An Introduction to Financing for Cooperatives, Social Enterprises, and Small Businesses
The pathway out of the “Great Recession” requires new business models, modified investment return expectations, and strong governmental policies to create and enhance a business friendly environment. There is, however, a growing recognition that the U.S. economy, while very effective at serving the economic interests of large corporations and businesses, is failing to alleviate poverty or enable wealth creation for the typical worker. Since business ownership is an effective means to generate wealth and create opportunity, elected officials, economic developers, foundations, social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and nonprofit organizations are focusing increasing attention on spreading this opportunity into low-income communities. Individual entrepreneurial talent and ambition are giving life to new business models and new mechanisms for financing start-up ventures. Also, we are seeing creative collaborations and partnerships that build bridges across groups of experts and segments of the population that were accustomed to separation. These new energies can facilitate wealth generation at the grassroots level to a degree not experienced in more than a generation. Now is the time for new experiments that bring together the best strategies in innovation, community commitment, and sustainability.