Community Investment Co-op

My first job was sorting empty pop bottles. With the money I made I opened a savings account that paid interest. I discovered it was way more fun to earn interest on my bank account than it was sorting empty pop bottles. As I got older I was exposed to more opportunities. My first investment in the stock market was Barons Oil and fortunately, I made money on that investment. That was all it took to get me interested in investing for the rest of my life.

In January 2018 I received an email from the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce informing all the email recipients that on January 31, 2018, there would be Community Investment Sessions in Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie - I attended the Fernie session. The presenter, Eden Yesh, Invermere Branch Manager for Kootenay Employment Services, consultant to the Creston & District Community Investment Co-op and Chair of the BC Community Impact Investment Coalition, discussed the benefits of raising and investing local capital in local projects. The goal of the presentation was to determine if there was sufficient interest in establishing a community investment co-op in various communities. At that presentation, I expressed interest and support for the project.

In November 2018 the decision was made to proceed with a launch of the East Kootenay Columbia Community Investment Co-op (EKCCIC). Individuals that had expressed an interest in February were contacted to get founding directors to serve until the first annual general meeting. The geographical area covered is split into four sub-regions which are Elk Valley; Cranbrook and Kimberley; Columbia Valley and Golden; and Revelstoke. I, Gerald Price agreed to be a founding director for the Elk Valley sub-region. The Board consists of a minimum of five directors with representation from each sub-region, to a maximum of twelve directors.

Below is the list of Investment Co-op Quick Facts taken from the EKCCIC Executive Summary: (1) Canadian residents and Canadian-controlled entities are eligible for membership. (2) A member-elected Board oversees governance of the Investment Co-op, supported by sub-regional Investment Committees and a regional Marketing and Communications Committee. (3) Each member is entitled to one vote at General Meetings of the Association regardless of how many shares they own, a democratic control mechanism built into the Co-op structure. (4) The Co-op may issue an unlimited amount of membership shares to their members. However, each member must qualify under one of the securities exemptions relied upon by the Co-op. (5) Capital raised from the sale of shares is deposited into local Credit Union accounts to act as a revolving local financing pool. (6) Local business and projects that generate economic, social, environmental or community benefits can apply for financing and are approved by sub-regional Investment Committees. (7) On behalf of the Co-op, Loans Analysts from the regional Community Futures offices complete professional application assessments and due-diligence checks on a fee-for-service basis. (8) When the Co-op determines its maximum investment amount for each applicant, it then partners with other local financiers (such as Community Futures, Credit Unions and the CBT Impact Investment Fund) to leverage any remaining financing.

Additional values that the Investment Co-op brings to the existing financing sector include: (a) Business development supports and connections (b) Local investors and expertise (c) Flexible financing options (d) Advocacy for additional financing (e) Committed customers and ambassadors (f) Local mentors and ongoing support.

The intent of EKCCIC is to bring local investors and local ventures and entrepreneurs together. If you are interested in finding out more about this Co-op visit the website listed below. A membership in the Co-op will cost $500 for a single unit.

For more information please refer to the website and consult with your financial advisor.