The 16th Annual North Country Symposium


April 16th, 2018; 8:30 am - 3:00 pm (registration to begin at 8:00 am)
Eben Holden Conference Center, St. Lawrence University

Supported by St. Lawrence University’s
Ellen C. Burt ’42 Endowment for North Country Education

**BREAKING NEWS:  U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to be guest speaker at the North Country Symposium!**

Mr. Doug O’Brien, president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association and formerly Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs to the White House Domestic Policy Council, will keynote the 16th annual North Country Symposium, at St. Lawrence University’s Eben Holden Conference Center on April 16th, 2018. 

Cooperatives and other businesses that are jointly owned by farmers, employees or customers have a long history in strengthening rural communities, through agricultural and rural electric cooperatives, as well as credit unions. Cooperatives and employee-owned companies remain promising models to confront the challenges faced today by rural areas like the North Country.  Such models can help address issues of scale, limited capital, production gaps, and excessive costs, while providing the benefits of local business ownership.  Cooperatives can empower more people to participate in the economy who would otherwise be unable to.  And they can be the model to keep a business open and locally owned in a succession situation.

This year’s Symposium will include the following:

·         Mr. O’Brien will discuss the history and role of joint ownership businesses in rural economies, share case studies, and what is possible in the North Country. 

·         A panel of representatives of existing North Country and New York cooperatives – such as the Once Again nut butter company, the Saranac Lake General Store, and North Country Showcase – will share their experiences and lessons learned. 

·         Organizations that support joint ownership enterprises – such as the Cooperative Development Institute, Democracy At Work Institute, and the Syracuse Small Business Development Center – will provide invaluable knowledge on starting and growing such enterprises.

·         Together, in group discussions, we will explore how we can create an ecosystem in the North Country that helps cooperatives and employee-owned businesses become established and successful.

This event is free and open to all people who have an interest in enhancing the vitality of the North Country Region.  Lunch and refreshments will be provided, but pre-registration is requested.


See our amazing lineup of speakers, panels, and discussion groups by reviewing our event program here.

Directions and parking information can be found here.