In the Fall of 2014, three graduate students in Antioch’s Master of Urban Sustainability Program came together with professor Gilda Haas to launch an inquiry into how to build support and capacity for worker ownership in Los Angeles.

For the past year, Karen Ochoa, Ashley Ortiz, and Misty Spicer have been exploring the world of cooperative business development by participating in a class that included the following:

 

These studies led to the vision of a Los Angeles Co-op Lab as Phase 1 for ongoing support of worker-owned businesses in the region.

The goal of the Los Angeles Co-op Lab is to create a collaborative opportunity where people who are interested in learning about and starting a worker-owned business can create, experiment and test ideas. The Lab will support the development of conceptual and practical tools as well as facilitate conversations to aid the growth of worker cooperatives. Through these conversations and points of outreach, the Lab will identify opportunities for new co-ops (whether start-ups or business conversions), and draw upon our extensive network of local and national business experts to provide support and value for these emerging cooperatives.