CDS commissioned a 2014 survey of community and economic developers in Minnesota and Wisconsin to gauge their knowledge about and interest in cooperative businesses as a solution to various issues of community development. The full study is available for download in PDF format.
Half of respondents said they actively serve cooperatives, and over half anticipate future opportunities to serve cooperative businesses, though co-ops comprise no more than 5% of the client base for a large majority of respondents.
Half of respondents rated their knowledge of the cooperative business model as not greater than “low”. A third said interest in co-ops was holding steady, but 40% said they are not sure.
Respondents are not likely to be aware of developers who specialize in cooperatives or to have pursued education programs about cooperatives.
Over half of respondents said co-ops are barely visible or invisible in the business community at the local and national level and among community and economic development professionals.