Retaining rural businesses through employee ownership
Monday, March 2, 2020 - Friday, March 6, 2020
Are you looking for someone to buy your business? Would you like to attract a buyer to a business in your community? Finding buyers can be difficult. In rural communities, where many business owners are aging, business transition is an important issue.
For rural businesses with 10 to 100 employees, selling to employees may be an option. Employees are already invested in the local business, and current employees are less likely to buy and move the business to another location.
Extension wants to help rural businesses and communities consider employee ownership. So we are co-hosting a series of workshops to create awareness and knowledge about converting rural businesses to employee cooperatives. At the workshops, you will learn about:
- Selling a business to employees
- Case studies and data on employee business transitions
- Steps in the conversion process
- Resources you will need along the way
Who should attend? Our workshops are best suited for:
- Economic and business development officials
- Owners and managers of businesses
- Prospective employee-owners
- Business support professionals
Each workshop is 90 minutes long. Workshops will be held in locations throughout eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We will also host a webinar later in 2020 for those unable to attend in March.
Michael Darger, University of Minnesota Extension
Business retention and expansion program lead
firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-625-6246
Workshops are subject to change or cancellation. Check this page for information on weather-related or other changes.
Dates, times and locations
March 2, 2020
- Duluth, MN (9:00-10:30 AM)
- Hayward, WI (1:00-2:30 PM)
- Webster, WI (4:30-6:00 PM)
March 3, 2020
- Mora, MN (9:00-10:30 AM)
- Fridley, MN (3:00-4:30 PM)
March 4, 2020
- Rushford, MN (10:00-11:30 AM)
March 5, 2020
- Black River Falls, WI (10:00-11:30 AM)
- Viroqua, WI (3:00-4:30 PM)
March 6, 2020
- Oronoco, MN (9:30-11:00 AM)
Due to limited seating at some locations, please register. First priority will be given to those who pre-register.
University of Minnesota Extension, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and Cooperative Development Services have partnered to host the workshops. Grant funding is provided by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Michigan State University.
All workshop presenters will attend each session except March 4 and 6. Learn more about them below.
Courtney Berner joined the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives in 2011. She served as a cooperative development specialist until assuming the role of executive director in January 2018. Courtney develops research, outreach, and education programs on cooperatives and provides support to new and established cooperatives in a wide range of industries. Her areas of expertise include cooperative education, business development, cooperative finance and governance, and innovative uses of the cooperative model.
Michael Darger is a community economics specialist for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. He manages Extension’s business retention and expansion programs and serves as the principal investigator for the Retaining Rural Businesses through Employee Ownership project in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Kevin Edberg is the Executive Director of Cooperative Development Services, a 34-year old nonprofit that supports the startup and expansion of cooperatives in multiple economic sectors in MN, WI and IA. For the past 25 years, his work has focused on cooperative education, technical assistance and creation of supportive ecosystems to empower groups and communities as they address economic and social challenges through mutual action.
Esther West is a cooperative development specialist at the UW Center for Cooperatives. With a worker cooperative and urban planning background, she specializes in researching and supporting cooperative start-ups and worker cooperatives.