With initial support from anchor institutions, some supportive city officials and a growing medical records storage industry, this option seems promising on the surface. The group looks into it and finds the following:
– Anchor purchasing comprises millions of dollars in the local economy, and much of it is bound up in multi-year contracts with multinational corporations. Recently, however, the local publicly-funded hospital came under mandate to increase community health outcomes to maintain its funding.
– The local community foundation is interested in this model, and in persuading other funders to explore it.
– With no cooperative developers on the ground yet, it will take years to build the capacity to create businesses that can effectively serve anchor institutions.
– Other anchor institution development projects have shown that there can be a mismatch between the limited capacity of sometimes volatile startup businesses and the expansive needs of stable anchor institutions.- There may be some possibility in helping existing businesses that serve anchor institutions to convert to worker-ownership, rather than starting new anchor-serving businesses.