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Upcoming Events and Webinars

Voice America: Envision 

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Time: 2pm Pacific

Join Rani Langer-Croager as she interviews Hilary Abell and Alison Lingane, the co-founders of Project Equity, a nonprofit that supports businesses in their transition to worker-owned models. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. But as baby boomers retire, our local business landscape is poised to go through a dramatic shift. We will discuss how Project Equity keeps businesses local by helping them convert to employee ownership and how employee ownership builds community wealth.

The purpose of this show is to accelerate the shift towards building an inclusive, just future by connecting people and ideas. Be inspired to become the change agent for your community. Our guests describe some of what’s happening across the country and around the world to improve community resilience and build a regenerative community.

Envision is broadcast live every Tuesday at 2 PM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel. Listen here >>


2017 Assets Matter Annual Symposium

From Self-Employed to Worker-Owned: Discussing the Implications of New Era Workforce on Asset Building

Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Location: Preservation Park, Oakland, CA

 

The purpose of the 2017 Assets Matter Symposium is to generate new ideas and highlight innovative strategies across a range of topics (products, services, issue areas, policies, populations served) in the asset building and financial empowerment fields in California. CABC and BA AFN will feature the innovative work of nonprofits, government agencies, and private sector organizations at the Symposium.

Panelists from: California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity, Sustainable Economies Law Center and Project Equity


BALLE Leadership Summit

Equity in Rural Economies Tour // Pathways to Farm Business and Land Ownership

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM, Pacific

 

Hilary Abell, Co-founder of Project Equity leads a tour with our feet grounded on the land and our lungs filled with fresh air. We’ll consider:

  • What does an inclusive and equitable food system look like and how is it being built?
  • Who are the players in a local economy ecosystem that is growing low-resource farms into economically viable business that can also steward the land?
  • How can Baby Boomers and visionary entrepreneurs implement cooperative and member-owned models in their succession planning to keep their local economies strong?
  • How can lenders, nonprofits, and foundations leverage a variety of financial tools to shift capital to immigrants and farmers & workers of color to support their vital contributions to our food systems?
Past Events and Webinars

SOCAP 2017

The Purpose of Capital: Past Perspectives, Present Possibilities

Date: October 11, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM-6:30 PM, Pacific

Even within impact investing, there are diverse perspectives on the purpose of capital, depending upon heritage, traditions, and worldview. Hear from four leaders in the field regarding their journey and understanding of this question, including an attorney specializing in Sharia law, a specialist in worker-owned cooperatives, and a long-time equity activist. This interactive session will share perspectives among participants of how they came to their understanding of the purpose of capital

Presenters:
Jed Emerson, Founder/Strategic Advisor, Blended Value Group
Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity
Umar Moghul, Partne, Roberts Moghul & Partners LLP
Morgan Simon, Managing Director, Candide Group


The Economic Underpinnings Of The Future Of Social Innovation

Date: Monday, October 9, 2017
Time: 3:30pm Pacific

What is the future of social innovation? With a particular focus on power, economic progress and social justice alongside the role of markets in fueling these movements, this dialogue will highlight forward looking perspectives on opportunities to bring together seemingly disparate resources that can be reconfigured into “shared value.” Join our Fellows for this conversation on blended capital, impact investing, and more broadly, the future of this space.

PRESENTERS
Donnel Baird, 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, is the founder of BlocPower, a startup that markets, finances and installs solar and energy efficiency technology to help houses of worship, non-profits, small businesses and multifamily projects to slash their energy costs.

Daniel Tellalian, 1998 Echoing Green Fellow, is managing partner of Avivar Capital, a US-based SEC-registered impact investment advisory firm headquartered in Los Angeles. He is an economic development expert with two decades of experience in the financial services and food retailing sectors, focusing on investments in low-income communities.

Hilary Abell, 2014 Echoing Green Fellow and co-founder of Project Equity, builds economic resiliency in low-income communities by increasing worker ownership. She has worked in nonprofits and cooperatives for more than twenty years, advancing co-op development, fair trade, and community empowerment.

MODERATOR
Cathy Clark has been an active pioneer, researchers, educator and consultant for over 25 years in the fields of impact investing and social entrepreneurship. She serves as Faculty Director at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where she founded and directs the CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing and is lead author of CASE Smart Impact Capital, a new online toolkit to help impact entrepreneurs raise impact investment capital that aligns with their needs.


NCBA Cooperative Impact Conference

Purchasing Track: Master Class Workshop #3 – Member Engagement Strategies

Date: October 4-6, 2017

Table Discussions
Succession Planning for Co-ops and Members (Webinar: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3) With the Baby Boomers moving toward a collective Silver Tsunami, 70 percent of independent businesses are looking at some form of turnover in leadership in the coming years. Use this session to discuss the varying challenges your co-op and members have experienced while exploring the different ownership transition strategies your members might consider. Selling to family, to other members and even converting to a worker co-op are all fair game.

Recruiting & Retention Innovations (Webinar: Watch Now!) Is your cooperative struggling with recruiting and retaining members? As succession planning, roll-ups, consolidation, eCommerce and other factors impact your pool of membership, use this session to whiteboard some ideas on how your cooperative can use its intellectual and financial capital to create worthwhile membership offerings. You’ll also learn about basic outreach techniques, available technology and the importance of embracing your organization’s philosophy from our moderator.

Training & Working with Technology (Webinar: Register Now) What do co-op members get when the co-op provides access to true product knowledge? Increased sales, that’s what! Sphere 1 experienced a massive boom in organic growth at the co-op level when it doubled down on educational product training, and they have the numbers to prove it. Learn how they did it and bring your own perspective for an interactive discussion on this and other unique approaches to member engagement through training.

Speakers
Gary Pittsford, President and CEO, Castle Wealth Advisors
Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity
Allison Morris, Vice President of Member Experience, The Veterinary Cooperative
Brandon Maskew, Senior Customer Success Manager, BlueVolt
Doug Gastich, President & CEO, BlueVolt


Webinar: Worker Transitions vs. Roll-ups

Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017
Time: 10-11am Pacific / 1-2pm Eastern

This webinar will help business owners compare selling a business to the employees versus selling via a private equity roll-up. In this webinar, attendees will:

  • Learn the mechanics of employee-owner transition
  • Examine best practices for setting your employees up for success
  • Explore case studies of why the roll-up route is not good for the employees or long-term success of the community
  • Understand the context and perspective of purchasing cooperative member businesses
  • Have an opportunity for extensive Q&A

Presented by Castle Wealth Advisors and Project Equity, and joined by the CEO of BLUE HAWK Purchasing Cooperative, Lance Rantala.

Visit our toolkit designed specifically for purchasing cooperatives and view the webinar slides >>


Here Today But Planning for Tomorrow: The Next Gen and Your Business

Date: Friday, May 19, 2017
Time: 8:30 – 10:00 AM
Location: San Francisco SBA, 455 Market Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94105

This workshop focuses on how to plan ahead for a smooth transition of the family business and assets to the next generation. Panelists will discuss how business owners can engage into fruitful conversations with their children about their future, awaken their interest in joining the family business, and address the legal and financial implications of estate planning, as well as their options in terms of next-generation leadership (appoint a family member to take over, sell to a team or coop of current workers, or sell to an outsider). Participants will be invited to reflect on their personal and business goals, their options and challenges to transition the business to next-gen leaders, and to draw a timeline and preliminary checklist of issues to address.


Worker-Owned Food Enterprises: Keep Your Money TRULY Local!

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017
Time: 6-9:30pm
Location:
Port Kitchens, 344 20th Street, Oakland, CA 94612

Join Slow Food East Bay and the folks at Port Kitchens for an evening on the roof deck celebrating worker-owned collectives – eating, drinking, a film screening, speakers and more! Learn how and why supporting co-ops in our food spending makes for a more sustainable system.


2017 California Co-op Conference

Date: April 28, 2017

How Investment Capital can Help Unlock Scale in Worker Cooperative Expansions and Conversions
Speakers: Christina Jennings, Alison Lingane and Annie McShiras

Project Equity aims to help the field understand how to unlock barriers to equity financing to bridge the gaps between worker cooperative pipeline development and access to equity capital.

Local and State Policy Strategies to Scale Up the Worker Cooperative Sector (MCLE)

Panelists: Sara Stephens, Yassi Eskandari and Alison Lingane

This workshop will explore existing and potential policy strategies that can support worker cooperatives in California. It will also discuss, as a case study, the ordinance campaign in Oakland.


Legacy Business Planning

Date: Monday, May 1, 2017
Time: 3-4:30pm
Location: 
Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 1, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA

Having firm roots in Oakland helps Oakland’s businesses thrive—especially for legacy businesses that have served our city for 15, 20 years, or even much longer!

Buying your building will deepen your Oakland roots and will provide security with your retirement. Many business owners don’t realize that owning their building is possible – but with 504 financing, it is. The 504 loan program allows you to purchase a building with only 10% down and below market, long-term FIXED rates. In a climate of rising rent and interest rates, it is more important than ever to stabilize your occupancy costs and provide a permanent home for your business.

For business owners nearing retirement, or just looking to understand their exit options, smart succession planning can help ensure the company stays locally-owned. For some companies, transitioning to employee ownership is a great option that keeps the business rooted here for the long-term.

Join two Oakland-based organizations (Project Equity and TMC Financing) to learn about succession options and affordable financing that can help you plan your Oakland business’ legacy.


Webinar: Impact Investing in Worker Cooperatives, How to get involved

Recorded April 26, 2017

Worker cooperatives are a highly underrepresented business model that have tremendous positive impacts for employees, businesses and communities.

This webinar is targeted for impact investors and others who want to better understand investment options for targeting impact capital to worker coops. We will provide background about worker cooperatives and the opportunity in worker coop conversions, review worker coop investment structures, and delve into investment options ranging from direct investing, loan and equity fund investing and investment crowdfunding.

  • Blake Jones, Co-founder, Namaste Solar
  • Christina Jennings, Executive Director, Shared Capital
  • Matt Glatting, Treasurer, Capital Impact Partners
  • Annie McShiras, Investment Associate, Self-Help Federal Credit Union
  • Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity

View recorded webinar >


Webinar: Succession Planning: How to Engage Purchasing Coop Members in Their Future

(Part 1 of a 3-part series)

Recorded March 28, 2017

Over the next decade, Purchasing Cooperatives will collectively face a unique challenge in how they manage the retirement of their numerous Baby Boomer member-owners.  This “Silver Tsunami” will re-shape the future of the Purchasing Co-op sector as these local, family-run businesses contemplate selling their business, passing it down to family members or simply shutting their doors.

As such, succession planning has never been more top of mind for chief executives at Purchasing Co-ops as they search for available options and ways to engage and educate their members on those options.  NCBA CLUSA has brought together Castle Wealth Advisors, long-standing experts on succession planning options for members of Purchasing Co-ops, and Project Equity, experts in worker-ownership transitions, to present a 3-Part series for leaders of Purchasing Co-ops AND their members to highlight these options.

This first webinar catered to Purchasing Co-op executives.  Key takeaways include:

  • The business case for investing in succession planning education
  • Succession planning options and comparisons
  • Talking points and strategies to educate members about succession planning

Part 2 and Part 3 will be focused on the specific options available and are targeted to member-owners. Registration information will be available shortly for the follow-up sessions.

View recorded webinar and visit our page just for purchasing coops >>


San Francisco Bay Area Legacy Business Initiative Convening

Date: February 28, 2017
Location: Oakland, CA

Project Equity is co-sponsoring this invitation-only event convened by Citi Community Development, the Democracy at Work Institute, and the National Urban League (additional co-sponsors are the Sustainable Economies Law Center and the ICA Group). This conversation about legacy business retention, with a focus on minority ownership and shared ownership forms, aims to move the needle on an exciting trend in business succession planning and sustainable economic development: converting businesses to employee ownership.

Many small businesses – even successful legacy businesses two decades old or more – do not have a succession plan. Thousands of local businesses are at risk of closing as owners near retirement age. This potential closure crisis comes at a time when small business plays a vital role in maintaining the character and affordability of our neighborhoods. The “silver tsunami” of retiring business owners represents a real opportunity to broaden and anchor small business ownership by using shared entrepreneurship strategies to retain legacy businesses. This Initiative convenes business owners, business advisors, and economic development professionals to promote minority business ownership, with particular interest in African American-owned and operated businesses and on businesses that employ people of color, who can become co-owners through employee ownership transitions.


Achieving Community Empowerment through Place-Based Impact Investing in New Mexico

Date: Thursday, January 26, 2017, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm (Panel 1:15 – 1:45 pm )
Location: UNM Continuing Education Conference Center, Auditorium, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131

This full-day summit, for foundations, financial institutions, investment managers, philanthropists, and public officials, is focused on the role that place-based impact investing plays in empowering New Mexico communities and for enhancing grant making strategies across various issue areas.

We can use our collective wealth to leverage opportunities for promoting community health and well- being and maximize resources within and across New Mexico. Participants will learn how various parts of the state’s ecosystem are coming together to create new opportunities on how to better leverage capital and engage their community in collective development.

Examples of National Placed Based Impact Investing Initiatives and Models

  • Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives: Good Jobs and Community Wealth Building (Alison Lingane, Project Equity)
  • Best for Program (Hardik Savalia, B Lab)
  • Guarantees to Lower Risk (Eric Summerford Pearson, El Paso Community Foundation)

Webinar: Succession Planning for Purchasing Coops and their Members

Employee ownership: Keeping businesses independent when family can’t take over

Recorded December 6, 2016

Succession planning is an urgent need among an increasing number of businesses, especially as baby boomers near retirement age. Because purchasing cooperatives are an important part of helping their independent business members stay independent, competitive and rooted in their communities, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) has partnered with Project Equity to better understand the succession challenges of purchasing cooperative member companies, and to assess how employee ownership transitions can help keep these companies independent over the long term.

Moderator:
Bryan Munson, NCBA

Presenters:
Stephen K. Irvin, President & CEO, Amicus Solar Cooperative
Jack Bailey, President & Chief Executive Officer, Independent Distributors Cooperative-USA
Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity

View slideshow and visit our page just for purchasing coops >>


Opportunity Finance Network

Cooperative Conversions: The Small Business Lending Opportunity of a Generation

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, 2:30 pm – 3:45pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Panelists:
Micha Josephy, Cooperative Fund of New England
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Melissa Hoover, Democracy at Work Institute


Living the Next Economy Convergence 2016

Cooperatives: Business Models for the Next Economy

Date: Friday Oct. 21, 2016, 3:15 pm – 4:45 pm Breakout Session #3
Location: Oakstop, 1721 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

In honor of National Cooperative Month, we want to show off how cooperative business models promote shared ownership, wealth creation and community resiliency. This panel will discuss:

  • How cooperative businesses can be organized, governed and share wealth
  • Local and national resources for starting and developing a thriving cooperative business
  • Examples of how cooperatives are serving their communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond

Track: Beyond Business As Usual

Moderator: Sushil Jacobin, Tuttle Law Group

Panelists:
Rani Croager, Uptima Business Bootcamp
Josh Danielson, Loconomics
Hank Herrera, New Hope Farms
Alison Lingane, Project Equity


The Growing Potential of Employee Ownership Models

Date: Tuesday Oct. 5, 2016, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: Plum Organics, 1485 Park Ave., Emeryville, CA
Engage with entrepreneurs choosing to structure their businesses as an employee-owned model via a Cooperative or an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Gain insight into the benefits and challenges from current employee-owners. Grasp the power these models have to transform our approach to localism and employee engagement.
Panelists:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity 
Ramona Rodriguez-Brooks, National Center for Employee Ownership
Shannon Adkins, Future State
Ryan Honeyman, Lift Economy
This event was in partnership with Cultivating CapitalBay Area B-Corps and sponsored by Plum Organics

The Power of Cooperative Ownership

Date: Tuesday Oct. 4, 2016, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Lobby of Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union, 2001 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, CA
Attendees will enjoy a powerful learning experience and gain insight into the high-level process of converting a business to the cooperative model and meet a business owner who is making the transition. This event will appeal to existing business owners and employees that wish to examine a transition as well as those that may be thinking of starting or expanding a business and have interest in strengthening their model.
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity 
Kirk Vartan, Co-owner, A Slice of New York
Maria Williford, Worker-Owner, Dig Coop & Mariposa Gardening

Webinar: Creative Sources of Capital for your Cooperative

Recorded September 28, 2016

Join us as we discuss 3 ways to raise community investments for your worker-owned coop with Cutting Edge Capital. We will cover a new approach that is now available due to the eagerly awaited Jobs Act, as well as Direct Public Offerings (DPOs), and–specific to California–how CA coop corporations can raise up to $1,000 per investor by selling memberships to residents of CA.

You’ll walk away with an understanding of the key differences between the approaches, high level requirements, and pros and cons. Plus of course, examples and success stories, and Q&A.

Presenters:
Kim Arnone, Cutting Edge Capital
Sarah Kaplan, Cutting Edge Counsel
Alison Lingane, Project Equity

View recorded webinar


Date: Tuesday, September 13 & Friday, September 16, 2016
Location: Fort Mason Center and Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco, CA
Building Businesses for Local Economies That Work for All
Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Tomas Duran, Concerned Capital
Michelle Long, BALLE
Donovan Woollard, Radius Ventures
What Does Equity Look Like?
Moderated by: Penelope Douglas
Presenters:
Deborah Cullinan, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
David Erickson, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Jeremy Sookhoo, Calvert Funds
Vinitha Watson, ZooLabs

Art and Science of Cooperative Development: Building the Ecosystem
Date: June 30, 2016, 9:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Hilary Abell discusses how to build a successful cooperative development ecosystem that meets community needs. How to engage ecosystem actors, initiate cooperative development projects and gather community support.
Presenter:
Hilary Abell, Co-founder, Project Equity

Retire Well: Making Retirement Security a Reality for Small Business
Date: June 23, 2016, 5:45 PM – 7:00 PM,
Location: Community Bank of the Bay – 180 Grand Avenue 15th Floor, Suite 1550, Oakland, CA
Are you considering establishing a retirement savings plan for yourself and your workers? Do you need help navigating through the retirement plans available on the market? Are you interested in learning about the benefits of a employee ownership as an exit strategy for your business?Project Equity, Small Business Majority and Community Bank of the Bay teamed up for this interactive workshop on how to make retirement security a reality for small businesses. We will help you navigate the retirement landscape, sort through options and include new and innovative approaches to secure your future.
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Rhea Aguinaldo, Small Business Majority
Winter Williams, Community Bank of the Bay

California Co-op Conference
Date: April 29, 2016
Location: Sacramento, CA
Workshop: Transitioning your Business to a Worker Co-op
This workshop presents the process of transitioning your business to a worker co-op by sharing the story of one solar company’s journey. California Solar Electric (CSE), a Grass Valley solar company, is in the process of transitioning its business to a worker-owned cooperative as a member of Project Equity’s Cooperative Business Incubator. While focusing on CSE, alternatives and specific legal elements were discussed.
Presenters:
Lars Ortegren, California Solar Electric
Sushil Jacob, Tuttle Law Group
Alison Lingane, Project Equity

Workers to Owners Seminar
Date: April 11, 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Workshop: An Introduction to Why and How Companies Convert to Worker Ownership
Presenters:
Rob Brown, Cooperative Development Institute
Sushil Jacob, Tuttle Law Group
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Working Group: Preparing for Scale: Building an Ecosystem of Support and Feeding the Pipeline of Deals
Presenters:
Melissa Hoover, Democracy at Work Institute
Alison Lingane, Project Equity

Webinar: The Lending Opportunity of a Generation, Investing in Businesses Converting to Worker Ownership

Recorded March, 2016

Learn about the $10 trillion lending market that will be created by the ownership changeover of private enterprises as baby boomer business owners retire. The opportunity for lenders and other capital providers to participate in these sales transactions is expected to grow significantly over the next 5-20 years to encompass hundreds of thousands of small and mid-market businesses.

This is also an opportunity to create worker-owned business that strengthen our local economies and communities. Business owners can sell to their employees when they retire, creating new worker cooperatives with deep local roots.

Presenters:
Dorian Gregory, Cooperative Fund of New England
Camille Kerr, Democracy at Work Institute
Alison Lingane, Project Equity

View recorded webinar


Center for Socially Responsible Business Conference: Building Vibrant Cities through Community Capital
Date: March 11, 2016
Location: Oakland, CA
Panel: Funding the Unemployment Gap to Create Good, Sustainable Jobs
In this panel, you will be introduced to strategic thinkers who are creating new opportunities through community capital for our most vulnerable workers. You will learn about solutions that remove the disconnect between traditional lenders and borrowers; programs empowering young people through entrepreneurship and education; the impact of legislative changes to raising the minimum wage; and community members who are becoming owners and agents of capital themselves, and are using it to serve their immediate needs.
Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Sean Daniel Murphy, ICA Fund Good Jobs
Alejandro Castelan, Juma Ventures
Annie Campbell Washington, City of Oakland

Webinar: The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem: Inclusive Economic Development in Action

Recorded January, 2016

The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem report, part of the “Building the Inclusive Economy Series,” an initiative of Citi Community Development, highlights cutting-edge economic development models for city leaders and community development practitioners interested in embedding equity, community wealth and sustainability into their local growth plans. The webinar introduces the report and is tailored to economic development practitioners, lenders, investors, funders, cooperative developers, technical assistance providers and organizers.

Presenters:
Melissa Hoover, Democracy At Work Institute
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Cy Richardson, National Urban League
Joyce Pisnanont, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

View recorded webinar


Conference: NCBA Cooperative Professionals Conference
Date: November 10, 2015
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Workshop: Conversions
Advanced workshop on conversion, conversion trends and conversion tax issues for business entities converting to cooperatives. The panel also addressed common conversation trends and tax issues.
Presenters:
Camille Kerr, Democracy at Work Institute
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Jason Wiener, Jason Wiener PC

Webinar: Why Worker Coop Conversions and Ownership Make Sense Now

Recorded October, 2015

In this webinar, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank, we review the main features and benefits of worker owned cooperatives, talk about why worker ownership is an important community economic development strategy, and introduce strategies for how traditional businesses can convert to coops.

An important approach for worker coop conversion is supporting retiring business owners to sell the business to their employees. The pending ‘silver tsunami’ of retiring baby boomers makes this issue not only important, but very timely.  Most businesses do not have succession plans which portends the tremendous risk of losing large numbers of these businesses altogether, or having them sold to out-of-state buyers or private equity firms that often relocate jobs or the entire business.

View recorded webinar


Conference: SOCAP 2015
Date: October 9, 2015
Location: San Francisco, CA
Workshop: Redefining Scale: Depth vs. Breadth
When scale is re-defined as depth of impact, how does this affect how we need to organize ourselves, measure ourselves, and fund the work? We heard from three initiatives that are going deep in their communities in different ways: a neighborhood-based youth organization, a city-wide organization supporting high-performing social change efforts, and a national organization that focuses on strengthening local businesses. These stories challenge assumptions about scale and reframe sustainable impact.
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Fagan Harris, BaltimoreCorps
Olis Simmons, Youth Uprising
Leslie Lindo, BALLE

Conference: 2015 Western Worker Coop Conference
Date: September 21 & 22
Location: Berkeley, CA
In this workshop we presented a new Cooperative Growth Ecosystem framework to help participants analyze and mobilize the pieces of a thriving local ecosystem to grow worker cooperatives. We heard stories from two regions describing their work- everything from finding partners and starting an advocacy campaign, to building skills and capacity, to setting shared goals and ways to measure collective impact. We took an in-depth look at the San Francisco Bay Area, where three organization collaborated to create a Bay Area Blueprint for Increasing Worker Ownership, which looked at multiple pathways to scale, including: supporting small worker coops through a new Worker Coop Academy, developing startup coops designed for growth, and converting conventionally-owned businesses into worker coops.
Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Ricardo Nuñez, Sustainable Economies Law Center
Melissa Hoover, Democracy at Work Institute
We discussed the many aspects of transitioning from a ‘typical’ business structure to a worker cooperative, including motivating factors for owners and/or workers, and factors that promote success. This workshop elaborated on factors that contribute to  successful transition, including readiness factors and the key preparation steps a business should take when considering a transition. All content is based on a dozen case studies of businesses that have transitioned from a ‘typical’ business structure to a worker cooperative, through conversations with business owners, workers, and organizations that support businesses to ‘convert’.
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Andrea Hurd, Mariposa Gardening & Design

Date: September 15
Location: New Orleans, LA
What does it look like when we define scale as “going deep” within a specific community, measuring by depth of impact instead of by number of people reached or number of communities served? We heard from three place-based initiatives that are going deep in their communities in different ways: a city-wide organization supporting high-performing social change efforts in Baltimore, a group working to transform the experiences of kids prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system in Philadelphia, and an Oakland-based organization strengthening local economies through worker ownership. When scale is re-defined as depth of impact, how does this affect how we organize ourselves, fund the work, and measure our progress?
Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Joanna Visser Adjoian, Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project
Fagan Harris, BaltimoreCorps

Date: September 7
Location: San Francisco, CA
Workshop: Business Succession & Employee Ownership
This workshop presents a broad overview of the key elements for effective succession planning with a focus on utilizing employee-owned coops for business transfer resulting in employee governance, community job retention and sheltered wealth preservation for the business owner. The session covered the economic development advantages of coops and included several case studies of transitions to employee-owned models.
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Kristin York, Sierra Business Council

Date: Tuesday, August 25th
Location: 1350 7th St, Oakland (across from West Oakland BART)
Time: 6pm – 8:30pm
Project Equity has been invited to co-host a Locally Inspired event with Sustainable Business Alliance. SBA coordinates these monthly conversations with local business owners and community residents to share stories, educate and create connections within the community. We’re excited to share some of the amazing stories that have come out of the 2014 Worker Coop Academy and elsewhere.

Webinar: Succession Planning: Opportunities and Benefits of Employee Ownership 

Recorded August, 2015

Are you a business owner thinking about succession planning? Or are you wanting to support locally-owned businesses to stay in their communities? Project Equity and the National Center for Employee Ownership share essential information on important succession planning options available to business owners through employee ownership. We review the main features of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and worker-owned cooperatives, and discuss the benefits and distinctions of each, including resources for how to learn more, and how to get support.

View recorded webinar


Webinar: Scaling the Development of Worker-Owned Cooperatives

Recorded July, 2015

Get insight into how to scale the development of worker-owned co-ops: how to build the capacity for this model within your community, how to train those creating or converting to shared ownership, how to impact policy, and influence or harness other factors in your ecosystem.

View recorded webinar


Conference: Eastern Conference on Workplace Democracy 
Date: July 11
Location: Worchester, MA
Worker co-op academies are popping up around the country (and beyond!) as a strategy for increasing worker ownership. Representatives of Project Equity and Green Worker Co-op shared their models for curriculum design, funding, and collaboration. Presenters discussed approaches for facilitating success from the ground up and and share how they’ve addressed some of the challenges to doing this work.
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Omar Freilla, Green Worker Cooperatives
Stephanie Guico, New York Worker Cooperative Coalition
Owners of conventional businesses are increasingly looking to employee ownership as a model for transitioning out of their businesses. How can worker co-op organizer and supporters position themselves to support this opportunity to scale up the movement? This two-hour session will be divided into three parts that respond to this question. In the first part, representatives of Cooperative Development Institute will overview conversions as a strategy and highlight their experience supporting development of the Island Employee Co-op in Maine.In part two, Alison Lingane of Project Equity will invite representatives of businesses that have successfully transitioned to share their experiences. She’ll highlight various factors that owners should take into account in preparing for transition. In part three, representatives of the Democracy at Work Institute will share some of the tools and techniques that they’ve developed for supporting conversions, from legal documents to financing mechanisms to governance models. Additional representatives of various conversion projects will share stories of their perspectives of the conversion process.
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Camille Kerr, Democracy at Work Institute
Rob Brown, Cooperative Development Institute
Naomi Giszpenc, Cooperative Development Institute

Conference: Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) 2015
Date: June 10-12
Location: Phoneix, AZ
Workshop: Shared Ownership Parts A and B

In the recent economic crisis, employee-owned businesses and cooperatives have often proven more resilient than traditional businesses. Globally, an estimated 1 billion people are members of cooperatives and two years ago the United Nations declared it the International Year of Cooperatives, saying that co-ops could be the fastest-growing business model by the end of the decade.Part A featured businesses that have chosen employee ownership and financing – either as an ESOP or a worker cooperative, and the founder of Project Equity spoke about how worker ownership can create pathways to prosperity for low-income communities. Part B widened the lens to discuss what communities and cities can do to cultivate the commons and enable more ownership opportunities. Participants learned how land trusts and real estate cooperatives can be used to keep rents affordable for local businesses and prevent gentrification, and how a city can kick-start and incubate cooperatives.

Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Aaron Tanaka, Boston Impact Initiative
Armando Robles and Alex Linares, New Era Windows (worker coop)
Mandy Cabot, Dankso (ESOP)
Leslie Watson, Northeast Investment Cooperative
Andrew Delmonte, SBDC at SUNY Buffalo State
Ed Whitfield, Renaissance Community Coop
Pen Loh, Tufts University


Conference: 2015 Cooperative Issues Forum: Replicating Success
Date: May 6
Location: Washington D.C.

This national event is held each year before the Cooperative Hall of Fame Gala at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. It brings together leaders of all cooperative sectors – agricultural coops, food coops, rural electric coops, credit unions, worker coops, housing coops and others – for a look at emerging issues in the coop movement. Project Equity co-founder Hilary Abell was honored to be a keynote speaker, along with Kevin Edburg of Cooperative Development Services, and to present her half-hour talk called “Worker Cooperatives: Learning from Success and Aiming for Scale”.
Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Dennis Johnson, Cooperative Housing Resources, LLC
Kevin Edberg, Cooperative Development Services

Conference: 2015 California Coop Conference 
Date: May 1 & 2
Location: Sacramento, CA
Keynote Panel: Co-ops as a Vehicle for Economic Development: Connecting Collective History to the Current Moment
Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Jessica Gordon Nembhard, John Jay College
E. Kim Coontz, California Center for Cooperative Development
Adrionna Fike, Mandela Foods Cooperative
Transforming Low-Wage Service Industries into Cooperatives: Economic and Social Challenges and Emerging Strategies
Presenters:
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
David Smathers-Moore, TeamWorks
Transitioning Your Existing Business to a Worker Cooperative: Case Studies and Readiness Factors
Presenters:
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Andrea Hurd, Mariposa Gardening & Design
Blueprint for Increasing Worker Ownership in Low-Income Communities
Presenters:
Ricardo Nuñez, Sustainable Economies Law Center
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Sushil Jacob, East Bay Community Law Center

Webinar: Converting Businesses to Worker Cooperatives

Recorded April, 2015

The Democracy Collaborative and Project Equity organized this webinar to present the findings of our Case Studies: Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives. We cover the motivations behind converting, readiness factors, steps to transition to a worker owned cooperative, and we hear from three businesses that have converted.

View recorded webinar 


Webinar: Blueprint For Increasing Worker Ownership In Low-Income Communities

Recorded March, 2015

Learn about the Bay Area Blueprint for creating pathways to ownership for low- and moderate-income workers: small businesses, fast-growing start-ups, and business conversions.

View recorded webinar

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