Co-op U

14-week Co-op Incubator Program

In August 2024 Cleveland Owns is launching Co-op U, our first co-op incubator, in partnership with our allies at Co-op Cincy and Co-op Dayton. Co-op U is a 14-week program for groups looking to launch worker-owned businesses. Groups of two or more people with a vision for a worker-owned co-op can apply to join this state-wide cohort with sponsorship from Cleveland Owns.

What is Co-op U?
A training and support program that helps teams develop a worker-owned business. It's a virtual program in
partnership with Co-op Cincy and Co-op Dayton.

Participants in Co-op U:
  • Develop a successful business plan of their own anchored in the proven co-op model
  • Benefit from weekly virtual trainings, 1-on-1 mentorship, and technical assistance, as well as hands-on training by professionals
  • Receive assistance incorporating and structuring your business
  • Have an opportunity to access financing

How long is the program?
Co-op U lasts 14 weeks, with participants meeting virtually from 6-8 PM EST on Wednesdays from August 21st, 2024 to December 4th, 2024.

In addition to weekly evening sessions, participants are expected to dedicate additional time (2-5 hours a week) to conduct research, interview potential customers and partners, and test their product or service.

Who is the program designed for?
Teams of at least 2 Ohio residents with a business idea.

$500 - $1,500 per team, with a sliding scale based on ability to pay. Please do not let cost prevent you from applying - we're here to make it work for you and your team!

Submit your interest in applying with this form and we will be in touch when applications officially open in July 2024. Email questions to
If you need to a class, yes, we can provide accommodations for making it up. We'll share with you a recording after every session and the materials used. You'll also need to have at least one other person on your team, so ideally that person can help fill you in, but if you both need to miss it we will try to schedule a make up session with you (our ability to do so depends on all of our schedules).

Just note that a major benefit of Co-op U is the experience of taking it alongside other startup co-ops and receiving feedback from each other, so for the best experience we recommend not planning to miss more than 2 classes.