Study Groups & Local Co-op Development






3pm to 5:30pm

The US city of Philadelphia has deep roots of co-operative practice and enterprise. More recent efforts in the city have been inspired by Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s book Collective Courage, which examines study as a tool within co-operative enterprise creation for Black American communities as they used co-operation to expand economic empowerment and deepen economic participation. 

In 2016 the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) launched the 20 Book Clubs, 20 Cooperative Businesses initiative to grow Philadelphia’s co-operative economy, particularly for Black, Brown, and immigrant working class and poor communities. In this workshop, we will discuss and explore the uses and forms of study for building strong co-operative ecosystems. 

  • Learn about PACA’s study initiative and how it transformed our co-operative development ecosystem  
  • An understanding of the resources needed to develop and sustain study as a component of co-operative business development 
  • A space to have discussion and learn from other participants while sharing your own experience
  • An understanding of the role study and shared knowledge-base building has in strengthening the association of people coming together to form co-operatives 
  • Tools for starting and maintaining self-directed study circles for co-operative business development 
  • Examples of study circles in the US along with the resources and tools needed to sustain them
  • Co-operative developers interested in adding more to their strategy 
  • Community members and mutual aid groups
  • People in co-ops looking for education and training

Jeanette Cuevas is a co-op business developer at the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA). Jamila Medley was introduced to co-ops in 2012 as a staff collective member at Mariposa Food Co-op and enjoys supporting leadership development and economics education within co-operatives. Jamila Medley is now PACA’s Executive Director. 

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