The city of Boston’s Worker Cooperative Initiative helped Democracy Brewing launch by lending it $150,000, and by paying a contractor to create a credit memo about the business’ prospects. “It’s a huge chunk of what made it possible for us to open our doors,” Rasza says. He credits the credit memo with helping the brewery raise much of its $1.8 million startup capital.
Boston launched the co-op initiative in late 2017 through its Economic Mobility Lab. The goal, says Jason Ewas, who was head of the Worker Cooperative Initiative and the Economic Mobility Lab until last month, is to help workers build wealth. That’s important as a response to gentrification in Boston, which often ranks as the nation’s third- or fourth-most expensive city for housing and has a huge wealth gap between black and white residents.