City of Baltimore commits funding to help BRED accelerate business conversions to worker cooperatives

City of Baltimore commits funding to help BRED accelerate business conversions to worker cooperatives

The Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) is thrilled to announce that Baltimore has joined other leading cities in committing public support for worker cooperative development. With the award of a $47,000 Community Catalyst Grant, the City of Baltimore is enabling BRED to launch a new initiative designed to pilot the creation of a worker cooperative conversion pipeline.

Too many jobs are at risk of disappearing from Baltmore’s communities because too many small and medium-sized business owners lack a good plan for what happens when they retire or step back from their companies. With the proper support and training, the workers at these businesses can be ideal candidates to take over and preserve their own jobs, running them as worker cooperatives in which both decision-making and profits are shared democratically across the enterprise. One national 2018 study identified significant opportunities for cooperative conversions that could preserve thousands of jobs in the mid-Atlantic region across five economic sectors.

Our goal is to prototype and develop a functional pipeline connecting retiring business owners to the technical, financial, and educational resources necessary for successful transitions to worker ownership. with a focus on preserving jobs and building democratic workplaces in historically disinvested communities. By converting independently-owned, small and medium-scale businesses that are deeply rooted in Baltimore’s economy and neighborhoods into worker cooperatives, we can democratize wealth and retain it in the communities that need it.

The Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) is a coalition of Maryland-based worker cooperatives, advocates, and technical assistance providers committed to building a robust cooperative ecosystem. BRED supports democratically-controlled enterprises with loans and technical assistance, prioritizing coop development that directs educational and financial resources to the communities of color that have been excluded from the current economic system. To date, BRED has made over $650,000 in patient capital available to Baltimore City worker-cooperatives. BRED is one of the founding members of Seed Commons (formerly The Financial Cooperative), an emerging national network of non-extractive loan funds building a shared financial platform to move capital into the democratic economy.

In recent years, cities including New York; Madison, WI; Newark, NJ; and Berkeley, CA have begun to integrate worker cooperative support into their economic development priorities. For Kate Khatib, Executive Director of BRED and National Director of Seed Commons, “Over the past decade, Baltimore has built a vibrant and inclusive ecosystem of cooperative businesses and technical support entirely from the grassroots. It is exciting to now see the city government recognizing this accomplishment and helping provide the tools needed to take this work to the next level.”

BRED’s new worker cooperative conversion pilot, which will launch later in 2019, will work hand in hand with city agencies to identify opportunities and gaps in existing business support infrastructure for democratic enterprises. “BDC is proud to partner with BRED on a worker ownership training program,” said William H. Cole, president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC).  “Employee ownership conversions have the potential to play an integral part in retaining and preserving jobs needed in Baltimore’s communities.”

More information about BRED:

For more information about this new initiative, email Kate Khatib,

Image: Yianni Mathioudakis via Flickr

Finding the Perfect Fit: Maryland Worker Co-ops and Choosing Your Legal Entity

Finding the Perfect Fit: Maryland Worker Co-ops and Choosing Your Legal Entity


Does your cooperative business fit into the category of cooperative corporation, benefit corporation, LLC, or partnership?  Do you need help figuring out what laws and regulations can affect  your business formalization process? Well, we have a great workshop happening on February 7th at 6:30PM!  Bred, in collaboration with BCAN & Gilmore Khandhar, LLC, is hosting a free interactive workshop called Finding the Perfect Fit: Maryland Worker Coops & Choosing Your Legal Entity.  This is open to people belonging to Maryland based worker-owned cooperatives and we will discuss the basic legal considerations when choosing a formal business structure.

Please follow the link below for more information and to register.   See you soon!

Democracy in the Workplace talk and Co-op Happy Hour

Democracy in the Workplace talk and Co-op Happy Hour

Our very own BRED member, Bernardo Vigil, will be giving a talk called Democracy in the Workplace: Bernardo Vigil Presents a Case Study On Barcelona Worker Co-ops.  This event will take place at Red Emma’s on January 17th, 2019.  Bernardo will be talking about his research into workplace democracy in Barcelona, Spain. Bernardo spent time in Barcelona researching how worker co-ops  use different strategies to build meaningful pathways toward self-management, participation, and cooperative leadership development.

This event will be hosted by Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy starting at 7pm along with a co-0p happy hour. Attending the co-op happy hour is a great opportunity to have a drink, get to know the team, ask questions about BRED’s loan process, or just chat about ideas and steps to becoming a co-op, all over a drink.

Follow the link below for more information and to let us know you’re coming!

Grand Openings!!!

Grand Openings!!!

There are some amazing things happening in the world of Baltimore Co-ops this week. Please join these great collectives and help to celebrate these new beginnings


Image result for beyond video Beyond Video is a wonderful new video rental store in Baltimore that is having their Grand Opening Friday December 14, 2018. Beyond video is a collective that is striving to create a wide-ranging collection of cinema. They are dedicated to securing, preserving, and providing public access to this video collection with the goal of opening a worker-owned rental store that operates on a membership basis.


Baltimore Bicycle Works is having their Grand Opening of their second location on Saturday December 15th, 2018.  The success of the past 10 years on Falls Rd has enabled them to open a second cooperatively owned and democratically operated shop in Belvedere Square. It just so happens that it is their 10th anniversary as well, so there is lots to celebrate!

Worker Cooperative Jumpstart


In collaboration with Impact Silver Spring, Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy will be bringing you a Worker Co-op Jumpstart in Montgomery County!  Not only is this event going to be super informative, but it’s free!   Please join us Saturday November 10th from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for a day of learning about the best practices for a new or an already existing cooperative. We are so excited to offer this Jumpstart to anyone who is interested in building and maintaining a cooperative business. Hope to see you all there.

Please follow the link below to RSVP. See you soon!