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Upcoming events and webinars

Past events and webinars

Wisconsin Manufacturing Webinar

October 6, 2020 | Presented by Project Equity and The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP)

View the recording here > 

Worker Cooperatives Panel

September 16, 2020

A round table event about how worker cooperatives can provide a viable alternative for baby boomers approaching retirement, especially for struggling businesses impacted by COVID-19. Learn more about how federal, state and local representatives can help make these solutions a reality.

  • Representative Ro Khanna
  • Assemblymember Ash Kalra
  • Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor
  • Zen Trenholm, Democracy at Work Institute
  • Hilary Abell, Project Equity
  • Kirk Vartan, Worker-owner, A Slice of New York

Webinar: Rebuilding with resiliency and equity through Employee Ownership

August 20, 2020

In this webinar, Project Equity and other leaders in the national movement talked about how we harness employee ownership to address income and wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap. We discussed the ample evidence of the job quality and local business retention benefits of employee ownership and how the movement is growing around the country.

View recording here >

Employee Ownership 101 

Webinar recorded on August 18, 2020

Hosted by San Diego Workforce Partnership, Presented by The Beyster Institute and Project Equity. This webinar explains the case for Employee Ownership, what ESOP’s are and what COOP’s are, with additional links to learn more.

Reenvisioning Retail: The Future of Retail

Webinar recorded on July 24, 2020

Hosted by Lives Empowered. Speakers: Yustina Saleh, EMSI; Janine Williams, Impulsify; Alison Lingane, Project Equity; Jason Wiener, Main Street Phoenix

Even before the pandemic retail was changing. COVID-19 and subsequent stay at home orders have imposed new and increasingly complex challenges for the industry, creating a need to reenvision how the industry operates to ensure health, safety, and relevance in the age of disruption. This discussion will review projections on the future of retail and examine innovations for how the industry might reenvision itself.

View the recording here > 

Santa Cruz Small Business Cash Flow & Succession Presentation

Hosted by Santa Cruz Community Ventures / July 21, 2020

Webinar: Employee ownership – A business succession strategy in challenging times

June 9, 2020

Project Equity invites business owners to a webinar to discuss challenges with business succession in today’s environment, and to learn how employee buyouts can be a succession or exit strategy that provides fair market value, tax advantages, legacy retention, and strengthens local economies.

View the recording here > 

Webinar: Increasing Equity in a Post-Pandemic Economy: The Potential for Growing Worker Ownership

May 19, 2020

Alison Lingane, co-founder of Project Equity, was a presenter in The Aspen Institute’s Job Quality in Practice webinar series.


San Francisco Business Transition & Employee Ownership Forum

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Berkeley Business Retention Information Session

Berkeley, CA
September 30, 2019


Sell your business to your employees: A deeper dive

Eureka, CA
September 23, 2019


Accelerate Employee Ownership Launch Event

Long Beach, CA
September 5, 2019

Launch event for Accelerate Employee Ownership, a collaborative initiative of Project Equity and Shared Capital Cooperative to expand employee ownership and create and sustain high-quality jobs in local communities. For more information, read the official press release here.

Presented by:
Alison Lingane and Hilary Abell, Co-Founders, Project Equity
Christina Jennings, Executive Director, Shared Capital Cooperative.

Guest speakers:
Noah Bernstein, New World Foundation
Marietta Nunez, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco
Carolyn Berke, Niles Pie Company
Ren Boguiren, A Slice of New York
Evan Edwards, Project Equity
John Keisler
, City of Long Beach Economic Development Department
Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, LA LISC
James Alva, Citi Community Development

America’s SBDC Annual Conference

Long Beach, CA
September 3-6, 2019

Converting Your Business To Employee Ownership

Co-founder of Project Equity Alison Lingane and North Coast SBDC Director Leila Roberts shared their approach to building capacity for employee ownership.


How can you increase your employee engagement, retain valuable team members, and structure an exit plan for yourself that cements the legacy of your business?

This event explored:

  • Different approaches (partial, phased or complete employee ownership) and how they can be leveraged for the success of your business and your investment
  • Different models (Employee Stock Ownership Plans, worker-owned cooperatives, Employee Ownership Trusts)
  • Tax benefits

Donna Sky, Moderator, Project Equity
Kevin McCracken, Co-Founder & Business Development, Social Imprints
Carolyn G. Berke, Founder, Niles Pie Company

SBA Summer Small Business Supporter Meeting

San Francisco SBA, San Francisco, CA
August 20, 2019

Moderator: Donna Sky

Webinar: Attract and Retain the Best Talent with Employee Ownership

June 26, 2019


– Attract and retain top talent by providing ownership opportunities
– Exit financially and ensure continued impact in your community
– Preserve and grow good jobs and great businesses

view the recording here >

Webinar: Sell Your Business with Employee Ownership June 18, 2019 – Sell your company to your employees
– Exit financially and ensure continued impact in your community
– Preserve jobs and provide new ownership opportunities for employees view the recording here >

Event: Berkeley Business Success Forum Berkeley, CA
June 13, 2019

San Francisco Small Business Week: Keeping the Business Going – Transition Your Business to the Next Generation Through Employee Ownership San Francisco, CA
May 9, 2019

BALLE Shift Capital Summit Pacific Grove, CA
Nov. 14-16

Investors Circle – Social Venture Network Bridging Profit and Purpose
Brooklyn, NY
Nov. 1-4 Hilary Abell will be offering 1-on-1 Advising Sessions and hosting a breakfast roundtable on employee ownership.

Co-op IMPACT Conference Washington, D.C.
Oct. 3-5

The Co-op Impact Conference brings together leaders from all kinds of cooperatives (worker, consumer, producer, housing, credit unions etc.). Hilary Abell, PE Co-founder, represented our role in the Workers to Owners collaborative on a panel discussion.

Urban Manufacturing Alliance 2018 Gathering Pittsburgh, PA
Sept. 26-28

Patty Viáfara, Project Equity’s Client Services Manager, highlights our work with cities to help them identify and mitigate the potential loss of manufacturing business.

B-Corp Champions Retreat New Orleans, LA
Sept. 25-27


“The Benefits of Being an Employee-Owned B Corp”
Moderated by Donna Sky, Project Equity’s Business Development Manager
Blake Jones from Namaste Solar
Corey Kohn from DOJO4
Bob Kingery, owner of Southern Energy Management



2018 Exit Planning Summit Nashville, TN
Sept. 24-26

Alison Lingane presents a break out session that focused on busting the myths about employee ownership, and features examples where it is a preferred exit strategy.

Participatory Management: Your Key to Business Success

Date: Tuesday July 31, 2018
Time: 11AM Pacific / 2PM Eastern
Host: Hilary Abell, Co-founder, Project Equity

Do you love your company and want to keep it strong? Now is the time for these important questions:

  • How can we engage employees in creating an even better company?
  • How does participatory management bring out the best in everybody?
  • Why do so many people hate their bosses? How can managers and supervisors stop generating resentment and start providing the right balance of freedom, accountability, and support?
  • Could we be a better business if employees took ownership, either mentally or literally?

Join Project Equity and leaders from prominent employee-owned companies to learn practical ways that participatory management builds powerful employee engagement.

    • Denise Hernández, Vice President of Operations at Cooperative Home Care Associates, will share how CHCA uses the Coaching Approach to support, improve and enhance communication skills and relationships throughout its 2300 person workforce.
    • Blake Jones, Co-founder of Namaste Solar, will discuss the “Big Picture Meetings” and participatory decision-making at this employee-owned cooperative with 175 people and offices in three states.
    • Linshuang Lu, Principal at Praxis Consulting Groupwill explain how to integrate and align your leadership and management practices with creating an ownership culture.
    • Hilary Abell, Co-founder of Project Equity, will introduce our latest publication, Participatory Management: an overview and case study of high-involvement cultures at work, and the tools and challenges in implementing participatory management.

The recording of this webinar can be found here on our website.

Employee Ownership Succession: The “Best Kept Secret” Exit Strategy

Date: Tuesday July 31, 2018
Time: 9AM Pacific / 12PM Eastern
Host: The Exit Planning Institute

Featuring Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity

In this webinar, we will provide an overview of why selling to employees is a viable exit strategy for your clients. We will look at the myths around EO and how to dispel them. We will also explain how Project Equity provides technical assistance and training to make this model work for your clients and their employees. 

Everyone In: Economic Equity Summit

Job Creation and Entrepreneurship in the Community-Based Food Industry
Dates: May 17, Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA
Time: 8:30am – 4:00pm
Host: The City of Long Beach

California Community Economic Development Association

Job Creation and Entrepreneurship in the Community-Based Food Industry
Dates: April 23, Los Angeles, CA & April 25, Oakland, CA
Time: 2:15pm
Host: The California Endowment Panel: Transitioning Locally Owned Businesses to Employee Ownership: A Place Based Strategy

Building Assets Conference: The Future without Poverty Includes Building Assets Today 

Date: April 2, 2018
Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Host: The California Endowment

Panel: Reformulating the Rules of Building Assets, 11am

  • Hilary Abell, Cofounder, Project Equity
  • John Haines, Executive Director, Community Investment Trust, Mercy Corps
  • Maria Pascual, Executive Director, Prospera
  • Steve Hall, Vice President, Small Business Lending, LISC New Markets Support Company

The Silver Tsunami and Employee Ownership

Date: January 23, 2018
Time: 8am – 9:30am
Host: ASSETS, Lancaster, PA

Hilary Abell, co-founder of Project Equity, will explore the “silver tsunami” in Central PA and present the opportunity to keep these businesses locally-owned for the long term by transitioning to broad-based employee ownership.

Social Venture Network 2017 Conference

The Critical Importance of Employee Equity

Date: Saturday December 9, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Pacific

Moderated by Jessica King, ASSETS
Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity Mal Warwick, Mal Warwick Donordigital Jerry Gorde, Vatex America Charlie Crystle, The Lancaster Food Co.

BALLE Leadership Summit

Equity in Rural Economies Tour // Pathways to Farm Business and Land Ownership

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM, Pacific

Hilary Abell, Co-founder of Project Equity co-leads a tour with our feet grounded on the land and our lungs filled with fresh air. We’ll consider:

  • What does an inclusive and equitable food system look like and how is it being built?
  • Who are the players in a local economy ecosystem that is growing low-resource farms into economically viable business that can also steward the land?
  • How can Baby Boomers and visionary entrepreneurs implement cooperative and member-owned models in their succession planning to keep their local economies strong?
  • How can lenders, nonprofits, and foundations leverage a variety of financial tools to shift capital to immigrants and farmers & workers of color to support their vital contributions to our food systems?

2017 Assets Matter Annual Symposium

From Self-Employed to Worker-Owned: Discussing the Implications of New Era Workforce on Asset Building
Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Location: Preservation Park, Oakland, CA
The purpose of the 2017 Assets Matter Symposium is to generate new ideas and highlight innovative strategies across a range of topics (products, services, issue areas, policies, populations served) in the asset building and financial empowerment fields in California. CABC and BA AFN will feature the innovative work of nonprofits, government agencies, and private sector organizations at the Symposium.
Panelists from: California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity, Sustainable Economies Law Center and Project Equity

Voice America: Envision 

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Time: 2pm Pacific

Join Rani Langer-Croager as she interviews Hilary Abell and Alison Lingane, the co-founders of Project Equity, a nonprofit that supports businesses in their transition to worker-owned models. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. But as baby boomers retire, our local business landscape is poised to go through a dramatic shift. We will discuss how Project Equity keeps businesses local by helping them convert to employee ownership and how employee ownership builds community wealth. The purpose of this show is to accelerate the shift towards building an inclusive, just future by connecting people and ideas. Be inspired to become the change agent for your community. Our guests describe some of what’s happening across the country and around the world to improve community resilience and build a regenerative community. Envision is broadcast live every Tuesday at 2 PM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel. Listen here >>

SOCAP 2017

The Purpose of Capital: Past Perspectives, Present Possibilities

Date: October 11, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM-6:30 PM, Pacific

Even within impact investing, there are diverse perspectives on the purpose of capital, depending upon heritage, traditions, and worldview. Hear from four leaders in the field regarding their journey and understanding of this question, including an attorney specializing in Sharia law, a specialist in worker-owned cooperatives, and a long-time equity activist. This interactive session will share perspectives among participants of how they came to their understanding of the purpose of capital Presenters: Jed Emerson, Founder/Strategic Advisor, Blended Value Group Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity Umar Moghul, Partne, Roberts Moghul & Partners LLP Morgan Simon, Managing Director, Candide Group

The Economic Underpinnings Of The Future Of Social Innovation

Date: Monday, October 9, 2017
Time: 3:30pm Pacific

What is the future of social innovation? With a particular focus on power, economic progress and social justice alongside the role of markets in fueling these movements, this dialogue will highlight forward looking perspectives on opportunities to bring together seemingly disparate resources that can be reconfigured into “shared value.” Join our Fellows for this conversation on blended capital, impact investing, and more broadly, the future of this space.

Donnel Baird, 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, is the founder of BlocPower, a startup that markets, finances and installs solar and energy efficiency technology to help houses of worship, non-profits, small businesses and multifamily projects to slash their energy costs.
Daniel Tellalian, 1998 Echoing Green Fellow, is managing partner of Avivar Capital, a US-based SEC-registered impact investment advisory firm headquartered in Los Angeles. He is an economic development expert with two decades of experience in the financial services and food retailing sectors, focusing on investments in low-income communities.
Hilary Abell, 2014 Echoing Green Fellow and co-founder of Project Equity, builds economic resiliency in low-income communities by increasing worker ownership. She has worked in nonprofits and cooperatives for more than twenty years, advancing co-op development, fair trade, and community empowerment.

Cathy Clark has been an active pioneer, researchers, educator and consultant for over 25 years in the fields of impact investing and social entrepreneurship. She serves as Faculty Director at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where she founded and directs the CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing and is lead author of CASE Smart Impact Capital, a new online toolkit to help impact entrepreneurs raise impact investment capital that aligns with their needs.

NCBA Cooperative Impact Conference

Purchasing Track: Master Class Workshop #3 – Member Engagement Strategies

Date: October 4, 2017
Table Discussions
Succession Planning for Co-ops and Members.
With the Baby Boomers moving toward a collective Silver Tsunami, 70 percent of independent businesses are looking at some form of turnover in leadership in the coming years. Use this session to discuss the varying challenges your co-op and members have experienced while exploring the different ownership transition strategies your members might consider. Selling to family, to other members and even converting to a worker co-op are all fair game.
Gary Pittsford, President and CEO, Castle Wealth Advisors
Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity

Webinar: Worker Transitions vs. Roll-ups

Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017
Time: 10-11am Pacific / 1-2pm Eastern

This webinar will help business owners compare selling a business to the employees versus selling via a private equity roll-up. In this webinar, attendees will:

  • Learn the mechanics of employee-owner transition
  • Examine best practices for setting your employees up for success
  • Explore case studies of why the roll-up route is not good for the employees or long-term success of the community
  • Understand the context and perspective of purchasing cooperative member businesses
  • Have an opportunity for extensive Q&A

Presented by Castle Wealth Advisors and Project Equity, and joined by the CEO of BLUE HAWK Purchasing Cooperative, Lance Rantala. Visit our toolkit designed specifically for purchasing cooperatives and view the webinar slides >>

Here Today But Planning for Tomorrow: The Next Gen and Your Business

Date: Friday, May 19, 2017
Time: 8:30 – 10:00 AM
Location: San Francisco SBA, 455 Market Street, San Francisco, CA

This workshop focuses on how to plan ahead for a smooth transition of the family business and assets to the next generation. Panelists will discuss how business owners can engage into fruitful conversations with their children about their future, awaken their interest in joining the family business, and address the legal and financial implications of estate planning, as well as their options in terms of next-generation leadership (appoint a family member to take over, sell to a team or coop of current workers, or sell to an outsider). Participants will be invited to reflect on their personal and business goals, their options and challenges to transition the business to next-gen leaders, and to draw a timeline and preliminary checklist of issues to address.

Worker-Owned Food Enterprises: Keep Your Money TRULY Local!

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017
Time: 6-9:30pm
Port Kitchens, 344 20th Street, Oakland, CA

Join Slow Food East Bay and the folks at Port Kitchens for an evening on the roof deck celebrating worker-owned collectives – eating, drinking, a film screening, speakers and more! Learn how and why supporting co-ops in our food spending makes for a more sustainable system.

2017 California Co-op Conference

Date: April 28, 2017

How Investment Capital can Help Unlock Scale in Worker Cooperative Expansions and Conversions
Speakers: Christina Jennings, Alison Lingane and Annie McShiras Project Equity aims to help the field understand how to unlock barriers to equity financing to bridge the gaps between worker cooperative pipeline development and access to equity capital.

Local and State Policy Strategies to Scale Up the Worker Cooperative Sector (MCLE)
Panelists: Sara Stephens, Yassi Eskandari and Alison Lingane This workshop will explore existing and potential policy strategies that can support worker cooperatives in California. It will also discuss, as a case study, the ordinance campaign in Oakland.

Legacy Business Planning

Date: Monday, May 1, 2017
Time: 3-4:30pm
Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 1, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA

Having firm roots in Oakland helps Oakland’s businesses thrive—especially for legacy businesses that have served our city for 15, 20 years, or even much longer! Buying your building will deepen your Oakland roots and will provide security with your retirement. Many business owners don’t realize that owning their building is possible – but with 504 financing, it is. The 504 loan program allows you to purchase a building with only 10% down and below market, long-term FIXED rates. In a climate of rising rent and interest rates, it is more important than ever to stabilize your occupancy costs and provide a permanent home for your business. For business owners nearing retirement, or just looking to understand their exit options, smart succession planning can help ensure the company stays locally-owned. For some companies, transitioning to employee ownership is a great option that keeps the business rooted here for the long-term. Join two Oakland-based organizations (Project Equity and TMC Financing) to learn about succession options and affordable financing that can help you plan your Oakland business’ legacy.

Webinar: Impact Investing in Worker Cooperatives, How to get involved

Recorded April 26, 2017

Worker cooperatives are a highly underrepresented business model that have tremendous positive impacts for employees, businesses and communities. This webinar is targeted for impact investors and others who want to better understand investment options for targeting impact capital to worker coops. We will provide background about worker cooperatives and the opportunity in worker coop conversions, review worker coop investment structures, and delve into investment options ranging from direct investing, loan and equity fund investing and investment crowdfunding.

  • Blake Jones, Co-founder, Namaste Solar
  • Christina Jennings, Executive Director, Shared Capital
  • Matt Glatting, Treasurer, Capital Impact Partners
  • Annie McShiras, Investment Associate, Self-Help Federal Credit Union
  • Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity

View recorded webinar >

Webinar: Succession Planning: How to Engage Purchasing Coop Members in Their Future

(Part 1 of a 3-part series) Recorded March 28, 2017 Over the next decade, Purchasing Cooperatives will collectively face a unique challenge in how they manage the retirement of their numerous Baby Boomer member-owners.  This “Silver Tsunami” will re-shape the future of the Purchasing Co-op sector as these local, family-run businesses contemplate selling their business, passing it down to family members or simply shutting their doors. As such, succession planning has never been more top of mind for chief executives at Purchasing Co-ops as they search for available options and ways to engage and educate their members on those options.  NCBA CLUSA has brought together Castle Wealth Advisors, long-standing experts on succession planning options for members of Purchasing Co-ops, and Project Equity, experts in worker-ownership transitions, to present a 3-Part series for leaders of Purchasing Co-ops AND their members to highlight these options. This first webinar catered to Purchasing Co-op executives.

Key takeaways include:

  • The business case for investing in succession planning education
  • Succession planning options and comparisons
  • Talking points and strategies to educate members about succession planning

Part 2 and Part 3 will be focused on the specific options available and are targeted to member-owners. Registration information will be available shortly for the follow-up sessions. View recorded webinar and visit our page just for purchasing coops >>

San Francisco Bay Area Legacy Business Initiative Convening

Date: February 28, 2017
Location: Oakland, CA

Project Equity is co-sponsoring this invitation-only event convened by Citi Community Development, the Democracy at Work Institute, and the National Urban League (additional co-sponsors are the Sustainable Economies Law Center and the ICA Group). This conversation about legacy business retention, with a focus on minority ownership and shared ownership forms, aims to move the needle on an exciting trend in business succession planning and sustainable economic development: converting businesses to employee ownership. Many small businesses – even successful legacy businesses two decades old or more – do not have a succession plan. Thousands of local businesses are at risk of closing as owners near retirement age. This potential closure crisis comes at a time when small business plays a vital role in maintaining the character and affordability of our neighborhoods. The “silver tsunami” of retiring business owners represents a real opportunity to broaden and anchor small business ownership by using shared entrepreneurship strategies to retain legacy businesses. This Initiative convenes business owners, business advisors, and economic development professionals to promote minority business ownership, with particular interest in African American-owned and operated businesses and on businesses that employ people of color, who can become co-owners through employee ownership transitions.

Achieving Community Empowerment through Place-Based Impact Investing in New Mexico

Date: Thursday, January 26, 2017, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm (Panel 1:15 – 1:45 pm )
Location: UNM Continuing Education Conference Center, Auditorium, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM

This full-day summit, for foundations, financial institutions, investment managers, philanthropists, and public officials, is focused on the role that place-based impact investing plays in empowering New Mexico communities and for enhancing grant making strategies across various issue areas. We can use our collective wealth to leverage opportunities for promoting community health and well- being and maximize resources within and across New Mexico. Participants will learn how various parts of the state’s ecosystem are coming together to create new opportunities on how to better leverage capital and engage their community in collective development.

Examples of National Placed Based Impact Investing Initiatives and Models

  • Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives: Good Jobs and Community Wealth Building (Alison Lingane, Project Equity)
  • Best for Program (Hardik Savalia, B Lab)
  • Guarantees to Lower Risk (Eric Summerford Pearson, El Paso Community Foundation)

Webinar: Succession Planning for Purchasing Coops and their Members

Employee ownership: Keeping businesses independent when family can’t take over

Recorded December 6, 2016 Succession planning is an urgent need among an increasing number of businesses, especially as baby boomers near retirement age. Because purchasing cooperatives are an important part of helping their independent business members stay independent, competitive and rooted in their communities, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) has partnered with Project Equity to better understand the succession challenges of purchasing cooperative member companies, and to assess how employee ownership transitions can help keep these companies independent over the long term.

Moderator: Bryan Munson, NCBA
Presenters: Stephen K. Irvin, President & CEO, Amicus Solar Cooperative
Jack Bailey, President & Chief Executive Officer, Independent Distributors Cooperative-USA
Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity

View slideshow and visit our page just for purchasing coops >>

Opportunity Finance Network

Cooperative Conversions: The Small Business Lending Opportunity of a Generation

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, 2:30 pm – 3:45pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Micha Josephy, Cooperative Fund of New England
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Melissa Hoover, Democracy at Work Institute

Living the Next Economy Convergence 2016

Cooperatives: Business Models for the Next Economy

Date: Friday Oct. 21, 2016, 3:15 pm – 4:45 pm Breakout Session #3
Location: Oakstop, 1721 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

In honor of National Cooperative Month, we want to show off how cooperative business models promote shared ownership, wealth creation and community resiliency. This panel will discuss:

  • How cooperative businesses can be organized, governed and share wealth
  • Local and national resources for starting and developing a thriving cooperative business
  • Examples of how cooperatives are serving their communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond

Track: Beyond Business As Usual Moderator: Sushil Jacobin, Tuttle Law Group Panelists: Rani Croager, Uptima Business Bootcamp Josh Danielson, Loconomics Hank Herrera, New Hope Farms Alison Lingane, Project Equity

The Growing Potential of Employee Ownership Models

Date: Tuesday Oct. 5, 2016, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: Plum Organics, 1485 Park Ave., Emeryville, CA

Engage with entrepreneurs choosing to structure their businesses as an employee-owned model via a Cooperative or an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Gain insight into the benefits and challenges from current employee-owners. Grasp the power these models have to transform our approach to localism and employee engagement.

Panelists: Alison Lingane, Project Equity 
Ramona Rodriguez-Brooks, National Center for Employee Ownership
Shannon Adkins, Future State
Ryan Honeyman, Lift Economy
This event was in partnership with Cultivating CapitalBay Area B-Corps and sponsored by Plum Organics

The Power of Cooperative Ownership

Date: Tuesday Oct. 4, 2016, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Lobby of Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union, 2001 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, CA
Attendees will enjoy a powerful learning experience and gain insight into the high-level process of converting a business to the cooperative model and meet a business owner who is making the transition. This event will appeal to existing business owners and employees that wish to examine a transition as well as those that may be thinking of starting or expanding a business and have interest in strengthening their model.
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Co-founder, Project Equity 
Kirk Vartan, Co-owner, A Slice of New York
Maria Williford, Worker-Owner, Dig Coop & Mariposa Gardening

Webinar: Creative Sources of Capital for your Cooperative

Recorded September 28, 2016

Join us as we discuss 3 ways to raise community investments for your worker-owned coop with Cutting Edge Capital. We will cover a new approach that is now available due to the eagerly awaited Jobs Act, as well as Direct Public Offerings (DPOs), and–specific to California–how CA coop corporations can raise up to $1,000 per investor by selling memberships to residents of CA. You’ll walk away with an understanding of the key differences between the approaches, high level requirements, and pros and cons. Plus of course, examples and success stories, and Q&A.

Presenters: Kim Arnone, Cutting Edge Capital
Sarah Kaplan, Cutting Edge Counsel
Alison Lingane, Project Equity View recorded webinar

Neighborhood Economics and SOCAP 2016

Date: Tuesday, September 13 & Friday, September 16, 2016
Location: Fort Mason Center and Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco, CA
Building Businesses for Local Economies That Work for All
Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity Tomas Duran, Concerned Capital Michelle Long, BALLE Donovan Woollard, Radius Ventures
What Does Equity Look Like?
Moderated by: Penelope Douglas
Presenters: Deborah Cullinan, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts David Erickson, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Alison Lingane, Project Equity Jeremy Sookhoo, Calvert Funds Vinitha Watson, ZooLabs

Art and Science of Cooperative Development: Building the Ecosystem

Date: June 30, 2016, 9:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Hilary Abell discusses how to build a successful cooperative development ecosystem that meets community needs. How to engage ecosystem actors, initiate cooperative development projects and gather community support.
Presenter: Hilary Abell, Co-founder, Project Equity

Retire Well: Making Retirement Security a Reality for Small Business

Date: June 23, 2016, 5:45 PM – 7:00 PM,
Location: Community Bank of the Bay – 180 Grand Avenue 15th Floor, Suite 1550, Oakland, CA
Are you considering establishing a retirement savings plan for yourself and your workers? Do you need help navigating through the retirement plans available on the market? Are you interested in learning about the benefits of a employee ownership as an exit strategy for your business?Project Equity, Small Business Majority and Community Bank of the Bay teamed up for this interactive workshop on how to make retirement security a reality for small businesses. We will help you navigate the retirement landscape, sort through options and include new and innovative approaches to secure your future.
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Project Equity Rhea Aguinaldo, Small Business Majority
Winter Williams, Community Bank of the Bay

California Co-op Conference

Date: April 29, 2016
Location: Sacramento, CA
Workshop: Transitioning your Business to a Worker Co-op This workshop presents the process of transitioning your business to a worker co-op by sharing the story of one solar company’s journey. California Solar Electric (CSE), a Grass Valley solar company, is in the process of transitioning its business to a worker-owned cooperative as a member of Project Equity’s Cooperative Business Incubator. While focusing on CSE, alternatives and specific legal elements were discussed.
Presenters: Lars Ortegren, California Solar Electric
Sushil Jacob, Tuttle Law Group
Alison Lingane, Project Equity

Workers to Owners Seminar

Date: April 11, 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Workshop: An Introduction to Why and How Companies Convert to Worker Ownership
Presenters: Rob Brown, Cooperative Development Institute
Sushil Jacob, Tuttle Law Group
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Working Group: Preparing for Scale: Building an Ecosystem of Support and Feeding the Pipeline of Deals
Presenters: Melissa Hoover, Democracy at Work Institute
Alison Lingane, Project Equity

Webinar: The Lending Opportunity of a Generation, Investing in Businesses Converting to Worker Ownership

Recorded March, 2016 Learn about the $10 trillion lending market that will be created by the ownership changeover of private enterprises as baby boomer business owners retire. The opportunity for lenders and other capital providers to participate in these sales transactions is expected to grow significantly over the next 5-20 years to encompass hundreds of thousands of small and mid-market businesses. This is also an opportunity to create worker-owned business that strengthen our local economies and communities. Business owners can sell to their employees when they retire, creating new worker cooperatives with deep local roots.

Presenters: Dorian Gregory, Cooperative Fund of New England
Camille Kerr, Democracy at Work Institute
Alison Lingane, Project Equity

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Center for Socially Responsible Business Conference: Building Vibrant Cities through Community Capital

Date: March 11, 2016
Location: Oakland, CA
Panel: Funding the Unemployment Gap to Create Good, Sustainable Jobs In this panel, you will be introduced to strategic thinkers who are creating new opportunities through community capital for our most vulnerable workers. You will learn about solutions that remove the disconnect between traditional lenders and borrowers; programs empowering young people through entrepreneurship and education; the impact of legislative changes to raising the minimum wage; and community members who are becoming owners and agents of capital themselves, and are using it to serve their immediate needs.
Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Sean Daniel Murphy, ICA Fund Good Jobs
Alejandro Castelan, Juma Ventures
Annie Campbell Washington, City of Oakland

Webinar: The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem: Inclusive Economic Development in Action

Recorded January, 2016 The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem report, part of the “Building the Inclusive Economy Series,” an initiative of Citi Community Development, highlights cutting-edge economic development models for city leaders and community development practitioners interested in embedding equity, community wealth and sustainability into their local growth plans. The webinar introduces the report and is tailored to economic development practitioners, lenders, investors, funders, cooperative developers, technical assistance providers and organizers.

Presenters: Melissa Hoover, Democracy At Work Institute
Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Cy Richardson, National Urban League
Joyce Pisnanont, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

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NCBA Cooperative Professionals Conference

Date: November 10, 2015
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Workshop: Conversions Advanced workshop on conversion, conversion trends and conversion tax issues for business entities converting to cooperatives. The panel also addressed common conversation trends and tax issues.
Presenters: Camille Kerr, Democracy at Work Institute
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Jason Wiener, Jason Wiener PC

Webinar: Why Worker Coop Conversions and Ownership Make Sense Now

Recorded October, 2015 In this webinar, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank, we review the main features and benefits of worker owned cooperatives, talk about why worker ownership is an important community economic development strategy, and introduce strategies for how traditional businesses can convert to coops. An important approach for worker coop conversion is supporting retiring business owners to sell the business to their employees. The pending ‘silver tsunami’ of retiring baby boomers makes this issue not only important, but very timely.  Most businesses do not have succession plans which portends the tremendous risk of losing large numbers of these businesses altogether, or having them sold to out-of-state buyers or private equity firms that often relocate jobs or the entire business.

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SOCAP 2015

Date: October 9, 2015
Location: San Francisco, CA
Workshop: Redefining Scale: Depth vs. Breadth
When scale is re-defined as depth of impact, how does this affect how we need to organize ourselves, measure ourselves, and fund the work? We heard from three initiatives that are going deep in their communities in different ways: a neighborhood-based youth organization, a city-wide organization supporting high-performing social change efforts, and a national organization that focuses on strengthening local businesses. These stories challenge assumptions about scale and reframe sustainable impact.
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Fagan Harris, BaltimoreCorps
Olis Simmons, Youth Uprising
Leslie Lindo, BALLE

2015 Western Worker Coop Conference

Date: September 21 & 22
Location: Berkeley, CA
In this workshop we presented a new Cooperative Growth Ecosystem framework to help participants analyze and mobilize the pieces of a thriving local ecosystem to grow worker cooperatives. We heard stories from two regions describing their work- everything from finding partners and starting an advocacy campaign, to building skills and capacity, to setting shared goals and ways to measure collective impact. We took an in-depth look at the San Francisco Bay Area, where three organization collaborated to create a Bay Area Blueprint for Increasing Worker Ownership, which looked at multiple pathways to scale, including: supporting small worker coops through a new Worker Coop Academy, developing startup coops designed for growth, and converting conventionally-owned businesses into worker coops.
Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Ricardo Nuñez, Sustainable Economies Law Center
Melissa Hoover, Democracy at Work Institute
We discussed the many aspects of transitioning from a ‘typical’ business structure to a worker cooperative, including motivating factors for owners and/or workers, and factors that promote success. This workshop elaborated on factors that contribute to  successful transition, including readiness factors and the key preparation steps a business should take when considering a transition. All content is based on a dozen case studies of businesses that have transitioned from a ‘typical’ business structure to a worker cooperative, through conversations with business owners, workers, and organizations that support businesses to ‘convert’.
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Andrea Hurd, Mariposa Gardening & Design

A Gathering of Leaders

Date: September 15
Location: New Orleans, LA
What does it look like when we define scale as “going deep” within a specific community, measuring by depth of impact instead of by number of people reached or number of communities served? We heard from three place-based initiatives that are going deep in their communities in different ways: a city-wide organization supporting high-performing social change efforts in Baltimore, a group working to transform the experiences of kids prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system in Philadelphia, and an Oakland-based organization strengthening local economies through worker ownership. When scale is re-defined as depth of impact, how does this affect how we organize ourselves, fund the work, and measure our progress?
Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Joanna Visser Adjoian, Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project
Fagan Harris, BaltimoreCorps

America’s Small Business Development Centers Conference

Date: September 7
Location: San Francisco, CA
Workshop: Business Succession & Employee Ownership
This workshop presents a broad overview of the key elements for effective succession planning with a focus on utilizing employee-owned coops for business transfer resulting in employee governance, community job retention and sheltered wealth preservation for the business owner. The session covered the economic development advantages of coops and included several case studies of transitions to employee-owned models.
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Kristin York, Sierra Business Council

Locally Inspired: Learn How A Coop Business Model Could Work For You!

Date: Tuesday, August 25th
Location: 1350 7th St, Oakland (across from West Oakland BART)
Time: 6pm – 8:30pm
Project Equity has been invited to co-host a Locally Inspired event with Sustainable Business Alliance. SBA coordinates these monthly conversations with local business owners and community residents to share stories, educate and create connections within the community. We’re excited to share some of the amazing stories that have come out of the 2014 Worker Coop Academy and elsewhere.

Webinar: Succession Planning: Opportunities and Benefits of Employee Ownership

Recorded August, 2015

Are you a business owner thinking about succession planning? Or are you wanting to support locally-owned businesses to stay in their communities? Project Equity and the National Center for Employee Ownership share essential information on important succession planning options available to business owners through employee ownership. We review the main features of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and worker-owned cooperatives, and discuss the benefits and distinctions of each, including resources for how to learn more, and how to get support.

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Webinar: Scaling the Development of Worker-Owned Cooperatives

Recorded July, 2015 Get insight into how to scale the development of worker-owned co-ops: how to build the capacity for this model within your community, how to train those creating or converting to shared ownership, how to impact policy, and influence or harness other factors in your ecosystem.

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Eastern Conference on Workplace Democracy 

Date: July 11
Location: Worchester, MA
Worker co-op academies are popping up around the country (and beyond!) as a strategy for increasing worker ownership. Representatives of Project Equity and Green Worker Co-op shared their models for curriculum design, funding, and collaboration. Presenters discussed approaches for facilitating success from the ground up and and share how they’ve addressed some of the challenges to doing this work.
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Omar Freilla, Green Worker Cooperatives
Stephanie Guico, New York Worker Cooperative Coalition
Owners of conventional businesses are increasingly looking to employee ownership as a model for transitioning out of their businesses. How can worker co-op organizer and supporters position themselves to support this opportunity to scale up the movement? This two-hour session will be divided into three parts that respond to this question. In the first part, representatives of Cooperative Development Institute will overview conversions as a strategy and highlight their experience supporting development of the Island Employee Co-op in Maine.In part two, Alison Lingane of Project Equity will invite representatives of businesses that have successfully transitioned to share their experiences. She’ll highlight various factors that owners should take into account in preparing for transition. In part three, representatives of the Democracy at Work Institute will share some of the tools and techniques that they’ve developed for supporting conversions, from legal documents to financing mechanisms to governance models. Additional representatives of various conversion projects will share stories of their perspectives of the conversion process.
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Camille Kerr, Democracy at Work Institute
Rob Brown, Cooperative Development Institute
Naomi Giszpenc, Cooperative Development Institute

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) 2015

Date: June 10-12
Location: Phoneix, AZ
Workshop: Shared Ownership Parts A and B

In the recent economic crisis, employee-owned businesses and cooperatives have often proven more resilient than traditional businesses. Globally, an estimated 1 billion people are members of cooperatives and two years ago the United Nations declared it the International Year of Cooperatives, saying that co-ops could be the fastest-growing business model by the end of the decade.Part A featured businesses that have chosen employee ownership and financing – either as an ESOP or a worker cooperative, and the founder of Project Equity spoke about how worker ownership can create pathways to prosperity for low-income communities. Part B widened the lens to discuss what communities and cities can do to cultivate the commons and enable more ownership opportunities. Participants learned how land trusts and real estate cooperatives can be used to keep rents affordable for local businesses and prevent gentrification, and how a city can kick-start and incubate cooperatives.

Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Aaron Tanaka, Boston Impact Initiative
Armando Robles and Alex Linares, New Era Windows (worker coop)
Mandy Cabot, Dankso (ESOP)
Leslie Watson, Northeast Investment Cooperative
Andrew Delmonte, SBDC at SUNY Buffalo State
Ed Whitfield, Renaissance Community Coop
Pen Loh, Tufts University

2015 Cooperative Issues Forum: Replicating Success

Date: May 6
Location: Washington D.C.

This national event is held each year before the Cooperative Hall of Fame Gala at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. It brings together leaders of all cooperative sectors – agricultural coops, food coops, rural electric coops, credit unions, worker coops, housing coops and others – for a look at emerging issues in the coop movement. Project Equity co-founder Hilary Abell was honored to be a keynote speaker, along with Kevin Edburg of Cooperative Development Services, and to present her half-hour talk called “Worker Cooperatives: Learning from Success and Aiming for Scale”.

Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity
Dennis Johnson, Cooperative Housing Resources, LLC
Kevin Edberg, Cooperative Development Services

2015 California Coop Conference 

Date: May 1 & 2
Location: Sacramento, CA
Keynote Panel: Co-ops as a Vehicle for Economic Development: Connecting Collective History to the Current Moment
Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity Jessica Gordon Nembhard, John Jay College E. Kim Coontz, California Center for Cooperative Development Adrionna Fike, Mandela Foods Cooperative
Transforming Low-Wage Service Industries into Cooperatives: Economic and Social Challenges and Emerging Strategies
Presenters: Hilary Abell, Project Equity David Smathers-Moore, TeamWorks
Transitioning Your Existing Business to a Worker Cooperative: Case Studies and Readiness Factors
Presenters: Alison Lingane, Project Equity Andrea Hurd, Mariposa Gardening & Design
Blueprint for Increasing Worker Ownership in Low-Income Communities
Ricardo Nuñez, Sustainable Economies Law Center
Alison Lingane, Project Equity
Sushil Jacob, East Bay Community Law Center

Webinar: Converting Businesses to Worker Cooperatives

Recorded April, 2015

The Democracy Collaborative and Project Equity organized this webinar to present the findings of our Case Studies: Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives. We cover the motivations behind converting, readiness factors, steps to transition to a worker owned cooperative, and we hear from three businesses that have converted.

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Webinar: Blueprint For Increasing Worker Ownership In Low-Income Communities

Recorded March, 2015 Learn about the Bay Area Blueprint for creating pathways to ownership for low- and moderate-income workers: small businesses, fast-growing start-ups, and business conversions.

View recorded webinar


View our webinars

Wisconsin Manufacturing Webinar

recorded October 6, 2020

Rebuilding with resiliency and equity through Employee Ownership

recorded August 20, 2020

Employee Ownership 101

recorded on August 18, 2020

Reenvisioning Retail: The Future of Retail (Hosted by Lives Empowered)

recorded July 24, 2020

Employee ownership: A business succession strategy in challenging times

recorded June 9, 2020

Increasing Equity in a Post-Pandemic Economy: The Potential for Growing Worker Ownership (Hosted by The Aspen Institute)

recorded May 19, 2020

Employee ownership: How it works
recorded March 2020

Attract and retain the best talent with employee ownership
recorded June 26, 2019

Sell your business with employee ownership
recorded June 18, 2019

​Participatory Management
recorded July 2018

Worker Transitions vs. Roll-ups
recorded August 2017

Impact Investing in Worker Cooperatives, How to get involved
recorded April 2017

Succession Planning: How to Engage Purchasing Coop Members in Their Future
recorded March 2017

Succession Planning for Purchasing Coops and their Members 
recorded December 2016

Creative Sources of Capital for your Cooperative
recorded September 2016

The Lending Opportunity of a Generation: Investing in businesses converting to worker ownership
recorded March 2016

The Cooperative Growth Ecosystem
recorded January 2016

Why Worker Coop Conversions and Ownership Make Sense Now
recorded October 2015

Succession Planning, Opportunities and Benefits of Employee Ownership
recorded August 2015

Scaling the Development of Worker-Owned Cooperatives
recorded July 2015

Converting Businesses to Worker Cooperatives
recorded April 2015

Blueprint for Increasing Worker Ownership in Low Income Communities
recorded March 2015

Just released!

New studies in regions across the U.S., including Washington StateBerkeley and Long Beach, CA show millions of businesses at risk and point to employee ownership as a solution.

Free consultation

for businesses interested in employee ownership