Co-op raises capital with’s Equitable Economy Fund

The United States is home to 30,000 cooperatives or cooperative societies owned and controlled by the people who produce and consume the goods, products, or services they offer.

The cooperative model has the potential to serve as an alternative to traditional capitalism, opening doors to individuals and communities who may have historically been excluded from wealth-creating opportunities. According to research Co-operatives can indeed be the key to building a fairer and more sustainable economy. But how can new co-operatives get the support they need to take off, grow and thrive? An organization is trying to answer the question.


Officially known as Co-op for a Better World, was designed with co-ops and their members in mind. Start coop’s Mission To do this, the organization has three main programs. Incubator Programs, Accelerator Programs, Design and Coaching Services.

To this end, is a sister organization, equitable economy fundA $2 million pilot fund, the EEF is designed to match angel investors with cooperatives to ensure that cooperatives have the capital they need to succeed in a joint ownership model.

Founder of and co-director of Equitable Economy Fund Greg Brodksy poses with partners and accelerator program graduates. Credit: Fifty by Fifty

Co-Directors Greg Brodksy and Jessica Mason are the driving force behind and The Equitable Economy Fund. Brodsky is a veteran startup and cooperative strategist, founder and co-director of accelerator programs. He also runs the Equitable He Economy Fund.Prior to his current position, he bicycle cooperative Contributed to the start of purchases for the first time in Japan A cooperative of craft breweries.

Like Brodsky, Mason’s work is focused on helping cooperatives face the challenges associated with shared ownership.An angel investor herself, she used to social impact studioIn addition to his work at, Mason also works in the following departments: Foster America (an organization that sponsors a fellowship program to train the next generation of child welfare leaders) and a board member of an artist-owned cooperative. amplifiedpreviously benefited from the resources provided by’s accelerator program.

active program

Equitable Economy Funds are pooled investment funds exempt from SEC registration. As such, only accredited investors may invest in the Fund. Investors have access to a diverse portfolio that includes several different cooperatives and other co-owned companies — All graduates of’s accelerator program. If a cooperative or co-owned company shows extraordinary potential, accredited investors have the option to invest further in the next round (known as follow-on capital).

The Guild team (pictured in front of a co-owned/managed building in Atlanta) participated in’s 2022 accelerator cohort. Their mission is to develop equitable real estate and programs for communities of color to thrive.Credit: The Guild’s annual accelerator program is based on a cohort model. Over the course of 16 weeks, this virtual program offers coaching, mentorship, access to platform services, and an investment of $10,000 per team. A high performing graduate is eligible to apply for her $50,000 follow-up funding.8 companies were selected as part of the latest 2022 Accelerator Program:

  • freelancers guild cooperative We provide contract management, tax preparation and healthcare for freelance artists.
  • The first milk bank owned by nursing mothers, the Breast Milk Cooperative provides breast milk to premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
  • A joint venture between Navajo Power and Iluméxico (providing affordable solar energy in Mexico), Navajo Power Home It provides solar power to Navajo and Hopi lands previously without electricity.
  • More than just a creative writing software program Noble Also, writers can earn money from their writing.
  • based in montreal Daikon Cooperative is an online food delivery service owned by restaurants, consumers and delivery companies.
  • smart Provides tools for journalists to analyze hate and disinformation online.
  • owned by its members style crush is an online resale marketplace offering sustainable fashion curated into “mini-collections”.
  • Based in southwestern Atlanta, guild is dedicated to building affordable, mixed-use properties for community members and activists as a way to “pave the way for black and brown ownership.”
  • closeness is a digital cooperative that facilitates “small group rituals and soulful conversations” through spiritual communities.

Addressing pervasive inequalities in funding

On issuing its is “Of the 30,000 cooperatives in the United States, only a small percentage are run by blacks. ” is focused on funding women- and people-of-color-owned cooperatives and is dedicated to ensuring these often-excluded cooperatives have the resources they need to thrive. doing. Funded missions often address pressing issues that are often overlooked in traditional accelerator programs, but can have a real impact on marginalized people and communities. These include the rise of the gig economy, the exploitation of workers in fast fashion, the rise of fake news and rising housing costs.

In 2020, Y Combinator (a well-known American technology startup accelerator compared to will be released data About the diversity of the companies we funded. Of the nearly 200 companies hosted in the Summer 2020 cohort, only 16% had female founders and only 9% had black founders.

With the Equitable Economy Fund, wants to paint a different picture for the future of fundraising., noting as a mission that historical inequalities in access and capital have stifled the ability of marginalized communities to thrive in traditional (and cooperative) economic spaces, It works “to address the root causes of systemic racism and inequality.”

Success story and long-term vision

Several startups have benefited from both’s accelerator program and the Equitable Economy Fund. Two “alumni” include Obran Cooperative and UPROOT Homes. Oblan Cooperative is a worker-owned staffing agency focused on empowering people of color, including previously incarcerated individuals. one of the two brands core stuffingis a recruiting agency for returning citizens (those returning to society after being released from prison). Our employees work in a variety of industries, including food processing, light industry, and warehousing.

applet homesrecognizes that 650,000 military families relocate each year and is dedicated to helping these families access home ownership and its economic benefits. UPROOT enables a series of short-term homeowners to pay off their mortgages together, giving everyone access to the long-term benefits of having a home that pays off.

The team at Core Stuffing (a division of the Oblan Cooperative, an alumni of the Accelerator Program) provides quality employment and other opportunities for returning citizens.Credit: Core Stuffing

talk rework co-director Greg Brodsky said: But the two parts of him that really look different are the governance side and the fundraising side. [When you invest in cooperatives] The goal is to establish long-term ownership within the community, whether that community is workers, consumers, farmers or musicians. ”

As such, and its Equitable Economy Fund are determined to help cooperatives and the often marginalized communities they serve to develop their potential and find a foothold. . Brodsky continues. We are trying to bring wealth and voice to the company. ”

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