The list of benefits for cooperative ownership can go on and on. So why aren’t there more of them? Why isn’t there a cooperative grocery in every neighborhood? Why are the vast majority of small businesses still only using conventional ownership models?
Perhaps one reason is that cooperatives are essentially locked out of the $20-25 billion in federally guaranteed small business loans that private lenders make every year. The Capital for Cooperatives Act, a new bill introduced by newly elected U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado, aims to change that. It comes after at least a decade of advocacy from the cooperative business sector.
“We’re glad to see that after all of these years of efforts this finally culminated in this legislative proposal to push this across the finish line,” says Kate LaTour, director of advocacy at NCBA-CLUSA, the main trade association for cooperatively owned business across the country.