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Works Progress Co-op FAQ

FAQ

  1. How does ownership work? 
  2. Do I have to volunteer hours if I’m an owner? 
  3. Are there different types of ownership? 
  4. Who is eligible for ownership? 
  5. I don’t want to be an owner, can I still use the coworking space? 
  6. I can’t afford to be an owner right now, can I buy a share later? 
  7. Can I be a board member? 
  8. What are the risks? 
  9. Is my investment refundable? 
  10. Where can I find more information about co-ops? 

 

1. How does ownership work?

Works Progress Co-op will be a consumer cooperative. Consumer cooperatives take different forms, but at Works Progress that means we’re owned and democratically controlled by customers and workers who have each purchased a share of the business.

One consumer share of Works Progress costs $500. Consumer and worker shares are an equity investment that will ensure the long-term sustainability of your coworking space, finance and improve operations, and minimize outside debt. Owners also support the co-op by working here, hosting events, and by participating in the co-op’s democratic processes, like voting in our elections or serving on our board. 

Your monthly membership fees – or the costs to use the workspace – are separate from your ownership share. Owners who are also members may in the future receive a discount on space-use fees, but likely not in the first year.

Any income related to your ownership of the coworking space, such as discounts or annual dividends, will be determined by the co-op board on an annual basis and will depend upon your use of the space, the past year’s financials, and projections for the upcoming year’s co-op expenses.

2. Do I have to volunteer hours if I’m an owner?

We do not anticipate a volunteer requirement.

However, owners can be as involved as they want to be. There will be plenty of opportunities for owners to pitch-in, including board positions, voting, committees, and contributing to the community.

3. Are there different types of ownership?

There will be more than one classification for ownership, however, no one owner, regardless of classification, will have more than one vote.

The different classes of ownership that we anticipate are:

  • Individuals
  • Organizations/Entities (one vote per entity, but each entity may have one primary and one back-up designee for voting purposes)

4. Who is eligible for ownership?

Anyone over 18 years old is eligible to become an owner of the Works Progress Co-op.

5. I don’t want to be an owner. Can I still use the coworking space?

Yes. Works Progress will continue to be a coworking space open to everyone.

6. I can’t afford to be an owner right now. Can I buy a share later?

Yes. We are recruiting our founding owners now, but we will continue to have consumer shares available to purchase.

7. Can I be a board member?

Anyone who meets all of the following criteria is eligible to be elected to the board:

  • Is an owner.
  • Is a current member of Works Progress at the time of board elections.
  • Has been a paying member at Works Progress for at least three (3) months prior to elections.
  • Must nominate self or be nominated by another owner.

8. What are the risks?

As with any investment, there is risk involved. There is no guarantee that your investment will be returned. The cooperative could fail at any time.

The Board of Directors retains the right to withhold equity refunds when necessary to protect the co-op’s financial viability. Also, equity will not be refunded to an owner that has outstanding debts to the co-op that exceeds or matches the amount of equity invested in the co-op.

If the cooperative fails, you might also lose your coworking space.

The Works Progress Co-op will maintain standard business liability and property insurance, as well as directors and officers insurance, for the protection of the coworking business, owners, and officers.

9. Is my investment refundable?

The equity that owners invest in the Co-op is refundable at any time, regardless of whether you have paid in full. However, the Board of Directors does retain the right to withhold equity refunds when necessary to protect the Co-op’s financial viability. Also, equity will not be refunded to an owner that has outstanding debts to the co-op that exceed or match the amount of equity invested by the owner in the co-op. As with any investment, there is risk involved.

10. Where can I find more information about co-ops?

The Northwest Cooperative Development Center: https://www.nwcdc.coop

Co-opLaw.org

 

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