2016. Lead authors: Melissa Hoover and Hilary Abell. The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem refers to a systemic understanding of what helps worker cooperatives thrive and reach a scale that has impact. The ecosystem includes actors—individuals, organizations and institutions—and elements that interact to support or inhibit scaled growth of worker cooperatives. The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem has eleven elements in all, in three major categories. Essential Elements are the building blocks of cooperative businesses and the engines for growth; neither impact nor scale can be achieved without them. Important Elements accelerate growth and can be key drivers for scale initiatives. Environmental Elements legitimize and create demand for worker cooperatives, but do not directly support growth or scale.