A Professional Peer Network for Democratic Businesses
The Democracy at Work Network (DAWN) is a network of certified peer advisors, all with strong social and professional ties, who cooperate in training themselves and providing technical assistance services to worker cooperatives. Our goals are to meet the demand for technical assistance and development advice with high-quality services, and increase worker cooperative technical assistance capacity from inside the movement.
Worker cooperatives, like all small businesses, require professional services to support the creation and functioning of their business. Due to the specialized nature of worker ownership, they also require specialized assistance in setting up financial, governance, operations, and decision-making structures, as well as training in democratic management. DAWN is organizing to meet these needs.
Experienced Cooperative Workers Trained To Assist You
DAWN advisors have worked in worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces, so we understand the special challenges of democratic governance and self-management. We are prepared to respond with both a broad perspective and with our own experience, to provide resources, models and guidance to groups starting a worker cooperative or strengthening their existing workplace.
Certified peer advisors have completed our year-long training, and done an intensive internship either with a cooperative development organization or in a mentored advising project. They have completed a certification process that includes a review of the material and an interview with our certification board. Apprentice advisors are either in training or have completed training and are awaiting certification.
Business Services from a Worker Cooperative Perspective
The first step in getting assistance from DAWN is to make a request. This gives our peer advisors and staff a better idea of where your group is in the development process, and how we can help you. We offer the follow services:
- Assistance to a worker cooperative around a specific project or problem
- Responding to an emergency within your cooperative
- General education about worker cooperatives
- Project roadmaps for starting a new worker cooperative
- Feasibility studies and business plans
- Preliminary help writing bylaws
- Help in applying for a loan or other financing
- Set-up of democratic structures for governance or management
- Training in democratic communications tools: facilitation, mediation, and conflict resolution
- Development of accountability systems and worker evaluations
- Training in cooperative finances