Employee ownership and cooperative business strategies are part of New York City’s efforts to realize a more inclusive and resilient economy. Through proof-of-concept initiatives and innovative program models, New York City agencies and community partners collaborate to deploy best practices that can accelerate employee-owned businesses at scale. This includes increasing awareness of employee-owned and cooperative business models, investing in sector-specific programs, and leveraging public funding and policy. This work builds on long-standing city funding to the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative; leverages city, state, and federal investments in economic, business, and workforce development; and innovates with catalytic funding from philanthropy. As New York City continues to drive economic recovery from the pandemic and to address the racial wealth gap, these strategies and lessons learned will help assist businesses and owners and provide insights for further innovation.
This is the first brief in a series of five documenting key elements of New York City’s efforts to support employee ownership. The other four case studies focus on messaging and value propositions, municipal policy supports for employee ownership, how to cultivate diverse funding streams, and a logic model of program activities and outcomes. To inform this series, we interviewed city government staff, funders, and program partners to learn about the initiative’s structure and impact. In each brief, we focus on lessons other localities can learn from these emerging insights.