Taharka Brothers In Next City Article

Taharka Brothers In Next City Article

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.”

To read the full article follow this link https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/baltimore-is-democratizing-the-economy-one-pint-at-a-time

2020 BRED Recap

2020 BRED Recap

In so many ways, this has been a year (not) to remember. Even so, there have also been times that have made our mouths smile and our hearts fill with pride. So, we would like to take a moment and highlight the positive changes that happened for us and our family of projects during 2020.

Cooperatives have always been particularly adept at pivoting, but this year pivoting the ways of meeting and conducting business became essential. Many of our food sector co-ops, like Red Emma’s and Taharka Brothers, altered their operation models. They added home delivery and/or switched to take-out only. Likewise, Thread Coffee opted to close their cafe entirely and focus exclusively on wholesale and direct-to consumer sales. Mera Kitchen Collective, known for their catering, had to make a pivot as well. They teamed up with Alma Cocina Latina and World Central Kitchen to offer free meals. To date they have cooked and served over ninety thousand completely free meals to communities around the city.

We are happy to be able to say that all of our projects have been able to remain open in some capacity. Some projects were even able to see an uptick in business. For example, Baltimore Bicycle Works had an increase in bike sales; Taharka Brothers increased sales when the option of home delivery was added.

Changes within BRED itself also took place. As a technical assistance provider, not being able to be in close contact with our coops and visit them onsite was a big change. All of our meetings moved to Zoom. We streamlined our online disbursal and loan application process. And we learned a lot about how to effectively build and maintain close relationships in a largely digital space.

Our public programming and training moved online as well, and we offered two series of webinars this spring and summer: Introduction to Cooperative Conversions and Co-op 101. We’ve doubled down on these online training modules. Working with one of our staff members, we created self-directed digital versions of our Coop Jumpstart tools, which will be released in early 2021. Last, we welcomed a current project officer to our staff collective, and we hired a new full time staff member.

BRED took on several new projects this year in varying stages, from infancy to established. Some of our proudest moments are when we can help a traditional business transition to an employee own cooperative business. Three businesses went through this process with us this year: Taharka Brothers, Appalachian Field Services, and Joe Squared. We are so happy to welcome them into our cooperative family.

Last but not least, we brought new investment into Baltimore City! BRED made our first $1M investment this year, and surpassed $3M in non-extractive loans made over the last five years.

There is still a lot of work to do in the new year to dismantle the corporate world. We are proud to be a leader in creating a cooperative ecosystem in Baltimore and will continue to uplift this work and contribute to the community of Baltimore City. Happy New Year!

Please Visit Some of the Co-ops We Support:

Taharka Brothers Ice Cream www.taharkabrothers.com
Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse redemmas.org
ToBo Hair Salon https://www.vagaro.com/tobohairsalon
Thread Coffee threadcoffee.org
Volar www.volar.site
Cajou Creamery cajoucreamery.com
Baltimore Bicycle Works baltimorebicycleworks.com
The Greener Kitchen thegreenerkitchen.com
Mera Kitchen Collective www.mera.kitchen
Appalachian Field Services appalachianfieldservices.com
Joe Squared joesquared.com
Obran Cooperative obran.org
Montgomery County Taxi anytimeuniontaxi.com

Upcoming Supported Cooperatives:

Earthbound Building earthboundbuilding.com
Yeleen Beauty Makerspace http://sheayeleen.com
GRASS Baltimore

Watch Our August Webinars

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.

August Events

We are bringing you two events this month. ‘Co-op 101’ and ‘A Brief Introduction to Cooperative Conversions and Employee Buyout’.

Have you ever wondered what a cooperative is, or what it would be like to start your own cooperative? Co-op 101 is the perfect workshop for you. Spend an hour learning about the in’s and out’s of worker-owned cooperative businesses. We will have a conversation about legal structures and capital, pro’s and con’s, and the differences between these flexible forms of doing business. You will leave wanting to put what you’ve learned to work!

Our Brief Introduction to Cooperative Conversions and Employee Buyout workshop is geared towards small business owners. In the time of COVID-19, small business owners might be pondering ways to preserve their business legacy as they approach retirement. You might be considering a career change, but want to leave your business to people who are competent and already invested in the welfare of the business.

Cooperative conversions – selling a business to its employees – are an increasingly compelling option to retain jobs and keep small businesses in their communities. We will lead you through the steps of this process, and answer questions about whether an employee buyout might be right for your business.

If either of these interest you, please register through this link https://linktr.ee/BREDbaltimore

Selling Your Small Business – Practical Strategies for an Employee Buyout

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:

  • overall exploratory process and strategy
  • ownership and management succession planning
  • financing options
  • legal and structural angles
  • much more!

We hope to see you there!

Please register for this event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/selling-your-small-business-practical-strategies-for-an-employee-buyout-tickets-105097102262

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.