Bill Gessner, of the group Cooperative Development Services, has quite a few useful articles on organizing, funding, managing, and expanding co-ops. Here is an excerpt from one he published in Cooperative Grocer (#129. March-April 2007):
by Bill Gessner
Where we gonna get the grubstake? The 300 food co-op stores in the United States, owned by more than 400,000 consumers, face the continuing challenge of building capital if they are going to continue to grow and develop to serve their members and communities. As much as we might want to ignore this challenge, co-ops need to find ways to acquire more capital as a means to fulfilling their mission.
Capital is defined as money or property used to produce more wealth. Traditionally, businesses require talent and capital to develop and flourish. The Food Co-op 500 program for creating new food co-ops has put forth a “Four Cornerstones” model, surrounding talent and capital with vision and systems.
Food co-ops have most often been chronically undercapitalized. There has been a continuing lack of education that focuses on a member’s responsibility to help capitalize their co-op. System-wide, food co-ops have been weak in the area of ongoing capital planning. In this article, we will feature the cornerstone of capital and describe both traditional and creative approaches to building capital for existing and new food co-ops…
Read the full article here.
• Food Co-op 500
• “Financial Toolbox,” available from Cooperative Grocer
• “Expansion Toolbox,” available from Cooperative Grocer
• “Conducting Member Loan Campaigns,” by Bill Gessner, Cooperative Grocer, Jan.-Feb. 2000
• “Leveraging Benefits for Producer and Consumer Co-ops,” by Kevin Edberg, Cooperative Grocer, Jan.-Feb. 2006