Where are we now?

What is a cooperative?

A cooperative is a business that is owned and democratically controlled by its members, and operates for the benefit of its members. They are formed by groups of consumers, workers, residents, farmers, fishermen, independent businesses and others to meet common needs.

What examples do we have in Maine?

Cooperative and employee owned businesses exist throughout the state, operating in sectors such as agriculture and food production, fishing, manufacturing, retail, food service, advertising and marketing, housing, construction and engineering, banking and insurance.

Read profiles of many of these businesses and the impact they’ve had on their members and communities.

How can cooperative and employee ownership help Maine grow?

The cooperative model has helped citizens meet their needs for better jobs, healthy local food, affordable housing and other basic needs, and in the process build stronger, more resilient economies and communities. Cooperative and employee owned businesses offer a unique opportunity for workers and independent businesses to compete in a global economy. Cooperatives are a particularly effective tool for poor and rural Mainers, Native Americans, immigrants and refugees, and others who have been marginalized by our current economy to meet their needs and create economic security and opportunity for themselves.

How do cooperatives fit into current economic trends regarding innovation and economic growth?

Cooperatives can help plug Maine into the most innovative (and fastest growing) sectors of the U.S and global economy. Cooperative ownership can help Maine build its craft manufacturing sector and transform tourism-based jobs into more lucrative and satisfying work. Maine can become the leading cooperative business cluster in the United States.