Taharka Brothers was the first business to receive a loan from BRED back in 2016. It is so wonderful to see them welcome the first round of worker owners. Converting a traditional business to a worker owned cooperative is so empowering. It benefits not only the workers but also the community. In the latest article about their conversion, Taharka Brothers talks with Next City about their experience with BRED.
“We only have loans through BRED. Part of that is the comfortability we have with them and who they are, them being the first company to give us a solid loan,” says McCoy. “The process has been quite educational, being a part of tracking the payments and having to really get a return to make those payments. BRED also helped with budgeting. The loan process just opened up a whole door to financial education for everyone here.”
After Obran Cooperative acquired Appalachian Field Services, AFS received a $1M investment from Seed Commons. Now their newest project, Obran Rising, has also received a $1M investment from Seed Commons. Obran Rising operates from the belief “that housing should be a human right” for everyone.
Joseph Cureton explains that “members have deepened their collective effort in the housing market to turn an extractive business model into an opportunity for collective wealth”. Therefore, all of the members of Obran Cooperative share control of the units as well as equity. Through Seed Commons’ investment, Obran Rising will be able to double their member-focused housing this year to ten units.
Congratulations on all your accomplishments Obran Cooperative! We love seeing your growth.
This month we put together a series of free virtual webinars. Jim Johnson and Joseph Cureton helped viewers learn about cooperative basics and cooperative conversions.
During Introduction to Cooperatives, they shared everything from the basics of getting started to legal structures and capital. Management structures to decision making. We also talked about the pro’s and con’s of owning a cooperative, and the differences between these flexible forms of doing business.
Intro To Cooperative Conversions & Employee Buyout, was for small business owners. It was geared towards those considering their next steps during the time of COVID-19, or maybe approaching retirement. Cooperative conversions are an increasingly compelling option for business owners. They sell their business to its employees which helps retain jobs and keep small businesses in their communities. During this webinar we discussed steps of the conversion process, and answered questions about whether or not an employee buyout is the right decision.
If you didn’t get a chance to join us, don’t worry! We recorded the sessions and they are available to watch at any time. Find them below and make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates on future happenings.
Discover if an employee buyout is right for your business in a free virtual workshop hosted by the BRED Loan Fund.
In the time of COVID-19 many small business owners are considering their options. Some owners are contemplating selling or even closing their businesses. If you are one of those owners, we have something just for you.
Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy is holding a free online workshop. It will focus on presenting you with practical strategies to sell your business to a trusted buyer (your employees) in order to continue serving your community.
During this workshop you will get answers to your questions about selling to your workers.
We will lead you through the steps involved in the process, including:
The Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy is a non-extractive business lender that finances worker-buyouts – its members include experienced worker-owners skilled in converting businesses to worker ownership and supporting workers and owners in making the transition.
Help us make sure that the worker-owners on the front lines of building a democratic economy have the resources they need to weather this storm. The workers of the Seed Commons cooperative network need your help building a mutual aid fund to endure the COVID-19 crisis.
Democratic workplaces are the seeds of the future economy we all need—community oriented, worker-controlled, and deeply sustainable. But now these seeds, just starting to sprout, stand to be wiped out as the global economy grinds to a viral standstill. We must make sure that the worker-owners on the frontlines of building a democratic economy have the resources they need to weather the storm. Please help the workers of New Era Windows, Brooklyn Stone & Tile, Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, CORE Staffing, and others in our network build a mutual aid fund to support us in the weeks and months that are ahead.
How we are responding
The COVID-19 outbreak and associated social distancing measures are hitting small businesses hard, and worker-owners of cooperative enterprises around the country will struggle to cover payroll and rent costs during this time. The Seed Commons Worker Response Fund will provide direct support to worker-owners at cooperative businesses most affected by closures and downturn associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, such as food service businesses, custom manufacturing, and child care cooperatives.
Seed Commons – a national network of cooperative loan funds, anchored by The Working World – is designed to support those workers who are most marginalized from the economy, and these communities are the ones that are going to be most impacted by closures, cancellations, and economic downturn in the coming months. Our community – made up of low income workers, workers of color, sole income earners, single parents, and immigrant workers – is coming together to raise a collective emergency fund to ensure all of our workers’ needs are met and our cooperatives can stay open during this crisis.
Where your money is going
Funds will be made available to cooperatives across our network according to a structured process of need and rationing approved by our board. Donations will be tax deductible and held at Seed Commons, a 501(c)3 certified Community Development Financial Institution before being distributed directly to the cooperative businesses hit hardest by this crisis.
This is not a fundraiser for Seed Commons operations or any of its member organizations – this fund is supporting workers directly, providing much needed support in a time of urgent need. Seed Commons member loan funds will also be working with borrowing businesses directly to reassess project plans and repayment timelines to ensure sustainability even in this time of uncertainty.
On behalf of the workers at New Era Windows, Brooklyn Stone & Tile, Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, CORE Staffing and many more cooperatives across the country, thank you for your support!