Traveling Cooperative Institute

supporting young people in taking ownership of their local economies through cooperation

Through a series of trainings and consultation, TCI provides young people with:

  • Entrepreneurship skills to empower youth to build their own cooperatives
  • Intrapreneurship best practices to support young cooperative employees or members to push their existing cooperative to innovate

TCI consultants also work with Baby Boomer business owners nearing retirement who could sell their businesses to their younger employees through a cooperative conversion.

Trainings are free, but donations are accepted with appreciation - the suggested donation range for trainings outside Central Minnesota is $100-150. No training will be refused for lack of funding. Click the button below for more information on our specific training and consultation offerings.

WHERE we train

TCI travels throughout the Upper Midwest giving trainings and providing consultations. States of focus are: Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

TCI also delivers a Train the Trainer retreat for young people interested in learning how to utilize the TCI organizing strategy and cooperative entrepreneurship curriculum in their home regions. Past participants have hailed from Southern California, Pakistan, North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, and more.

Follow this online map as it is updated with potential and confirmed training locations.

schedule a training

  • Send an email to - the process and the offerings are tailored for each group, so let's talk and see how TCI offerings can best serve you.
  • Once you've got a training scheduled, we have a media toolkit of things to use in both print and online communications to promote the trainings. Everything is modifiable to suit your needs!
  • Connect with us online via our blog and social sharing platforms in advance of your training to get to know us better!

about our trainers

The TCI is being organized for and by young people. All current and past trainers and staff identify as cooperative youth and have strong backgrounds in cooperative development and/or community organizing. In order to reach young people throughout the region,  TCI partners with a number of local and state organizations to make these trainings possible.

Emily M. Lippold Cheney, Program Director

As a Cooperative Organizer, Emily M Lippold Cheney prioritizes supporting youth in developing and organizing around cooperatives. By empowering young people to take cooperative ownership of the economy, it will ensure that leadership will succeed from generation to generation. She has served the cooperative movement in many ways through the past decade - read more about her work at her website. You can also view her TEDx on the meaning of Cooperative on youtube.

Karen Weldon, former Outreach Coordinator

Karen has moved on from TCI to Japan, where she will be learning more about Japanese language and culture. During her tenure with TCI, she made a tremendously positive impact and grew the program's reach considerably through her organizing and outreach work.

Karen Weldon comes to the cooperative movement with a background in developing youth leadership and supporting rural economies. Through her work at Real Food Challenge and Renewing the Countryside, she trains university students to organize for a more just food system and assists with support programs for small scale farmers in the Upper Midwest. She has been a cooperative member for most of her life.

TCI photo gallery