CDS was created to ensure that cooperatives and groups that wanted to start cooperatives had access to sound business development guidance. Over the past 25 years, CDS has provided a wide range of services to cooperatives, producer-owned businesses, nonprofits, universities, and governmental clients.

In keeping with our mission to promote cooperative and sustainable development, we focus our work on projects that are intended to benefit clients that are:

  • Cooperatives
  • Members of cooperatives or credit unions
  • Groups that want to form a cooperative
  • LLCs or group-owned businesses that operate under cooperative principles or that leverage cooperation as a business advantage
  • Not cooperatives, but are sponsored by a cooperative

In each case, our intention is to provide high quality business and organizational developmental assistance that will help our clients advance their businesses.

Featured Projects

In 2011, they hired Cooperative Development Services (CDS) to conduct a Feasibility Study determining the technical, marketing, and financial feasibility of processing conventional and organic soybeans into meal and oil. “We were told by other companies that our idea wasn’t feasible and didn’t make sense because we were competing against larger companies,” Nelson explained. “The CDS feasibility study showed it wasn’t true. Our approach was found to be feasible and it’s working just fine.” CDS then developed a Business Plan for the extrusion operation identifying markets, competitors, sales strategies, and financial projections.

FUMPA BioFuels, Minnesota’s first commercial biodiesel refinery, began operations in December 2004. CDS provided grant writing, feasibility study and business planning assistance for this Redwood Falls, MN operation.

HarvestLand Cooperative, Inc.’s wind generation facilities provide a new revenue stream contributing to accelerated equity returns to its member-owners. CDS provided grant writing, feasibility study and business planning assistance for this southwestern Minnesota operation.

Chatham Marketplace opened in spring 2006 to offer rural Pittsboro, North Carolina residents, an alternative place to shop for locally grown natural and organic food products. CDS’s Food Co-op Consultants assisted with project management support, financial projections, market analysis, fundraising, board training in policy governance, location selection, and securing management staff. CDS continues to provide ongoing support to Chatham Marketplace.