Article via USDA

"A new Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development website connects government and private sector partners with each other and shares their information and financial resources with cooperatives and individuals seeking to form or strengthen cooperatives. The website is intended to be a source for information and financial programs available to cooperatives from across the federal, state, tribal, and local governments, and private sector. It is also intended to provide information to government and private sector partners on the efficacy of cooperatives as community development engines.

The cooperative form of business allows people to meet a common need for essential goods and services that oftentimes has been overlooked by the market. Cooperatives exist in almost every industry including housing, childcare, health care, financial services, housing, electricity, broadband, and grocery. Cooperatives operate in the supply chain, agriculture, and education, and preserve local jobs when a retiring owner converts a business to a cooperative.

The website is a source of funding, tools, information, and publications intended to facilitate cooperative development at each stage of the cooperative business’ lifecycle. A search function helps cooperatives and cooperative developers find grants, loans, guaranteed loans, revolving loan funds, equity capital, and crowd source funding. Search functions are also available to find tools to assist in cooperative development as well as offerings by federal, state, tribal, local, and private sector partners. A feedback form will provide website visitors with the opportunity to describe their experience with the website and suggest additional resources.

The Interagency website was created as part of the 2014 Farm Bill mandate that the Agriculture Secretary “chair an interagency working group to foster cooperative development and ensure coordination with federal agencies and … cooperative organizations….” 7 U.S.C. section 1932(e)(12)."

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