Commonwealth Hudson Valley – Cooperative Strategies 3: Support Conversions

From: Commonwealth Hudson Valley:

In Philadelphia, city officials have teamed up with the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) to support coop conversionsalong West Philly’s 52nd Street corridor. The area has one of the densest concentrations of black-owned businesses in the city, and many of the owners are at or beyond retirement age, with no prospects of passing the business down to their kids. PACA is providing outreach and education to businesses about worker ownership and technical support for conversions.

The city of Fremont, CA worked with Project Equity to identify and begin outreach to the nearly 40% of its manufacturing businesses — employing some 12,000 people — that are more than 20 years old and potentially at risk of closure. In Chicago, a consortium of business, labor, and community groups, along with the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development have started a similar program of outreach, education, and assistance to an estimate 1500 to 2000 manufacturing firms at risk of closure. Their project plan quotes the Ohio Employee Ownership Center’s finding that “the failure to plan for business succession in small and middle-sized closely held businesses is the leading preventable cause of job loss in the U.S.” They aim to promote conversion to worker ownership and business sales to entrepreneurs from historically marginalized groups.

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