increasing their membership, sales, locations, services, products and jobs. And co-ops grow the co-op economy when they do business with each other. Investment in cooperative loan, grant and equity funds also boosts cooperative economies.
Another method is for co-op businesses to seed the development of new cooperatives. For an existing co-op, a new co-op business in the local economy means new peers and more people understanding and committed to co-op principles and values; it can also mean an improved bottom line and more member benefits.
Several co-op development strategies emerge from a review of what co-ops around the country are doing to expand the co-op economy. These correspond well to research by David Ellerman on “enterprise creation” that starts from existing businesses."