About Cooperatives & Shared Ownership

Economic inequality occurs when ownership and wealth are concentrated. 

Wealth inequality in our economy is at a historic high. While corporate profits soar, the widening gap in ownership means that only those who can buy stocks and invest in new companies are likely to benefit financially from the growth in our economy. A growing number of business leaders and entrepreneurs see shared ownership as a solution, helping create economic prosperity and justice for those who have been left behind by traditional business models.

• How can we create alternatives to winner take all economics?
• How can we share the wealth created by entrepreneurship?
• How can we build businesses that close the racial wealth gap?

Wealth Inequality

The richest 1% of US households own more wealth than the bottom 90% combined. More than 1/2 of Americans have less than $1,000 combined in their checking and savings accounts. The median white family has 41x more wealth than the median black family, and 21x more wealth than the median Hispanic family.

Let’s unlock ownership for those who are currently left out of our economy.

A new generation of entrepreneurs are seeking business models that share prosperity among the many, not just the few. Cooperatives unlock ownership and wealth generation for everyone, but especially for populations historically excluded. 

  • Cooperatives allow more stakeholders to be represented at the board table.
  • Cooperatives share profits more broadly and contribute to a reversal in wealth inequality.
  • 76% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a cooperatively owned business.
  • 72% of all people would prefer to work for an employee-owned business.

Why aren’t there more shared ownership businesses?

  • Misperception
    Most people have heard the word cooperative, but only 11% can define what a “cooperative” is. That’s why we also use the terms “shared ownership” and “shared equity.”
  • Business Know-How
    Entrepreneurs want more tools and a clearer path to build cooperatively owned businesses. Until now, entrepreneurs haven’t had access to a strong ecosystem that provides the mentorship and practical business experience needed to grow and scale. 
  • Access to Financing
    Entrepreneurs who are considering launching shared ownership businesses say access to financing is the primary obstacle holding them back. The resulting undercapitalization impedes business development. 

The Solution?

We believe that a more robust ecosystem for co-op startups will create more shared ownership businesses succeeding at scale - which means unlocking broader prosperity & greater economic opportunity for those who have been historically excluded from wealth generation.

Start.coop is an accelerator that empowers entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and financing to build transformative, scalable, cooperatively-owned businesses.  See our Accelerator page for more detail on how our 12 week program works.