The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) has been working with the
Small Business Administration (SBA) to expedite the reinterpretation of regulations
that prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs.
We need your help in advocating for changes to Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations. At present, SBA regulations prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs. NCBA believes this needs to change and brought it to the attention of the Obama Administration during the May White House Community Leaders Briefing. Since the Briefing, NCBA has continued the dialogue with SBA and the White House—making progress on this issue.
We need SBA to hear from the cooperative community
that this is an important issue.
Now is the time for YOUR VOICE to be heard!
Take these two important actions THIS WEEK
1. Ask your Representative to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter
Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin is circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter in the House of Representatives asking SBA to expedite the reinterpretation of regulations that prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs. Please call your representative’s office and ask your member to sign on to the “Dear Colleague” letter.
2. Send your letter to SBA
Last week, NCBA issued a call to action asking you to send a letter to SBA on this issue. We have received letters from a number of cooperatives and supporting organizations, but we need SBA to hear from a lot more of you!
Thank you for taking action on this issue!
Interim President and CEO
National Cooperative Business Association
<Insert Date - Example: September 17, 2012>
The Honorable Karen Mills
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416
Dear Administrator Mills:
We are writing to ask the Small Business Administration (SBA) to expedite the reinterpretation of regulations that prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs. Consistent with the Administration’s commitment to removing unnecessary regulatory barriers for small businesses, we believe that a reinterpretation of the existing SBA regulation is in order, and we ask you to publicly commit to such a reinterpretation as soon as possible.
While today’s food cooperative community may have evolved from 1960s-era buying clubs, today they are tax-paying, incorporated businesses that contribute more than 12,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in annual sales to local economies throughout the United States. In addition to being stable members of local business communities, food cooperatives provide the consuming public with an important source of locally produced healthy food. And, just like small businesses everywhere, they need access to capital for growth and expansion.
In the last three years, an impressive 61 food cooperatives have opened for business, and several hundred more are in varying stages of planning and organization. These are small businesses, local employers, grounded in local economies. Even in their first years of operation, these new cooperatives will be the source of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in annual sales. Yet none of these new small businesses were able to apply for SBA lending because of the prevailing interpretation of the SBA regulation.
We need a resolution to this matter that clarifies the fact that food cooperatives meet the eligibility standards for SBA lending. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives and the U.S. cooperative community annually celebrates October as Co-op Month. We can think of no better way to celebrate both occasions in October 2012 than with a public announcement by the SBA that the barriers to food cooperative eligibility for SBA lending are being removed.