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COVID-19 has forced employees and also forced organizations to rethink business processes that require access to the office or involve large amounts of paper. Governments have an opportunity to eliminate or rethink paper-based business processes to operate effectively under current social-distancing guides—and to save money and improve customer service when restrictions are no longer in place. This report identifies both do-it-yourself (DIY) and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software solutions to reduce paper using low or no cost, commonly available technologies.
This report details the city of Rochester’s (NY) project to coordinate and develop worker-owned cooperative businesses in their strategy for comprehensive wealth building. The project had six crucial functions, including engaging in strategic partnerships, ensuring the success of the workforce development mission, and overseeing the development of for-profit, majority employee-owned businesses, among other things. The policies used towards this project included partnerships with anchor institutions and community stakeholders, as well as supplying training and connecting employees to existing social support services. The ultimate goal was to create a community-owned, cooperative business development corporation, whose purpose is to build wealth in low-income neighborhoods in Rochester.
Cooperation Jackson emerged as an independent organization focused on developing a cooperative economy in the city of Jackson in 2014. As a network of cooperative enterprises, Cooperation Jackson works to reduce income and wealth gaps, generate living wage jobs with quality healthcare, and ensure the provision of adequate housing through the growth of worker cooperatives and other democratically owned enterprises. Cooperation Jackson is leading a comprehensive place-based development initiative, called the Sustainable Communities Initiative, centered on creating employee-owned cooperative enterprises in West Jackson that partner with and serve the supply chain or service needs of “anchor institution” employers in the city, such as large, place-based nonprofit and public institutions that are unlikely to move location because of their mission, invested capital, and customer relationships. This report details their pursual of a bottom-up approach of establishing worker-owned cooperatives and a cooperative economy in Jackson.
This report explores the existing landscape of employee ownership opportunities for impact investors and highlights emerging models and strategies for inclusive investment in Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and worker cooperatives. The benefits of employee ownership as a strategy for achieving broad-based prosperity are well documented, but the growing field of impact investing has yet to fully recognize the key opportunity employee ownership presents for tackling economic inequality. The report concludes with the idea that employee ownership could be integrated into a portfolio approach that would satisfy needs for return, risk, and impact, while also transitioning ownership of business from few hands to many.
Small, locally owned businesses are critical to creating thriving communities and an equitable U.S. economy. However, America’s small businesses are facing dire economic consequences, with many of them closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To address these circumstances, this report offers recommendations for community leaders to provide quick relief to keep businesses afloat, help businesses adapt, and fix systemic problems that the pandemic has laid bare.
Cities, counties, states, and community organizations have established more than 800 programs to provide financial assistance to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. As these programs provided by local and state governments run out of funds, this report argues that additional federal funding towards these programs is needed to keep small businesses afloat.
This report details how community leaders should help support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Firstly, they need to provide immediate relief to keep business afloat, such as helping small businesses apply for federal financial relief, creating local small business relief programs, and helping businesses negotiate with landlords to relieve rent pressure. Secondly, they must help businesses adapt and pivot to the new commercial landscape, by getting small, independently owned businesses online and helping them re-envision their business plans and strategies. Lastly, they should focus on fixing systemic problems that the pandemic has exposed, in order to level the playing field for small businesses in the years ahead.
Businesses in the real estate, financial services, and air travel industries have taken steps to limit third-party access to their data in ways that restrict competition, reduce market transparency, and harm consumers. In order to prevent this behavior, this report recommends that policymakers require the data holders in each of these industries to maintain open application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide access to the relevant information. APIs are software functions that allow developers and third-parties to access data. Ultimately, providing third parties with access to this information serves consumers by increasing market transparency and by allowing them to make more informed choices.