The Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation (CWCF) has pledged founding support for a new Cooperative Investment Fund that would, if launched, provide Canadian cooperatives including worker cooperatives with access to the capital they need to expand and develop. The proposed fund, which is envisioned to launch later in 2013 if the required capital can be raised, is being proposed under the leadership of the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) with the support of a dedicated task force representing cooperatives and credit unions across the country. It would support the development and expansion of individual cooperatives with loans and subordinated debt sourced from within the cooperative movement.
This pledge is an acknowledgment that there is a gap in financing for cooperatives in Canada, evidenced by national research that shows that cooperatives face challenges in accessing capital and thus starting their enterprises. The National Fund would be a vehicle enabling cooperatives to both invest in and share in the success of other cooperatives, a concrete demonstration of the principle of cooperation among co-operatives in a mutually beneficial business arrangement.
The fund will get started once the cooperative movement has pledged a minimum of $20 million to it, with a preferred goal of $40 million. At the time of this writing, there are pledges of up to about $6.25 million. Once established, the fund will function as a multi-stakeholder cooperative with a Board of Directors that has representation from the investing cooperatives and other stakeholder groups to be determined. Cooperatives that invest in the fund will receive a return on their investment.
Photo: Coopérative forestière de la Nord-Côtière, Quebec
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037