We support communities to define their visions and identify their needs, to plan and actualize their social and economic goals, to develop and execute viable business plans, and to facilitate the creation of collectively owned and co-operatively-run enterprises that build community power.
We achieve our goals through the training and support of local facilitators, the application of seed capital, and the integration of education and training with enterprise models that promote systemic change, maximize local leadership and decision-making, and generate holistic strategies for economic and social development.
We look for projects aiming to have the biggest impact on their communities and on the society as a whole. In order to identify and evaluate them, we follow three main principles:
Enterprises are collectively owned and democratically controlled by their members for their mutual benefit and that of the community.
Co-operative development projects are based on viable business plans and generate sustainable revenue.
Projects consciously contribute to the development of social capital and community benefit.
When CEF evaluates a project, different factors related to the three basic principles above are analyzed in order to determine whether the project and its community meet CEF’s mission and if our CED methodology can be applied.
Some of those factors are the following:
• They are based on broad community involvement and support in the development of the project.
• They utilize democratic forms of ownership and community control.
• They generate co-operative enterprises that are viable, sustainable, and produce a clear social benefit for the community.
• They incorporate holistic strategies that utilise projects to support the transition of local systems, institutions, and resources toward progressive systemic change.
• They demonstrate clear evidence of local leadership and commitment to ongoing stewardship and support of the project.
• They generate matching local capital for the start up and initial operation of the project. This capital may be in the form of finance capital, sweat equity, or contributed resources.
• They contribute to the work of CEF through CEF membership, participation in knowledge sharing, and the support of new co-operatives and commons locally.
• They incorporate co-operative and commons economic development education, knowledge transfer, and training for project leaders, participants, supporters, and facilitators.