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Subsidies for worker-owned co-ops in Richmond

The full press release is below:

 
 
November 17, 2012
For immediate release
Contact:  Wayne Landers or Stephanie Hervey at outreach@richmondcooploans.net  
                 (415) 240-8738
Worker Cooperative Loan Fund Launches November 27th
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.
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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.”
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Specifics about applying for loans, as well as general information about cooperatives, will be available at the meeting.  For more information visit www.richmondcooploans.net
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