What is Co-op U?
It is an intensive three-month-long training and support program that helps teams of aspiring entrepreneurs develop worker-owned businesses through a combination of training, coaching, and technical services. This co-op boot camp is based on Lean Startup principles and practices. It also incorporates a variety of insights and practices utilized in Saiolan, Mondragon’s premier cooperative incubator. The program includes weekly classroom trainings, one-on-one mentoring, and support with financial modeling and financing. It is designed in a hands-on fashion, which means participants actively test their assumptions and refine their product or service throughout the course to ensure viability. The course is specifically designed so that each team is able to pitch their business by the completion of the course and know what steps are needed to reach their business milestones.
What do you get?
Over 35 hours of hands-on training by experienced professionals
Business plan viability testing
Assistance with business incorporation and structuring
Access to CUCI’s integrated network of co-ops and ongoing support beyond the length of the course
Greater visibility, marketing, and name recognition for your cooperative
Opportunity to receive a loan for the most competitive candidates
Who is it for?
Co-op U is designed for teams (at least two people) working together on a single business concept who are ready to do the work required to launch a co-op business. We focus on all types of businesses in any industry.
Is there a fee?
Yes. Co-op U is offered for $600 per team (at least 2 people per team), a great value compared to university business classes. Please don't let the cost deter you from applying – need-based scholarships are available on a first-come, first serve basis.
How long is the course?
It is an 12-week cooperative business intensive. We call it a "boot camp" for cooperative startups.
In addition to the weekly evening sessions, all participants are expected to meet weekly and dedicate additional time (2-4 hours anticipated) towards research, interviewing potential customers and partners, and testing their product or service. Participants will also be required to meet occasionally with the teaching team, an assigned mentor, and supporting lawyers.
Co-op U is designed to help you and your team pitch and launch your cooperative by the end of the course and grow successfully together.
Tuesdays for 12 weeks this spring (2019). Specific dates will be announced soon.
The Co-op U is held at the CUCI office in the Peaslee Center. The address is 215 E. 14th St, Cincinnati, OH, 45202, Room 232.
Are there any requirements?
There are only two requirements to participate:
Each individual that applies must be able to commit to the 12 weeks of the course, make time to interview potential customers, and work with mentors throughout the process.
Teams that apply must have a single business concept in mind.
Note: You do not need to already be in business. Co-op U is designed to support teams in the early stages of their business, including the idea stage.
How do I apply?
You can apply directly by clicking this link.