About L.A. Coop Lab:
The purpose of the L.A. Coop Lab is to reduce inequality and the harmful consequences of rapid gentrification and displacement in L.A. communities by supporting the development of worker cooperatives –– businesses that are democratically owned and controlled by the people that work there.
We invest in groups of people and communities who desire a more democratically owned and governed workplace, particularly those who have been undervalued and pushed to the margins of the economy due to race, origin, economic or immigration status, gender, and age. Access to local cooperative business ownership is one alternative to runaway shops, wage theft, and exploitation and the scarcity of important goods and services in the neighborhoods.
Our target populations have historically been denied access to good jobs, capital, and capacity building that is tailored to their needs. With respect to financing, historical discrimination generates a self-fulfilling prophecy of credit denial based on criteria of collateral, credit history and “character” (i.e. prior arrests, incarceration, evictions, etc).
To address this problem, the LA Coop Lab is a member of a national financial cooperative that is dedicated to financing distributed ownership of jobs, particularly for disenfranchised communities.
We accomplish our purpose through:
• Cooperative business development coaching tailored to the knowledge and needs of workers
• An articulated curriculum that fills a gap in LA’s community development landscape
• Public workshops and networking events that strengthen LA’s capacity for co-op development
• Financing viable cooperative businesses in LA
The Co-op Developer will provide coordination, education, and loan officer/technical assistance services for the L.A. Co-op Lab in order to support the development and sustainability of worker-owned cooperative businesses in Los Angeles in accordance with principles of economic and environmental justice.
In 2023, we have three main areas of work:
Finance & Technical Assistance:
- Provide co-op development technical assistance to projects that meet our values of radical inclusion. These may include business model, break-even analysis; assumptions analysis; etc.
- Work with cooperatives to develop loan applications, as appropriate. Present those loans to our financial cooperative as candidates to receive funding.
- Follow-up loans with continued relationship, monitoring, and support according to an agreed upon plan and performance standards. Support cooperatives to determine why goals were not met, why they were exceeded, and strategies to pivot for maximum business sustainability.
- Build upon a foundation of LA Coop Lab educational materials and experience, adapt, improve, and deploy an education program for aspiring and existing worker cooperatives. This includes but is not limited to: our online course library, free office hour consultations, print booklets, and recurring educational events for the community.
- Take on a lead role in the development and implementation of our 2023 “How to Start a Worker Cooperative” Academy in South Los Angeles.
Community and Network Building:
Produce education and networking events for the growing community of worker cooperatives and allies in Los Angeles.
Maintain, expand and enhance our relationships with worker cooperatives and the broader solidarity economy in Los Angeles.
Our ideal candidate would have some combination of the following qualifications:
- A community organizer who has one foot in social justice organizing and another in business development
- Experienced in coalition work and coordinating/drawing on the resources of people from multiple organizations
- Experienced in writing business plans, including work on financial documents (e.g., projections, budgets, capital plans), and analyzing business opportunities
- Knowledgeable about the economic justice landscape of Los Angeles
- Connected to cooperatives and the cooperative movement
- A clear, and coherent communicator in both written and oral forms
- Personally well-organized and able to create and maintain appropriate online and physical files and communications systems
- Available to participate in all training and network calls of the Peer Network and Financial Cooperative of which the LA Co-op Lab is a member.
- Spanish fluency desired
Location: Los Angeles, California. This is a hybrid position requiring both in person and remote work.
- $70,000 annual salary plus health, dental and vision insurance
- Vacation, sick time, and paid federal holidays off
- The opportunity to learn more about cooperatives, the solidarity economy, and network with others in similar positions
- The opportunity to participate in a growing and democratically organized team
To apply: please submit a cover letter and resume here by February 12, 2023. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and we aim to make a hiring decision by the end of March 2023.