Cooperation Syracuse Update May 10, 2018

Thank you for your responses, I look forward to working with all of you going forward.  For this week’s update, I want to share with you some links about how our North Country neighbors are engaging in this initiative for employee ownership as well.

First an article about the recent 19th Annual North Country Symposium that was all about employee ownership, held at St Lawrence University in Canton NY:

Second, a video of the Symposium panels.  I was a speaker on the “Assistance in Building and Sustaining Joint Ownership Enterprises” panel along with Sarah Martin of Cooperative Development Institute, Joe Marrafino of Democracy at Work Institute, and Steven Davis of USDA Rural Development.  The video starts out with a keynote from Doug O-Brien, President and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association and you can find my spot at the 2:42:00 mark:
Lastly, Senator Gillibrand continues her NY tour announcing the Main St Employee Ownership Act :
Please visit the shared working document and contribute your thoughts and questions/comments at:

Sincerely ~ Frank





Our Next Steps / Re: Cooperation Syracuse introductory Meeting

Hello everyone, some of you are joining this list for the second group email, based on recommendations from those in attendance at last Wednesday’s initial Cooperation Syracuse meeting. Please advise if you would prefer to not receive these communications in the future. Those in attendance at the initial meeting included representatives from Cooperative Federal Credit Union (Ron, Meagan, Sam), Greater Syracuse HOPE (Ocesa, Keturah), Legal Services of CNY (Mary, Melinda), Onondaga SBDC (Frank), and Chris Fowler (individual) former ED and founder of Syracuse First. A few other people were invited to the initial meeting but were unable to attend, I hope you will still be interested in participating in this venture.

Last Wednesday we spoke about the growing solidarity economy movement and cooperatives, the work that I and others have engaged in with this topic, and the value the movement has for building community wealth and equality. If you would like further data or statistics, let me know and I will be glad to share numerous resources. For now, I am sharing a photo and press release from Monday’s event at Syracuse Printing & Surround Label with Senator Gillibrand on the announcement of the Main Street Employee Ownership Act, which has some nice bits of info if you need convincing, and if not, so you can see where we have arrived, and what the future could look like with some reallocation of SBA resources towards outreach and education efforts, as well as relaxing and opening up lending requirements for ESOPs and cooperatives.

 4.30.18 Syracuse ESOP Release.pdf

Following last Wednesday’s meeting, those of us in attendance agreed to work on a mission/vision/goals/objectives (MVGO) for our working group, around a campaign for laser focusing our neighborhoods/elected officials/and economic developers on the value of cooperatives for building our community wealth, keeping jobs in our city, and making use of the economies of scale that cooperatives can bring towards obtaining larger roles in contracts (one such example is a contractors cooperative to bid on state RFPs).

My first task was to create a shared working document for us to start brainstorming and writing this together. I want to suggest a few recommendations for starting from my own experience and based upon our initial conversation.

  • One, I would like us to agree that our MVGO be based strongly at their core on the Identity, Values, and Principles of Cooperatives as recognized by the ICA (International Cooperative Alliance) located at
  • Two, recognize that one of our goals is not to start another organization or entity, but to create a campaign of cooperation of resources, outreach, influence, and desire to bring a solidarity economy to fruition. If there is need to utilize an entity of some form, there are numerous cooperative development entities already in existence that we could develop relationships with or work within.
  • Three, that part of the goals and objectives for a starting point are an MoA among us, plans for a public press event, and developing a success story/project development.

I will also work on providing an updated narrative of the most recent happenings in the realm of solidarity economy that are affecting us locally, or can affect us in the near future, that I discussed with you all verbally at our meeting last Wednesday. Prior to me getting that out to you, you can catch up on some history through December 2015 based on these two articles:

Please visit the shared working document and contribute your thoughts and questions/comments at:

Sincerely ~ Frank


Cooperation Syracuse Introductory Meeting Announcement/Agenda

Wednesday April 25 at 2:00PM at the Syracuse CoWorks office at 201 East Jefferson St, we are scheduled to meet regards Cooperation Syracuse, an effort to bring together the economic development and social justice towards promotion of cooperatives and employee ownership for community wealth development in Syracuse.

Networking Scales and Where we Fit
Database from census project/DCC
Behind NYC, Rochester, Buffalo
Recent Events/Contact with Senator Gillibrand’s Office

Technical Assistance at ETL
Workshop Webinar Viewing and Discussion
Coop-to-Coop Support and Incubation
Council Resolution/City Resoltuion
Anchor Institution Supports

Meeting and Planning Logistics/Timeline

Cooperation Syracuse?

Outreach email from Frank Cetera to potential participants:

I am writing to request a meeting to discuss forming a working group for promoting and developing worker/employee owned businesses in Syracuse.

I have been actively involved in this segment of business development for almost 10 years now, part of which is the formation of the New York Cooperative Network

As part of my work with this organization, I am a member and participant in the Data Commons Cooperative – We are currently working on developing processes and policies for using and sharing information from a cooperatives/solidarity economic census for upstate NY that was completed in December 2017.

One goal I have with using the information in this dataset is to map the Syracuse Solidarity Ecosystem, for use in value-chain development within the cooperative/solidarity business segments, for promoting development of these business types for community wealth building by providing technical assistance, and for general public knowledge/education.

So I propose that the time is now to form working relationships with other entities in Syracuse who would like to join together to grow this movement. Please let me know your thoughts and availability.

Sincerely ~ Frank

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