January 7, 2021
Plant and money.

The Nebraska Cooperative Development Center (NCDC), a program of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics, is seeking applications for its 2021 Cooperative Business Development Mini-grant Program beginning January 4, 2021.

Cooperative Development Mini-Grants are available to groups of people who are pursuing/exploring a multi-owner or cooperative business or to incorporated cooperatives (or other business entities operating as a cooperative) in rural Nebraska.  Groups (including communities) that are exploring community-supported ventures are also eligible to apply.

  • A maximum of $2,500 is available per request.
  • The deadline to apply for these competitive grants is January 19, 2021. Awards will be announced by February 8, 2021. Eligible expenses must in incurred between February 8 and November 15, 2021.
Groups may apply for either Initial Development or Advanced Assistance.
  • Initial Development Assistance grants are designed for groups who are in the exploratory stages of development of multi-ownership or cooperative ownership. 
  • Advanced Assistance grants are designed to provide incorporated cooperatives or multi-owner businesses functioning or operating as a cooperative.

Organizations incorporated as a Cooperative, LLC operating cooperatively, or Non-Profits operating cooperatively are eligible to apply.
Non-profits, Partnerships, or Sole Proprietorship businesses as well as businesses located in Omaha, Bellevue, or Lincoln are not eligible.

Eligible expenses include:
  • Accounting assistance
  • Business planning assistance
  • Capitalization plans
  • Creation of marketing materials
  • Education and training
  • Feasibility and market studies
  • Legal fees for incorporation
  • Market development
  • Member recruitment activities & materials
  • Technical assistance
  • Travel Funds  

 Ineligible Activities include salaries, purchasing equipment, buildings and/or real estate.

Please contact NCDC with any questions regarding the mini-grant application.

Characteristics of Cooperative ventures include:

User-owner - the users of the business own and finance the business. Cooperatives are financed by members purchasing stock, paying membership fees, or accepting self-imposed assessment on products purchased and/or sold or fees for services. In some cooperatives, members reinvest their earnings (profits) to capitalize the business.

User-control - Users vote, democratically, to set major policies and to elect a board of directors composed of the cooperative’s users. Users draw up bylaws to describe how the cooperative functions.

User-benefit - Users benefit by using the business. Distribution of benefits is based on members’ use of the cooperative, not on the amount of capital they have invested.