Seed grants for new and emerging cooperatives
by By Portia Williams
PDT Staff Writer
PIKETON — The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers is offering reimbursement seed grants to groups interested in exploring or growing a cooperative.
Christie Welch, Program Manager for The Ohio Cooperative Development Center said the seed grant provides financial assistance to cooperative groups in the formulation process.
“We are charged with assisting new and emerging cooperatives throughout the state of Ohio and West Virginia. There is great deal of interest in formulating cooperatives right now,” Welch said.
According to The Ohio Cooperative Development Center, Cooperatives are legal businesses that form when members of the group can do something better together than they can individually.
Welch said the last five years they have helped 30 new cooperatives form.
“In Ohio they can form in any industry. We have worked with clients in local food, which is a big part of what we do right now. There is also a cooperative group hub in the Dayton area that we have worked with,” Welch said.
According to OCDC, examples of eligible expenses include marketing and promotions, contract services, training and development, accounting systems, bylaw completion, and contractual document development. Recipients must provide 25 percent matching funds for project costs with their own resources.
“A lot of times when a group gets together and explores starting a cooperative, sometimes they need the Seed funding for starting the new cooperative, or maybe they’ve already formed, and need assistance in developing by-laws and covering attorney’s fees,” Welch said.
Welch said groups interested in forming a cooperative may request up to $1,500 for research and early planning, feasibility study, and formation services. Examples include legal and/or professional fees, focus groups, development of articles of incorporation, financial projections, and other feasibility and/or formation work.
According to OCDC, Incorporated cooperatives or member controlled businesses may request up to $3,000 for assistance with the expansion of the cooperative into new markets and/or enterprises.
Welch said the project must take place between the date of your application approval and the project completion deadline of Friday, June 27, 2014.
She said funding for the seed grant are contingent upon funding.
“We should be hearing any did if we will get funded again. We usually fund from six to 10 projects each year with the seed grant funding,” Welch said.
Emerging cooperative groups interested in applying for this program, may email Kimberly Roush at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 740-289-2071 x232, or go to http://ocdc.osu.edu under the Seed Grants Tab to download an application.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.
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