Our Mission: Founded in 2007, The Center for Community-Based Enterprise (C2BE) is a Detroit-based non-profit organization working to create living-wage jobs through worker-ownership in all its forms. We provide legal help, technical assistance, education and collaboration to individuals interested developing work-owned cooperatives and other community-based enterprises. C2BE provides these services with the ultimate goal of building a network of mutually supportive cooperatives or worker-owned companies in Detroit, especially among members of historically underserved communities and those seeking conversion to employee ownership.
C2BE defines community-based enterprises, or "CBEs," as sustainable, locally rooted businesses that provide community benefit (particularly equity ownership for workers and producers), pay living wages and share resources to help each other grow. Our definition of a CBE purposefully includes but is not limited to cooperatives.
We work to strengthen CBEs by connecting them to business know-how and legal services, including feasibility studies, business planning, marketing, succession planning, incorporation documents (i.e., articles and bylaws) and necessary contracts. In addition, C2BE provides training for members and/or employees who are new to their roles as owners to understand their companies’ finances, products, services and markets. C2BE also plans to launch a co-op shared-equity loan fund, in order to provide patient seed capital to finance start-up cooperatives and CBEs; watch for this in early 2018.
For retiring business owners Our team of legal and business experts can help with succession planning and manage the sale of businesses to employees, while ensuring that employee-owners have the skills needed for continued success.
For startup businesses C2BE provides business, legal and financial expertise, particularly among historically underserved communities in Detroit. Thanks to our funders we are often able to provide these services without fee or at a greatly reduced fee.
For forward-looking unions Worker ownership is an emerging union strategy that can increase membership, improve members’ wages and benefits, and anchor jobs within your jurisdictions. C2BE can help explore ways union resources can be leveraged to develop the next generation of good jobs.
Our Funders: We are currently funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Lowenstein Fellowship at Columbia Law School, the MLG Foundation and fee income. Past funders include: the Skillman Foundation, Fund for Democratic Communities, Innovation Network for Communities, Local Initiative Support Corporation, Maryland Labor Education Center, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, Brown-Saperstein Fund and individual donations.