Brendan Martin

Founder & Director, The Working World

New York, NY

Share Ownership, Shift Capital  |  Community Economic Development, Funding / Investment, Worker Ownership

Brendan leads business development and financing to help workers purchase factories for worker-owned enterprises, using a ground-breaking model combining non-extractive finance with tailored business support.

Brendan Martin is founder and director of The Working World, a cooperative financial institution and business incubator based in the U.S., Argentina, and Nicaragua. Out of experience supporting the “recovered factory” phenomenon in Argentina, The Working World financial institution and its methods of non-extractive finance and just-in-time “evergreen” credit were born. Since then, The Working World has demonstrated that grassroots cooperative movements can be economically viable and that finance can be non-extractive and subservient to people, yet still be solvent. Brendan is a 2009 Ashoka fellow, a two-time Ashoka Globalizer, a nominated Prime Mover, and a frequent speaker on the solidarity and cooperative economy. He was born in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in New York City.


  • Despite dire predictions of investing in the chaotic groundswell that was the recovered factory movement, The Working World achieved a 98% return rate across over 715 loans, and all with repayments only from profit sharing and without guarantees.
  • In the U.S., The Working World has funded six cooperatives.
  • Further results of The Working World’s efforts in the U.S. and abroad include sustainable wealth building, community autonomy, civic participation, inclusive economic opportunities, and social and economic justice.