GEO 15: Advancing the Development of Worker Co-ops

AttachmentSize 2013 ADWC notes.pdf148.58 KB For a second time the Grassroots Economic Organizing collective organized a one-day conversation among cooperative developers just before the Eastern Conference in July. ...

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2013 ADWC notes.pdf 148.58 KB

For a second time the Grassroots Economic Organizing collective organized a one-day conversation among cooperative developers just before the Eastern Conference in July.  Each year they have published a groups of reports by attendees in advance of the event in order to for the conversation to begin at a more informed level.  In 2011 in Baltimore the focus was on development strategies.  In 2013 in Philadelphia the focus was on financing.  Notes taken at the event are available.   

Grassroots Economic Organzing 15

Advancing the Development of Worker Co-ops (ADWC) 2013

by Jessica Gordon Nembhard

In 2011 GEO called together worker cooperative developers and supporters to discuss “Advancing the Development of Worker Cooperatives” (ADWC). We conducted an online forum through our website, and organized a one-day conference to kick off the 2011 Eastern Conference For workplace Democracy (ECWD) in Baltimore. Sojourner-Douglass College hosted our pre-conference on July 7, 2011.


Sign Up Today for the ADWC Pre-conference to the ECWD!

Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO), The Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy and Mariposa Food Co-op are pleased to announce the Advancing the Development of Worker Cooperatives (ADWC) 2013 pre-conference, which will focus on successful inter-cooperative approaches to self-financing and financing within the co-op movement.


Building on Self-Financing: Practices in Canada

By Eric Tusz-King

This article provides an overview of various financing models used in the Province of Quebec and in other parts of Canada.   My experience primarily comes from the worker/employee owned co-operatives, but as a co-op developer I also draw on inspiring stories from various forms of co-operatives. 


From Mondragon Networking to Franchising: the Arizmendi Association Model of Financing

By Tim Huet 

The Arizmendi Association model of financing draws on elements of successful European cooperative networks we studied (specifically the Mondragon and Italian models) as well as a business model native to the United States, franchising.



From Crowd-Sourcing to Direct Investment: Coop to Coop Solutions to Grow our Democratic Businesses

By Esteban Kelly 

Mariposa Food Co-op is a consumer owned and member-worker run food co-op operating in the West Philadelphia neighborhood since 1971. After 41 years of being  a members-only space, we opened our doors to the community in 2012, in a space five times that of our historic location. In total, our expansion effort racked up over $2.5 million in debt.


Mariposa Food Co-op Ground-Breaking


The Cooperative Fund of New England

By  Micha Josephy

In 1975, leaders of New England’s food co-op community joined with socially-oriented investors affiliated with the Haymarket People’s Fund to unlock access to debt capital for the many food co-ops that were starting and expanding.


Sam Dibble of the Artisan Beverage Co-operative and Maggie Cohn of CFNE


Co-ops Financing Co-ops

By Adam Trott

There are limited options when looking to finance a co-op, especially a worker co-op. Aside from co-operative loan funds (like the Cooperative Fund of New England {see article by Micha Josephy in this issue}, Workers Revolving Loan Fund and Northcountry Co-operative Fund) and the rare credit union that lends to businesses, financial institutions do not understand co-operatives. Most lenders are completely unfamiliar with the Co-operative Principles and how they influence our business practices.


The Working World and Financing Workplace Democracy

Annie McShiras talks with Brendan Martin and Ethan Earle 

Building a Solidarity Financial System for co-operatives and democratic work places through a culture of belief.  This is Part I of the SolidarityNYC interview with The Working World. It is an alternative loan fund that supports worker run co-operatives and other democratic workplaces with micro-credit loans and technical support.

Democracy At Work Network and Kiva Zip

By Jessie Myszka 

In 2012, the Democracy at Work Network was approached by Kiva Zip about being a pilot trustee for its direct micro-lending program. Kiva Microfinance began in 2005, a non-profit that collects funds online from individual lenders and offers loans to individual entrepreneurs abroad. Since inception, it has made more than 1,000,000 loans. These loans rely on in-country field partners to administer the funds. Kiva launched its newer Zip program in order to loan directly to individuals, asking only that a “trustee” vet applicants and vouch for their credibility.


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