Overview

Our purpose:

            The RWCRLF is dedicated to the maintenance and development of worker cooperative businesses in the city of Richmond, California. We intend to make a material difference in Richmond's economy and facilitate the creation of a culture of worker ownership and governance.

What we offer:

            Business lending to startup and established Richmond worker cooperatives, generally in the $3000-$20,000 range, at competitive interest rates. While we are not a full cooperative development agency, we can offer basic assistance with your loan application. For deeper information and resources we can refer you to the appropriate people and organizations to facilitate your creation of a successful cooperative business. Our website (currently in development) will give further detail as to lending criteria, definition of a coop business, how to start a coop, and further resources.

Basic lending requirements:

      The business must operate as a worker-owned and worker-governed cooperative business and be defined as such in its articles of incorporation and / or bylaws.

      At least 2 members of the cooperative must be Richmond, California residents.

      Its principal place of business must be in Richmond.

      A business plan is required.

What a cooperative business is:

            Worker cooperatives follow the seven cooperative principles as best they are able: Voluntary and open membership; Democratic member control; Member economic participation; Autonomy and independence; Education, training, and information for members and the public; Cooperation among cooperatives; and Concern for community. The operational requirements of cooperatives are defined in IRS statutes and regulations. The key requirements are: Subordination of capital -- meaning equity holding does not confer control or economic rights and that members receive economic benefits on the basis of what they do instead of what they own; Democratic control by members -- meaning one member gets one vote; and Patronage distribution -- meaning that the coop members are rewarded in direct proportion to their work contribution.

Worker cooperative businesses, industry associations and development organizations:

      Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives

      U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives

      California Center for Coop Development (worker, consumer, producer coops)

      National Cooperative Business Association (worker, consumer, producer)

      Mondragon Corporation short video (worker-owned, annual revenue 15B, Spain-based)

To apply or obtain further information please email outreach@richmondcooploans.net

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