Founded in 2011, Co-op Cincy is a local, Greater Cincinnati organization whose mission is to “nurture a resilient, interconnected network of worker-owned businesses in Greater Cincinnati.” Since their incorporation, the organization has loaned more than $1 million to co-op businesses and employees. In addition, the organization has trained over 1,300 individuals about worker ownership. Currently there are a total of sixteen businesses in their cooperative network.
What has inspired their mission throughout the years is the Mondragon Corporation, an association of cooperatives that has transformed the Basque region of Spain by reducing inequality and poverty. Going strong since 1956, Mondragon’s network of cooperatives has been an engine for economic growth in Spain’s Basque region’s lowest levels of poverty providing a path for economic equality.
In 2022, in an article published by the New Yorker Magazine, the Mondragon Corporation was quoted as being “the world’s largest co-op”.
Today Mondragon Corporation employs 70,000 people in an association of eighty cooperatives, which range from a grocery chain to engineering and logistics firms. It’s the tenth largest corporation in Spain, with sales in 150 countries.
Just last month, Co-op Cincy was able to tour the association in Spain with a diverse delegation that included business, philanthropic, and faith leaders plus worker-owners from Co-op Cincy’s network of cooperatives; and representatives from Co-op Cincy’s sister organization in Dayton, Co-op Dayton.