COOPERATIVES, presented by Kimberly Hunter of Mt. Biz Works (by S. Sunflower)
Sixteen people met at the Elections Conference Room, Brevard, on 13 September. This was the second of funding and business structure presentations Moving 2 Conserver sponsored. Kimberly ‘zoomed’ in with a powerpoint show. The fantastic electronics allowed all to talk and see each other, in spite of distance.
Conservers asked 3 questions, as we began:
Why shouldn’t people use the coop structure? Not if it doesn’t fit originators business interests, coops are voluntary, democratic business tools. See also the Beneficial Corporation/B Corp, as another viable option: https://bcorporation.net. To define shared needs and directions, the ‘Margaret Mead’ discussion process is useful.
Can a local public offering/NC PACES Act funding be used with the coop structure? Yes is the short answer. Mt. Biz is mentoring one such developing coop right now. That crowd-funding debut is 20 Sept., in Asheville.
(Kim – flyer went home with someone … don’t have Kimberly’ home phone, either)
What is the cost of developing a business plan? This varies, depending on the skill and activity level of participants. Mt. Biz Works provides mentoring for this, as all aspects of coop business development.
This immediately gave us a huge chunk of new knowledge and, for me, a real orientation to coops. The full slide show is attached. Other key points from my notes:
NC Coop law requires an LLC structure, so there are two levels of law and procedure required.
B Corporations are an option for social enterprise organizations, https://bcorporation.net, also known as Beneficial Corporations.
All coops require an established financial participation from members, and are one source of capitalization, the amount established in by-laws.
Managers can be hired for skills, and may not be part of the cooperative itself.
Developers, such as Mt. Biz, are useful, even necessary and may come from within the developing coop, if one or more participants have the skills, interest, time. Definitely someone in the group must take a key role
There was LOTS more information. With the interactive talk system, there was a constant questions and discussion. At the end of the hour, our heads were full. The full slideshow is attached. It was another great and informative event for Moving to Conservers.
To view the slides from the training, click: MovingToConservers Coop Webinar 9.13.18