Childcare Worker-Owned Cooperative

This is a new initiative launching in 2018. We are recruiting women working in the childcare industry who are interested in becoming co-owners of a cooperative childcare center. We will provide start-up business training and expert consultations, as well as access to capital and incubation support for launching a worker-owned co-op.

Why a Worker Co-op?

Worker co-ops create businesses that are values-driven. Their core purpose is to benefit both the worker and the community. Our program will create a replicable pathway for developing a sustainable childcare center that strives to offer:

  • Living wages and benefits for teachers
  • Hours of care needed by working parents
  • Quality early education for children

Worker Co-ops Increase Wages

Childcare workers are among the lowest-paid professionals in the country, making it difficult to recruit and retain qualified staff. In 2015, the median wage for childcare workers in Minnesota was $10.81 – only a 1% increase since 2010. Between 2005 and 2014, Minnesota lost over 3,000 – or nearly 30% of –licensed family childcare providers. Cooperative worker-owned business models are highly effective in creating and maintaining living wage jobs.

Co-ops Make Business Ownership Possible

A cooperatively-owned business provides opportunities for workers to become owners and build equity together. Shared ownership makes the dream of business ownership a reality for people who lack access to capital. In a worker co-op, workers are the decision makers and benefit from the success of the business they co-own.

There were a lot of obstacles. WomenVenture saw the potential in me and my business. I knew how to take care of children, but I didn’t understand the financial piece of running a business. WomenVenture helped me create a budget. I am very grateful for everything that they have done on my behalf and I recommend them every chance I get.

Yolanda Maxwell, Owner of Little Steps Childcare Center

Program Overview

Starting in January 2018, the first co-owner cohort of the Childcare Worker-Owned Cooperative program will participate in 4 months of cooperative business training, expert consultation, and incubation as they launch worker owned cooperative centers.


Email Nancy Johnson, Childcare Co-op Program Manager, or call 612-224-9565.