An introduction to doing business as a cooperative, including:
- What exactly is a cooperative, anyway? Legal and practical definitions
- What kinds of cooperatives are there, and what industries do they operate in?
- Steps to starting a co-op, or converting a business into a cooperative
- What are the rights and responsibilities of membership in a co-op?
- How does a co-op distribute profits?
- What are some ways of raising capital for co-ops?
- How does decision making work in a co-op?
- Who is eligible to become a member of a co-op?
- What can go wrong?
- What resources are available to help get a co-op started?
You will walk away with our comprehensive checklist for starting a cooperative, and a list of resources to get you started!
Feb. 20, 2014, 6-8 pm
Red Sun Press, 94 Green St. Jamaica Plain MA 02130
Registration is free – donations accepted!
Presented by the Boston Center for Community Ownership
**Please let us know if you would like interpretation services!**
Just a friendly reminder we have WORC’N General Assembly tomorrow at 7pm (yes, 7pm not 6pm — so you Equal Exchangers, don’t be shy to add a detour to your commute).
The location, agenda, and some yearly updates for a taste of inspiration are below.
Make Shift Boston
549 Columbus Ave
Boston MA 02118
Facilitators listed below
- 10m Report-back/reflection on the year (James Bachez)
- 10m Plus/Delta/Insights for 2013 (Ben Mauer)
- 30m Updates/report-backs (Stacey Cordiero MCs)
- US Federation update (Ben Mauer)
- Boston Center for Community Ownership (Stacey Cordiero)
- WORC’N members
- Discussion items
- 5m #BosCoop social media campaign (Joel Wool)
- 10m Update on intersectoral and Q&A (Micha Josephy)
- 10m Propose calendar for year & feedback (James Bachez)
- 15m Propose we postpone membership discussion until intersectoral effort is further along & feedback (Stacey Cordiero)
- 5m Proposal for a cooperative vision and strategy reading group (Matt Gabrenya)
- 5m Potential partnership with Future Boston (Joel Wool)
WORC’N Yearly Updates
A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative
The 11 members of A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative completed our buy-out of A Yard &A Half LLC on Jan 1! Muchisimas gracias to Micha & Maggie from CFNE for all of their help, and to WORCN members for all your advice and support. We’re still looking at options to stabilize working capital, but we’re pressing on! We’ll have our annual meeting in April, and are hoping to diversify our Board as worker-owners become more comfortable with democratic decision-making.
A couple of members are participating in the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing’s grassroots leadership institute in Spanish, and Carolyn gave a workshop on their experience of coops as model for business succession and democratic ownership at this weekend’s NOFA conference. (Notes & slides available)
Dorchester Community Food Co-op
The Dorchester Community Food Co-op had a successful year in 2013, recruiting members, developing new outreach and engagement strategies, soliciting building proposals, selecting an architect, relaunching its winter farmers’ market, partnering on a “Fresh Fridays” cafe series and appearing numerous times in the media. After working with the Sustainability Guild to revitalize a vacant lot on Bowdoin St. in Dorchester––the property that will likely be the initiative’s future home––the Co-op was featured on Boston.com, in the Boston Globe Metro Section, and on WCVB’s Chronicle. The co-op is now in a major member drive and is developing a plan to raise the remaining capital needed to hire a full-time General Manager and build the store.
Cooperative Fund of New England
2013 was a landmark year for the Cooperative Fund of New England. In addition to having our Executive Director, Rebecca Dunn, inducted into the Co-op Hall of Fame (heroes.coop), we disbursed the second largest amount of loan funds in our 38 year history. CFNE made over $3.8 million in loans to 38 co-ops and community groups across New England and eastern upstate New York State. In Greater Boston, CFNE and its affiliate, the Cooperative Capital Fund, made loans to five worker co-ops: A Yard & A Half, Boston TechCollective, CERO Co-op, Dollars & Sense, and Red Sun Press. We look forward to another strong year in 2014. We are also currently working to help the Boston Center for Community Ownership build its capacity to support urban cooperatives in the region.
For information about borrowing or investing in the fund, please visit our website at www.coopfund.coop.
Red Sun Press
2013 was a year of recovery for Red Sun Press. We re-staffed after some difficult transitions, regained our financial footing and reestablished a tight, efficient workflow in the shop.
The lease of a Konica Minolta/Komori C8000 digital press was a highlight of the year, enabling us to complete longer runs of high-quality digital output. Customers like Clean Water Action, Equal Exchange and Local 26/Unite Here responded with lots of orders for postcards, brochures, flyers and posters (including tons of election-related stuff).
We symbolically renewed ourselves mid-year with a rebranding effort, yielding a new logo and fresh marketing materials.
On a governance level, too, we are refreshing our business, moving towards a new organizational structure for the co-op and rising to new challenges in the shifting economic climate. To help carve our new path we welcomed 2 outside advisors onto our board, friends and community leaders with the business and co-op experience needed to balance our busy crew of worker-members.
Holiday social at the employee owned Just Crust in Harvard Square from 6-8pm or so.
Come and eat some pizza and have a beer with other worker cooperators and allies.
49 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138.
5 minute walk from Harvard Square T or various bus stops.
If you’re new to worker cooperatives or co-ops in general, come out to this Co-op 101 by Stacey Cordiero from the Boston Center for Community Ownership. A great way for start-up groups or for businesses considering transitioning to a co-op to get their feet wet and understand the benefits of cooperation.
Date & Time: Thursday October 17, 6pm
Location: 1151 Massachusetts Avenue, basement meeting room. Easily accessible by Bus or metro, if you are coming from Boston take the #1 bus or if you take the Red Line get off @ the Harvard Sq. station. 2-3 blocks away from the T station.
Presented by the Boston Center for Community Ownership (http://bcco.coop)
Monday, October 21 from 6-8pm
UNITE HERE! Local 26 at 33 Harrison Ave, Boston, 3rd floor
Come meet five leaders from the cooperative sector of Mexico’s Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT) for an inspiring discussion of cooperative economic development and the role of international solidarity in fostering cooperative movement.
Cooperatives, including worker-owned businesses, community-owned grocery stores, credit unions and more, are humanizing the economy across Boston and the world. Come meet five leaders from the cooperative sector of Mexico’s Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT) for an inspiring discussion of cooperative economic development and the role of international solidarity in fostering cooperative movement. This is the final stop on a ten day delegation across New England by co-ops associated with the FAT, hosted by co-ops affiliated with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).
Co-sponsored by United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), WORC’N (worcn.org), Jobs with Justice, Cooperative Fund of New England and the National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter.
Here’s a quick calendar and related notes for WORC’N Fall activities. We have a lot going on, which is very exciting, including participation in a regional Solidarity and Green Economy Conference in Worcester, a potential event with a Mexican co-op delegation, and our regular Peer Resource Group, Co-op 101 and General Assembly events.
One particularly exciting note- In an effort to spread work around and allow the Steering Committee to step back from event planning and step into steering WORC’N, we are launching an Events Committee! This committee, to date including Lynn, James, and Reed, is charged with coordinating logistics around WORC’N events. Please give a hearty Thank You to Lynn, James and Reed, and if you are interested in joining this committee, please let me or any other steering committee member know. Now, without further ado:
The WORC’N Fall Calendar
All events from 6 pm – 8 pm unless noted
October 10, Peer Resource Group focusing on Restoring Roots Gardeners’ Co-op, a new edible landscape design and implementation co-op @ Make Shift, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston. Contact Ben Mauer with questions.
October 15, Steering Committee Meeting (10 am to 11 am) and Launch of Events Committee (11 am to noon). Location TBA (possibly Museum of Science). Contact me or any other steering committee member if you want to come.
October 17, Worker Co-op 101 @ 1151 Mass Ave, Cambridge. Contact Stacey Cordeiro with questions.
October 21, Potential event with a delegation from the cooperative sector of UE’s sister union in Mexico, the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT). Save the date and more info will come as we learn it.
November 9-10, SAGE Conference, 5 Pleasant St, 3rd floor Worcester. For more details, see http://www.worcestersagealliance.org/?page_id=11 and if you want to go as part of a WORC’N delegation, contact me or one of the other steering committee members. We are looking into holding a regional worker co-op meet-up at this conference, so keep an eye out for more related information.
November 14, Peer Resource Group focusing on Hummingbird Co-op, a new house cleaning co-op @ Boston Collective Delivery, 12 Channel St, Boston. Contact James Bachez with questions.
November 19, Steering Committee (10 am to 11:30 am) @ Make Shift, 549 Columbus Ave, Boston.
November 21, Worker Co-op 101 @ 1151 Mass Ave, Cambridge. Contact Stacey Cordeiro with questions.
December 12, General Assembly and Social @ Just Crust, Harvard Sq, Cambridge. Contact James Bachez with questions.
Introduction to Cooperatives workshop
September 19, 2013, 6-8 pm
Hosted by: MataHari: Eye of the Day
1 Milk St., 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02109
This workshop will give an introduction to starting and running a cooperative business. Worker-owned cooperatives are owned and controlled by their members and are a way of providing employment for their members and needed services for the larger community. After this workshop you will understand the difference between worker, consumer, and producer cooperatives, and learn about new hybrid models of co-op businesses. You will have a sense of the history and global reach of cooperative businesses, the logistics of how they operate internally, and the steps needed to get one started.
Co-sponsored by the Worker Owned and Run Cooperative Network (worcn.org) and the Boston Center for Community Ownership (bcco.coop).
Please comment on this post to let us know if you plan on attending!