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“The world has not been given to us to contemplate but to transform and we do it as Team-entrepreneurs, learning by creating in teams”

This Changemaker Lab Program is an inter-disciplinary hands-on opportunity for students interested in learning how to start or develop environmentally and socially sustainable enterprises.

Our #MillionsOfChangemakers integrating visions

The program accepts new students in Spring. The Spring theme is based on the principle that worker-owned cooperatives offer an alternative model that brings direct democracy and genuine accountability to business with an emphasis on collective enterprises. Class times are Tuesday and Thursday 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm. Other work times are arranged with project teams.

Ashoka #millionsofchangemakers

On March 5, 2020, The Evergreen State College Changemaker Lab was one of only 6 institutions around the world to be recognized as a semi-finalist for the Ashoka U #MillionsofChangemakers award. The award recognizes intiatives that have significant potential to spark #MillionsofChangemakers if adopted across higher education.

The program participants is a combined group of Evergreen Entrepreneurs with a exchange group  from MTA’s LEINN International.  The MTA’s LEINN International participants consist of two training companies with student entrepreneurs from all over the world. The program features a faculty that combines Evergreen’s pedagogy and the local environment with Mondragon’s faculty, pedagogy and -entrepreneurs experience. It further introduces neat tools and resources to support the start up development of entrepreneurial foundations.

Training Session in Action

There is an African saying that goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Most of our time will be spent working in teams and teams of teams to create a learning organization that will facilitate the development of strategic business plans around actual sustainable businesses, social enterprises and projects. We will utilize some amazing business planning tools used for startups, learn about innovation, strategic visioning and planning, business leadership, creating value, marketing, accounting, tax and web development. We will learn how to use and utilize business software applications as well as scientific instruments and applications.

Hands On , Cooperative Decision Making and Creating Learning Organizations Changemaker Lab

Our Agriculture  Entrepreneurs getting real doing business experience presenting the Myco Ethos company at the South Sound Business Expo.

Our Agriculture Entrepreneurs getting real doing business experience presenting the Myco Ethos company at the South Sound Business Expo.

Hone your skills as a Team-entrepreneur and experience the Evergreen Inter Disciplinary way of study and the LEINN and Mondragon Academy’s (MTA World) “ learning by creating” over the course of an optional one to three consecutive quarters and become a Changemaker.

 Entrepreneurs from all ov er the world presenting their models and plans and receiving feedback from s.

Entrepreneurs from all over the world presenting their models and plans and receiving feedback from teams.

This program is designed around a set of unique ingredients that seeks to promote and empower the entrepreneurial spirit of its participants. It offers a time and space for people from all around the world to work on real projects together at Evergreen.

See our very unique classroom A MTA Evergreen Change Maker Lab

Spring  2020 “Incubator” Innovation Specialization – Cooperatives, Direct Democracy, and Sustainable Business Enterprises

The un-sustainability of advanced capitalism is no longer in doubt, with environmental degradation accelerating at unprecedented rates along with massively widening wealth inequality on a global scale. Worker-owned cooperatives offer an alternative model of that bring direct democracy and genuine accountability to business. In what ways can worker-owned cooperatives be more sustainable, even regenerative, for the environment and for the various communities (at all points of the food chain) that they work with and affect? What potential do cooperatives have in creating a more socially and ecologically just world? What roles can cooperatives play in facilitating equity among historically marginalized groups?

In this program, we will examine the history of worker-owned cooperatives in the U.S. and internationally, along with contemporary case studies, with an emphasis on collective enterprises in the area of food and agriculture.  Indeed, given the rising prices of prime farmland, prohibitive startup costs, unpredictability, and labor-intensive nature of agriculture, worker-owned cooperatives offer a more sustainable path towards starting and maintaining successful farm-based enterprises, with recent research indicating that worker-owned cooperatives are more productive than conventional businesses.

 Entrepreneurs are having a  Company training session learning collaborative management principles in the beautiful North West

Entrepreneurs are having a Company training session learning collaborative management principles in the beautiful North West

Cooperatives must be effectively managed using sustainable and sound business management principles. In this program we will examine the legal structures of entities and their tax implications, operationalizing of business plans and the general management of cooperative enterprises including accounting, human resources, marketing, payroll and income tax planning.

Historical and contemporary case studies include: 19th-century labor utopian cooperatives, African-American cooperatives from early to late 20th century, The Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland, Green Worker Cooperatives in New York, Cooperation Jackson, Mondragon in Spain, the Zapatistas in Southern Mexico, the horizontal cooperative movement in Argentina, urban agriculture collectives in Cuba, and small farmer cooperatives in India.  Other topics of study include comparisons between family and monopoly capitalism, solidarity economics, and social . A community-based learning component will include site and work visits to cooperative businesses in the Olympia area.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Agriculture, Sustainable Business Development, Social Purpose enterprises, Urban and Rural Planning, Coooperative Enterprises

Team-entrepreneurs will attend seminars, lunch time speaking events, field trips, guest lectures and activities. As a participant, one may supplement knowledge by attending certain supplemental workshops and lectures.  Some travel to Seattle may be required.

building and a necessary break

The program has been designed by a shared of faculty members from MTA Traveling University & The Evergreen State College. Thanks to this strategic collaboration, it is the first time that students from the United States will learn and experiment with Mondragon Academy’s methods.

Last year the Changemaker Lab at Evergreen State College joined 65 other higher education innovators in 14 countries who are working together to spark and accelerate more than 200,000 changemakers.

Winter 2020 “Incubator” Innovation Specialization – Evergreen Agriculture and Food

We will explore topics such as lean management strategies for farm operations and food establishments,  business opportunities within all aspects of the greater food system,  how organic certification, Food Safety Moderation Act (FSMA) and other Government regulatory requirement affect your business model;  infrastructure needs; finding land; the regulatory aspects of County Extension, conservation districts, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS).

We will design a business plan, competitive business model and a solid strategic plan. We will investigate social purpose corporations and other forms of business ownership. Our business plan will incorporate marketing, accounting, human resources, and strategic planning. We will use accounting software to record and analyze data in a lab setting. We will learn how to estimate taxes, do break-even analyses, calculate payroll costs and prepare pro forma financial statements.

Building a business can require outlays of cash and financing. Most farm and food businesses are comprised of various smaller, self

One of the  companies working on the company operating agreement.

One of the companies working on the company operating agreement.

contained enterprises. We’ll learn how to measure whether anyone enterprise is going to make money and, if so, how much money. We will explore debt and equity financing while planning for business investing needs and also gain an understanding of how financiers make investment decisions.

Credit equivalencies can be expected in managerial accounting and strategic planning.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Farming, agriculture extension and other food- and agriculture-focused government agencies, (i.e., USDA, FDA. WSDA, WA Dept. of Health, WA Dept. of Ecology), NGO, restaurant industry, and food processing and distribution.

Our expert Entrepreneur Coaches/Facilitators Ane and Martin getting ready

Learning by Doing Competencies

There are 21 competencies in three categories that students will get exposure to namely;

Learning as a TEAM

 Entrepreneurs providing valuable feedback to the business models of project s.

Entrepreneurs providing each other with valuable feedback to the business models of project s.

  1. Information technologies and computer skills
  2. Team learning techniques
  3. Personal learning methods and attitudes (mental models)
  4. Creativity
  5. International vision
  6. Communication skills
  7. Self-guidance
Computer Science Changemakers Presenting their business models.

Computer Science Changemakers Presenting their business models.

Leading a TEAM

  1. Self-management skills
  2. Project management
  3. leadership capacity
  4. Planning techniques
  5. Coaching skills
  6. Strategic skills
  7. Decision making and determination


  1. Consumer services and negotiation and sales techniques
  2. Comprehension of financial elements
  3. Marketing
  4. Innovation
  5. Theoretical and modeling skills of an entrepreneur
  6. Networking
  7. Bravery and will to overcome obstacles


Faculty Institution Faculty Role  
Dr. Dion Gouws Winter/Spring Evergreen Faculty Business and Entrepreneurship MTA Evergreen Coach

Dr. Prita Lal


Evergreen Faculty Food justice, Social Movements, Urban Agriculture, Social Inequalities MTA Evergreen Coach

Dr. David Muelheisen –


Evergreen Faculty Sustainable Agriculture, Entomology  MTA Evergreen Coach
Dr. Jose Maria Luzarraga MTA World visiting faculty at Evergreen International Program Coordinator

Egoitz Tellitu


MTA  Visiting Faculty at Evergreen MTA International Coach

Maria Valle


MTA  Visiting Faculty at Evergreen MTA International Coach

Dr. Dion Gouws, CPA, MTA Evergreen Coach

Dion is a member of the business management and faculty at Evergreen. Highlights of his life from activities over the world include “chaperone” of the President of  the National Health and Allied Workers Union during apartheid South Africa; starting and operating a management consulting firm for many years; wildlife restoration and conservation and being appointed by the South African government for several years to address the representation of all members of society in the aviation sector by developing an employment equity training plan for the defense and civil sector.

In Angola he was appointed to coordinate and manage a project involving the capture of family groups of elephant and other wildlife families in South Africa and relocated these, for the first time ever by airlift, to Angola. As Director of a 1.2-million-hectare park in Angola he established its wildlife management and tourism infrastructure and drafted enabling national parks legislation.

In 2001 he immigrated to the United States, obtained a CPA license and started and operates a public accounting firm in California. He worked in the US Virgin Islands for seven years as an Associate Professor of Accounting and held the positions of Chair of the Department Accounting and Finance and Assistant Dean of the School of Business. In 2016 he received the SBA- SBDC Small Business Champion of the year Award.  He was awarded a Certificate of Special US Congressional Recognition for his contribution to society.

On his academic path he prepared himself as a professional accountant, obtained an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, a Doctoral Degree in Strategic Management from the University of Johannesburg and a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from Keller Graduate School. In his other profession he is an avid Scuba Diving Instructor.

He is keen to share his experiences through mentoring with learning communities that are discovering how to deliver their value in the GIG economy through community building and creating enterprises that have a larger sense of purpose.  Combining as developed by MTA and Tiimiakatamia, with Evergreen’s learning model, Six Expectations of the Evergreen Graduate and the 5 Foci of Learning and model shaped network structure may provide us with an excellent model to develop our future entrepreneurs that will create enterprises with the necessary sustainable social perspective, equally both, for profit and not for profit entities.

Dr. Prita Lal MTA Evergreen Coach

Prita Lal is a faculty member in Food Justice/Food Policy at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Her interests include the intersections of food and environmental justice with social movements, worker-owned cooperatives, solidarity economics, and community-based learning. She has a PhD in Sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and holds a certificate in Urban Agriculture from Farm School NYC.

Dr. David Muelheisen MTA Evergreen Coach

Dr. Jose Maria Luzarraga – Program Coordinator – MTA visiting faculty in Evergreen

Co-founder of Mondragon Academy (MTA World) & LEINN, ASHOKA Fellow, TiimiAkatemia Master Coach

Professor & International researcher at Mondragon University since 2004 lecturing in MBA and masters specialized in Global Business, Working Co-operatives, Social , Sustainable Development & CSR Strategies.

Author of his PhD thesis “Mondragon Multilocalisation Strategy: Innovating a Human Centered Globalisation” back in 2008.

Speaker at several international conferences in India, Norway, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, USA, Saudi Arabia, China & Brazil, collaborating with different universities as CEIBS (Shanghai), Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) or Harvard Business School (Boston, MA).

Serial social entrepreneur having cofounded several social business start-ups such as: “Viaje Solidario” a responsible tourism platform (2004), Empathya Consulting: CSR & leadership consulting (2005), “EusKalAsia” Basque Country & Asia platform (2006), MTA World (2008), TZBZ Innovation (2012), MTA China (2014), MTA Korea (2016) & MTA Africa (2018).

Awarded as ASHOKA Fellow in 2015 and advisory Board member of TZBZ S.Coop & DOT S.Coop..

Egoitz Tellitu  MTA International Coach

Egoitz developed his professional career around an innate curiosity: to understand the behaviour, needs and aspirations of people in society, whether as citizens or as users of products/services. He understands human understanding as the basis to design any innovative project or institutional proposal that seeks to respond to the demands of a target audience by meeting their expectations and generating a significant social impact. To this end, he has developed professional skills in research, service and experience design, entrepreneurial strategy and data analysis.

Maria Valle MTA International Coach

BSc Environmental Sciences & MSc Organic Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry

Travelling University, an international community of team-entrepreneurs “Learning by doing” through a global network of laboratories with an ecosystem of social innovation using Finnish education methods.

Experienced World Traveler. Food activist. Rock climber. Lifelong-learner.
On a mission to challenge current educational systems, designing thriving and innovative learning communities (from kindergarten to university).
Passionate about making this world a better place, committed to spreading more sustainable ways of living. Currently working at
Lived and worked in: Spain, France, Argentine, Portugal, Scottland, Rusia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Iceland, USA, Canada, and Finland.

Study in Washington and Learn by Doing

 Evergreen is located in beautiful Olympia, State of Washington.