Employee ownership help
Our Worker Cooperative Initiative supports co-ops and businesses owned by employees. City tools include:
- on-site technical help
- support with procurement, and
- helping worker co-ops take advantage of City policies and grant programs.
What is employee ownership?
A worker cooperative is a business entity owned and democratically run by the people who work in it.
An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is a defined contribution employee benefit plan. It allows employees to become owners of stock in the company they work for.
There are many examples of both across the US, including Cooperative Home Care Associates (worker co-op) and Harpoon Brewery (ESOP).
Co-ops are similar to traditional businesses in that they aim to create a profit and become self-sustaining.
Co-ops are different in that they often have bottom lines aside from making a profit, including:
- worker well-being
- community well-being, and
- environmental sustainability.
Map of Boston-area employee co-ops
Greater Boston firms by categoryFirms by category
|The Food Project||Leverages sustainable agriculture to create social and personal change among Massachusetts youth.||Boston, MA|
|Drumlin Farm, Lincoln||You can pay for 15 to 100 percent of your share by working at the farm.||Lincoln, MA|
|ReVision Urban Farm, Dorchester||ReVision Family Home has given shelter and hope to pregnant and parenting homeless women.||Dorchester, MA|
|Commonwealth Kitchen||Shared kitchens with integrated business assistance. Get help creating and growing dynamic food-based businesses and careers.||Boston, MA|
|Dorchester Food Co-op||An initiative to build a community and worker-owned cooperative market that provides economic opportunity and healthy, affordable email@example.com||Dorchester, MA|
|Organic Valley Co-op||Line of organic vegetables and dairy products, owned by family farmers.|
|Cabot Cheese Co-op||A co-op of 1,200 dairy farm families located throughout New York and New England.||New England and New York (Waitsfield, VT)|
|Olio Collective Catering||A worker-owned business dedicated to sustainable sourcing, workplace fairness, and the celebration of food as culture.||Boston, MA|
|Cooperative Fund for New England||The loan fund is for community development.||New England|
|Greater Boston Chamber of Cooperatives||Dedicated to strengthening and expanding the greater Boston cooperative economy.||Boston, MA|
|Boston Cooperative Business Association||Works to build a more just, democratic, and sustainable economy.||617-875-7694||Boston, MA|
|Boston Cooperative Investment Club||Invests in cooperatives, as well as organizations and associations that support firstname.lastname@example.org||Boston, MA|
|Cooperative Development Institute||Specializes in helping people work together to plan and launch a cooperatively owned business.||Northampton, MA|
|Boston Center for Community Ownership||Provides education and training, facilitation, and consulting email@example.com||Boston, MA|
|ICA Group||Helps start and grow worker cooperatives, democratic employee stock ownership plans, and other social purpose firstname.lastname@example.org
|Local Enterprise Assistance Fund||Financial and development help for cooperatives and social ventures that create and save jobs for low-income email@example.com
|Worker-Owned and Run Cooperative Network of Greater Boston (WORC'N)||Facilitates connections between existing cooperatives.||WORC'N contact form||Boston, MA|
|A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative||Designing and building landscapes with integrity, pride, and care for the environment and community.||Boston (based in Waltham), MA|
|Cero||Zero waste recycling and local composting.||Boston, MA|
|Great Sky Solar||Boston’s only employee-owned solar installer.||Boston, MA|
|Vida Verde||The team of women trained on cleaning alternatives that do not harm the environment.||Brighton, MA|
|Community Builders Cooperative||Works with and supports community development groups promoting affordable housing and sustainable development.||Somerville, Cambridge, MA|
|Restoring Roots: Landscaping Co-Op||Creates beautiful, peaceful, multi-purpose, and food-producing landscapes.||Boston, MA|
|Placetailor, Inc.||Builds high-performance "Passive House" homes in Boston.||Boston, MA|
|Boston Building Resources||Inspires, educates, and empowers homeowners to increase the efficiency and value of their homes.||Boston, Ma|
|Unitarian Universalist Community Cooperatives||Grows intentional housing communities of spiritual practice, sustainability, and social firstname.lastname@example.org||Roxbury, MA|
|Lucy Stone Cooperative||An intentional community living the values and tradition of Unitarian Universalism through cooperative home email@example.com||Roxbury, MA|
|Margaret Moseley Cooperative||The second Unitarian Universalism Community Cooperatives firstname.lastname@example.org||Roxbury, MA|
|Boston Community Cooperatives||Builds community through cooperative living, member education, neighborhood improvement, and collective email@example.com||Boston, MA|
|The Canopy||They believe that a different model for urban living with children can exist — one that is sustainable, practical, and fun.|
|Agaric||Agarics is a web development cooperative.||Cambridge, MA|
|Broadway Bicycle School||A collectively run bicycle shop that currently has four collective members.||Cambridge, MA|
|Dollars and Sense||Magazine that publishes economic news, analysis, and critiques of the mainstream media's coverage of the economy.||Boston, MA|
|Pro Arte||The innovative, musician-run orchestra brings a creative mix of classical and new music to the concert stage.||Boston, MA|
|Fields Corner Business Lab||The co-working space brings together entrepreneurs, small businesses and community development organizations.||Dorchester, MA|
|Boston Tech Collective||Offers tech support and computer services to the Greater Boston area.||Somerville, MA|
|Research Action Design (RAD)||RAD uses community-led research and collaborative design to build the power of grassroots social firstname.lastname@example.org||Cambridge, Brooklyn, Joshua Tree|
|RoxDot Sweep and Scoop||Boston, MA|
|Women of Color Cooperative Boston||Culturally sensitive co-operative for women of color, focused on food access, homeschooling, and homeownership.||Boston, MA|
|Equal Exchange Co-Op||Mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound.||Boston, MA|
|Dedham Square Artist Guild||Members of the cooperative get a home for their work and an opportunity to connect with the community.||Dedham, MA|
|Make Shift Boston||A cooperative workspace of diverse working artists, activists, and creative people from across disciplines.||Boston, MA|
|Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN)||Nonprofit dedicated to preserving properties of scenic, historic, and ecological value in Mass.||Boston, MA|
|Berkeley Community Garden (run by BNAN)||A community of 159 farmers in Boston’s South End.||Boston, MA|
|Bloombrick Urban Agriculture||New owner-operated indoor farm located in the heart of Cambridge.||Cambridge, MA|
|City Growers||Their mission is to transform vacant lots in Boston into intensive urban farms.||Dorchester, MA|
Equitable Economic Development Fellowship
Boston was one of six cities picked to take part in the inaugural year of the Equitable Economic Development Fellowship.
The National League of Cities (NLC), PolicyLink, and the Urban Land Institute run the fellowship. It’s funded by the Surdna Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. The two-year fellowship aims to build our local economy through equity, transparency, sustainability, and community engagement.
The City of Boston will receive support and technical help from NLC, PolicyLink, ULI, and its peer cities. Joyce Linehan, Trinh Nguyen, John Smith, and Jason Ewas are participating in the program as fellows. They will receive support from across City Hall. The fellowship does not include direct funding support for putting programs in place.
The City of Boston team picked economic inequality as an equity challenge. They then selected employee ownerships as a way to address it. Our fellowship team believes that employee ownership offers a chance for citizens throughout the City to build wealth.