Cooperation Syracuse Update June 14, 2018: Sharing from NYCNoWC Conference in Queens, NYC

I’m happy to share that this past weekend’s trip to LIC, Queens for the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives Conference was worth the time.  I renewed acquaintances with a number of friends and colleagues in the cooperative business development sector, and came away with a number of possibilities for helping strengthen our work in CNY (photos from the conference shared in this album: https://www.facebook. com/pg/nycworker/photos/?tab= album&album_id= 1735451086540054)


I was able to speak briefly to Jamaal Bailey, Senator for the 36th District of New York, who is the sponsor of Bill S6794 - legislation/bills/2017/s6794 – signed into law by Governor Cuomo which amends the education law in relation to employer specific skill training grant programs to include employee-owned enterprises.   This effectively means that the skills necessary to manage and operate a business as an employee-owned enterprise are now recognized as workforce development alongside specific skill sets for producing products and services and will be eligible for resource support.  This is extremely important as one of the keys to employee-owned enterprise success is knowledge and understanding of cooperative culture and business models for all worker-owners. (*see the post-script below for schedule of upcoming Pathways to Ownership training webinar series).

I met and spoke with two worker-owners of New Deal Construction –, one of only two worker-owned constriction cooperatives in NYC, which is certified as an MWBE.  Although they focus on residential construction and remodeling, the MWBE Construction worker- cooperative model that they are undertaking is the one I hope we will closely continue to explore in order to assist city resident workers in banding together to successfully obtain government contracts.

Also perhaps of interest to us were multiple sessions relating to cooperatives and unionization, and how the two can work together to mutual benefit.  More on that tom come another time.

The day ended with a performance of “The Black Conference: A History of Co-Ops in the Black Community”, by the FalconWorks Theater Company, based upon the seminal research work “Collective Courage” by Jessica Gordon Nembhard.  Set in 1939, the play brought together conference attendees and guests face-to-face with black intellectuals and civil rights leaders including W.E.B. Dubois, Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Walter White and more to discuss cooperative economics as a viable alternative to black economic empowerment.

This week I have some individual follow-up meetings with interested parties who have not made it to our first two meetings, and hope they can attend or I can provide some updates about the further development of their participation in the Alliance at our next meeting scheduled for Thursday June 28, 2 PM, at CoWorks , 201 East Jefferson St, Syracuse.

I have also completed updating the MVGO document based upon the comments and feedback from our last meeting.  Take a look at: document/d/1C8QNnprkLpT0fGNx_ ZMM6EjEPfxljf8rKpwbycgn4wE/ edit?usp=sharing

NOTE: Green highlighting indicates additions or changes from previous version.

Lastly, to clean up the email chains, I have taken the notes and news from the past messages in the thread and will be archiving them at an online journal that you can access in chronological order at any time, visit:

Sincerely ~ Frank

Frank Cetera, Onondaga Small Business Development Center
NYS Business Advisor, 800 N. Salina St, 2nd FloorSyracuse, NY 13208, 315.308.1372


Employee ownership is a growing area of interest for small businesses. This series of webinars for SBDC clients and the general public will give you the practical information you need to understand employee ownership options, and work with an SBDC adviser in starting or transitioning a business to one of the employee ownership models.

1.       Thursday August 2, 10:00 AM:  BUSINESS CONVERSION PROCESS
Joe Marraffino of the Democracy at Work Institute will provide background, practical details, and examples of issues involved in shifting from workers to owners.

2.       Wednesday August 15, 10:00 AM: CASE STUDY WITH WORKER OWNER
Erin Domagal grew up in Central NY and relocated to the Hudson Valley in 2002 to finish a BFA in Painting at SUNY New Paltz. Her love for nature has always connected to her professional life – landscaping, farming, wilderness education, running an herbal apothecary. Currently, Erin is a co-owner and Creative Director of Earth Designs Cooperative, a landscape design and installation company in Rosendale.
3.      Wednesday August 29, 10:00 AM: EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP ECOSYSTEM
Frank Cetera will speak to his hands-on experience working with cooperatives and the various network and resource organizations that exist to support them plus give a summary of legislation recently passed or in process for facilitating employee ownership development in NY State.  Frank will provide lessons learned as an advisor to help you better prepare for the conversations and issues involved in advising on this topic.


4.       Wednesday September 12, 10:00 AM: CASE STUDY WITH SBDC ADVISOR
Andrew Delmonte highlights a case study of a small business that converted to employee ownership with the assistance of the SBDC at SUNY Buffalo State. The founder and owner of Rose Garden Early Childhood Center, a 9-year old childcare business in Buffalo, NY, sold the business to her employees last December. We will look at the steps the business took to complete this conversion, the specialized technical assistance, training, and financing that was needed, and some lessons learned in the process.

5.       Wednesday September 26, 10:00 AM: ESOPs
Pat Dailey from Fust Charles Chambers LLP will present background, practical details, and examples of issues involved in adopting an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) model.


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