The mission of the Lompoc Co-op Development Project is to create social and economic change in Lompoc through the development of worker-owned cooperative businesses that create sustainable jobs and promote life-changing opportunities for unemployed and under-employed residents in Lompoc. Worker cooperatives are owned and democratically controlled by the workers. The worker cooperative is a well-established, proven business structure with examples across the United States, Canada and the world. LCDP will create a solid foundation for the development of its first worker owned cooperative with the guidance of the California Center for Cooperative Development, and funding by the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Fund for Santa Barbara. LCDP’s first worker owned cooperative, a green cleaning business, launched in 2012.
In 2010 members of a local church in Lompoc began meeting to explore ways that they could help their economically depressed community. They learned about cooperatives and contacted the California Center for Cooperative Development. The CCCD sent them information and discussed options and a partnership began. The small group of church members grew to include community leaders and professionals of different faiths who were deeply rooted in the Lompoc community and shared the same values and vision for economic renewal. While the immediate goal is to start the first cooperative the fall of 2012, LCDP’s goal is to start a cooperative development incubator that will be used to create many independent cooperative businesses.
The Lompoc Co-op Development Project will create worker-owned businesses that develop sustainable jobs and contribute to a vibrant community. Using a cooperative incubator model, the project will.
- Create local, sustainable jobs that pay living wages and provide people the means to purchase homes and stay in Lompoc.
- Contribute to a better community by increasing local productivity and building a local economy that encourages residents to shop, live, work and play in Lompoc.
- Generate local worker cooperative businesses that empower people and provide goods and services that meet community needs.
The incubator will provide development assistance to create new worker cooperatives, including business feasibility study, business plan, co-op organizing and member development. The incubator will establish a revolving loan fund that will assist with initial start-up costs. The incubator will maintain an ongoing supportive relationship with the cooperatives after they are established by providing accounting, tax, legal, and educational assistance.