Investment Clubs for the 99%. 100% dedicated to Co-ops.

The Cooperative Principal provides start-up know how and on-going education to everyday people who come together to invest in a radically different, co-operative future.

We were frustrated with Wall Street and the lack of alternatives so we did some homework. While the name investment club carries some baggage, as legal entities investment clubs are granted some benefits that we can actually use to change the status quo. Most importantly, they can reduce the financial hurdle that often exists if you want to do something interesting, outside of Wall Street with your money. So, we started the Cooperative Principal to provide start-up know how and on-going education to everyday people who come together to invest in a radically different, co-operative future.

Who and What

In order to make it easier for folks to start and run local investment clubs, we founded the Cooperative Principal. In terms of organizational structure, think of a bike wheel where the center or hub is the Cooperative Principal (CP), a Minnesota based non-profit. This center hub serves the local clubs that are at the end of the spokes, around the wheel. The CP provides the education, documents and some administrative support to make starting a legal, properly registered club easier. Then, on an on-going basis, the CP provides investment ideas and analysis, facilitates local clubs connecting with each other and promotes the growth of the larger co-op movement.

The first club we started, CP Local 001, currently has 17 members. These members contribute $50 per month and together they have invested over $25,000 in 9 co-ops around the country. While the minimum amount to purchase preferred stock or member loans in each of these co-ops varies, all are out of reach for most individual cooperative members. This creates an inherent contradiction, the people who generally want to support and invest in co-ops face a high barrier to entry while the co-ops frequently have a difficult time getting financing. This is the beauty of CP Investment Clubs, people who on their own can’t afford to invest in their values now have a vehicle to do so and co-ops have access to a new source of capital.

Beyond the dollars and cents, there is a social and educational component to The Cooperative Principal. Members meet in person a minimum of 4 times per year, ideally in a social setting (think microbrewery!) and the clubs operate in a cooperative, democratic manner. Based on investment analysis from the central non-profit, or their own research, members discuss and vote on where to put their pooled funds. Club members are both participating in their own democratic organizations and supporting the co-op economy in a way that is only possible by working together. Local 001 Members have also found that club meetings are downright fun. As more clubs start we envision that clubs can share ideas and support each other.

Presentation on Cooperative Principal

Start a Club

We’d love to connect with you on what it takes to start a club. The Cooperative Principal can provide you everything you need to get your Local 00? up and running. You don’t need to be an expert to start a club, you just need a lot of enthusiasm!

Club How-to (PDF)

Join a Club

If you live near the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, you are in luck! We’d love to have you come to the next meeting of Local 001. Contact us to get the details on the next meeting. If you aren’t in The Cities, you may need to start your own club. Starting a club is not hard and we can support you through every step. But if that is not your thing, no problem, just stay in touch and visit the website for updated listings of new local clubs, hopefully in your area.

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