<Remember: slooooooowwww and be natural> I appreciate the opportunity to be here… Very timely event!
<…slowly…> Intro self and sectors
What does this mean: the equity owners of a co-op are the same people who: - democratically govern the business thru 1-member = 1-vote - are the beneficiaries of the services provided
Building blocks of economic cooperation Authority: - basic authority and responsibility imposed by law, in other words the incorporating statute - Bylaws and policy provide guidance and clarify authority Ultimate authority from 2 places: Comes from members and this overall system The co-op is theirs and without their desire to create and perpetuate co-op, the board wouldn’t exist Members place their needs, trust and Board of their choosing.
<ehm, breath> Co-ops are dynamic and relevant in today’s economy
<are you going slowly enough> Co-ops are defined by ownership In this collection of cooperative business’s logo’s, I see groups of people who had a need: - they could not meet individually and - which was unfulfilled by the traditional investor-owned private sector
<S.L.O.W.> Because co-op businesses are: - comprised of the community - they are representative of the community - and they are a part of the community Co-ops: - Keep profits, ownership and control local - Are less vulnerable to take-over and closure by outside decision-makers ; often stay long after others leave - Are trusted business partners; people like to deal with the producer Co-ops have an innate edge on investor-owned corporations and they have an opportunity to sell it!
2013 03 13 pfc - co-ops 101
NW Co-op Development CenterCo-ops 101Peoples Food Co-opMar. 13th, 2013Eric Bowman, Cooperative Development Specialisteric@nwcdc.coop1063 S Capitol Way # 211Olympia, WA 98501360.943.4241
Presentation: Co-ops 1011. Intro2. Overview and History3. Co-op Economy and Models4. Development Process5. Resources6. Q&A
NWCDCThe Centera 501(c)3 nonprofit which provides development servicesfor new and existing co-opsOur missionto foster community economic development through theco-op business modelWe’rea team of co-op developers with skills specific to start-upand organizational business development
Co-ops 101Investor owned:Sole proprietor:Co-ops are member:◦ Owned◦ Controlled◦ Benefited
Co-op RoleU.S. Facts:– 250 purchasing co-ops procure for 50,000 businesses– 3,000 farmer co-ops market 30% of farmers’ products– 8,000 housing co-ops provide 1 m homes– 7,500 credit unions provide services to 90 m members– 1,000 rural electrics operate ½ the nation’s distribution– 29,000 co-ops serve 43% of the populationTop 100 co-ops’ 2010 revenues = $194 Billion!
Internationally Recognized Principles1. Voluntary and Open Membership2. Democratic Member Control3. Member Economic Participation4. Autonomy and Independence5. Education, Training and Information6. Co-operation among Co-operatives7. Concern for Community
OwnershipMember-Owners can be– Consumers– Producers/Farmers– Workers– Other Businesses
Distributionism cont.Another School…Solidarity or Multi-Stakeholder◦ Weaver Street Market owners:◦ Workers◦ Consumers◦ Idaho’s Bounty Co-op owners:◦ Producers◦ Consumers
Why Cooperate?…to access resources not individually achievable
Why form an entity?Creating:• Something bigger and beyond oneself• Economy of scale• Solid foundation for growth• Legitimacy• Commitment• Limited liability• Formal structure to work together
When not to form…• Too small to cover admin• Dependant on volunteer and/or grant• Less than 3 members• Don’t need structure• No compelling economic need
Estimated Timeline• 6 to 12 months (or more for each):1. Organizing2. Planning3. Implementation• Total of 1 ½ to 3 years
Co-op Development Stages• Identify a need a co-op couldmeet• Form Steering Committee• Research Feasibility• Review Findings (Go/No Go)• Membership Drive• Planning and Financing• Begin Operations (Go/No Go)Project LifecycleProject Lifecycle
Co-op Development Stages• Identify a need a co-op couldmeet• Form Steering Committee• Research Feasibility• Review Findings (Go/No Go)• Membership Drive• Planning and Financing• Begin Operations (Go/No Go)How We Assist• Facilitate identifying mission andgoals• Train founding Board members• Market and feasibility research• Assist with organizing• Professional, 3rdparty perspective• General business consultingProject LifecycleProject Lifecycle
Organizing• Held “go or no go” votes at every meeting
Organizing• Form committee– A “proto board”– May or may not be potential members– Role is:• Advisory• Exploratory• Planning• Networking• Visionary• Fundraising
What you are:…is spending your neighbor’s money!
Membership Drive Phases1. Highly motivated early adopters2. Friends, family and fools are super easy3. Tap out networks4. Community organizing and it’s uphill– It’s P.R., outreach, communications, etc.– Need a plan– “Political campaign without an election”
Resources1. How to Start a Food Co-op; CGIN2. How to Start a Cooperative; USDA3. The Worker Cooperative Toolbox; NCDF• Resources/toolboxes– Food Co-op Initiative– US Federation of Worker Co-ops• Magazines– Cooperative Grocer– The Cooperator; Co-op and Condo monthly
Thank You!Eric Bowmaneric@nwcdc.coopNorthwest Cooperative Development Center1063 Capitol Way S # 211Olympia, WA 98501360.943.4241 | www.nwcdc.coopFostering community economic development through thecooperative business model