Monday, November 26, 2012

Worker Cooperative Loan Fund Launches November 27th

November 23, 2012
For immediate release
Contact:  Wayne Landers or Stephanie Hervey at
                  (415) 240-8738

A new source of small loans is now available for Richmond  businesses 
operating as worker cooperatives.  This is part of an effort to 
encourage job seekers and entrepreneurs to band together and create 
their own workplaces.  From 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 
27 the Richmond Worker Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund (or Richmond 
Co-op Loans for short) will  host an informational briefing for 
interested parties and the media.  The event will take place at the 
offices of Richmond Main Street, 1000  MacDonald Avenue, Suite C.  
Everyone is welcome.

The new non-profit fund is designed to meet a specific hurdle in 
starting worker owned businesses.  Securing financing for new 
cooperatives can be challenging.    A number of local business resource 
people will offer brief presentations on both these challenges and the 
unique advantages of the cooperative business model.  Neil Helfman, 
attorney and a founding member of Richmond Co-op Loans, will outline 
opportunities offered by the co-op model.  Several members of local 
co-ops will report on their businesses.  Randall Shores, business start 
up and turn around specialist with the Small Business Development 
Center, will cover resources for business owners, many of them free.  
And welcoming all the participants will be Richmond Mayor Gayle  
McLaughlin, with her vision of worker co-ops adding to the local 
business climate and strengthening a growing sense of community.

“In addition to finding people who want to start co-ops we are also 
very interested in talking to Richmond business owners who may be 
thinking of selling their enterprises,” according to Richmonder Jayma 
Brown, another founding member or Richmond Co-op Loans.  “For instance, 
a local business person thinking of retiring may have thought about 
selling the business to the employees but doesn’t know how to 
investigate that possibility.  We’d like to help and make sure those 
Richmond jobs are retained.”

Specifics about applying for loans, as well as general information 
about cooperatives, will be available at the meeting.  For more 
information visit

Light refreshments will be served, catered by Liberty Ship Cafe, an 
emerging Richmond cooperative.

Worker cooperatives follow the seven cooperative principles:  voluntary 
and open membership; democratic member control; member economic 
participation;  autonomy and independence; education, training, and 
information for members and the public; cooperation among cooperatives; 
and concern for community.

What:  Launch of Richmond Worker Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund
When:  Tuesday, November 27, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Where:  Richmond Main Street, 1000 MacDonald Ave, Suite C, Richmond

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