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  1. I have heard micro-credit loans have been dis-proven. Is that true ?
  2. I also hear Mondragon is actually a corporation now, not a cooperative.
  3. I hear the time trade circle has been incorporated.

Regarding Community Development Financial Institutions

[1] This is an article explaining Community Development Financial Institutions and their loan programs. Basically loans without having any collateral. But be prepared for a higher interest rate. Nonetheless, this option appears worth exploring, especially for those Social Enterprises looking to buy property in a distressed area of the city. This information focuses on CDFI's as non-profit organizations.

Community Development Credit Union (CDCU)

The purpose of a CDCU is to concentrate the members' financial assets upon developing the community in which the members live. Thus, CDCU's deliver a lot of their financial support to co-ops, small businesses, and residents in a given community. CDCU's loan money to co-ops and it IS a co-op -- what could be better than that! Democratically deciding how your money is used to support your democratically-controlled Sustainable Economy -- WOW! Here's an opportunity. There is currently NO CDCU in the Boston metro area! What an opportunity to start one, which focuses on helping the current community in the Boston area to grow! There are only a few CDCU's in area towns, Fall Fiver & Fitchburg -- a great opportunity to reach-out for assistance from other communities to develop area co-ops. CDCU's are often affiliated with churches -- what an opportunity to outreach to the religious community with co-ops as your common bond. A Boston-area CFCU/CDFI could be a powerful tool to build the co-op and socially-responsible small business communities all over New England. So, why don't we create one! BASEN (Boston-Area Solidarity Economy Network, part of USSEN)

Regarding government/collateralized loans

These are for loans that are supposed to be "small". But they think in terms of small as "how many tens of thousands". I already emailed ACCION to find out if they require any collateral for the loans. I also put in a call to the Dorchester Bay people to suss that situation out.

This is for the stream of government funds. I also put in emails to Grameen and a bunch of private foundations to see if they have any micro-loans on "our scale". Sadly, the early feedback is they all need/want a personal guarantee of some kind.

On a positive note, I got another call from an Occupier who is starting a collective cafe operation using a commercial kitchen of an existing restaurant that is "dark" for most of the day. So that'll require only tiny startup capital ("pico" loans?) til they want to split off and be independent. And it looks like there's another non-profit that wants to let people work "under" them to start enterprises. That part is exciting. Spread the term "pico-loans" (of hundreds of dollars) opposed to relatively huge micro loans (of tens of thousands)...