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I am unable to find a single co-op in the U.S. that provides fiscal hosting to help other co-ops get started. If anyone knows of one (or wants to start one) I'd love to hear from you. I feel like this *has* to be a thing.

To clarify: a fiscal host acts as the legal entity and bank account for other smaller entities. So an organization that's already established as a co-op will hold your money in their bank account so that you don't have to worry about handling taxes or book keeping while you get started and if you need to sign a contract or something it's technically with the parent organization so you can use their business vehicle. I know of lots of non-profit ones, but none specifically for developing co-ops.

The context of me asking about cooperative fiscal hosts is that I have several small platform co-ops that I'd like to start if I can find cooperators (XMPP server, Gitea instance, etc.) all of which will need to store money somewhere. However, I don't expect them to be big enough to pay for banking/lawyering/business expenses on their own. Surely lots of co-ops would jump at the chance to share a business vehicle, bank account, and book keeping until they're big enough to go out on their own?

@sam It is. I've been looking for years for this in the EU and haven't found anything. Please keep me posted..

@gert @sam i'm sure i once read the Website of a coop which had the intention of helping entrepreneurs / startups with tax and billing. It was a German Genossenschaft or similar. But I can't remember its name nor find it now.... If I find it I'll let you know.

@gert I believe they're in the U.K. but Platform 6 (opencollective.com/platform6-c) at least in part does this if your money can be converted to GBP.

I think it is safe to conclude that ICA ica.coop/ has no presence on social.coop, but my thought was to ask them about this too.

Avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
ica@ica.coop
+32 (2) 743 10 30
@sam

@gert Might be worth a shot; thanks for the suggestion

@Jeff_Piestrak They don't do an especially good job of making it easy to find things (dozens of one-person orgs with no money or other hosted collectives and no about section or website), but I have been through many, many pages of their spam filled list and found nothing :)

@sam I don’t understand what you are seeking. What do you mean by “fiscal hosting”?

@beckett A fiscal host acts as the legal entity and bank account for other smaller entities. So eg. an organization that's already established as a co-op will hold your money in their bank account so that you don't have to worry about handling taxes or book keeping while you get started and if you need to sign a contract or something it's technically with the parent organization so you can use their legal vehicle.

@blindscribe That's just an accelerator, I don't see anything about fiscal hosting there. A fiscal host acts as the legal entity and bank account for other smaller entities. So an organization that's already established as a co-op will hold your money in their bank account so that you don't have to worry about handling taxes or book keeping while you get started and if you need to sign a contract or something it's technically with the parent organization so you can use their business vehicle.

@sam @blindscribe I would add to that legal ownership of intellectual property.

@gert @blindscribe I suppose that could be true, but in general many unincorporated co-ops I've seen just have collective ownership of IP, ie. "Copyright the Whatever Co-op Members" or similar, it doesn't necessarily have to be owned by the fiscal host (in fact, at least one organization that offers fiscal hosting that I know of specifically disclaims ownership of any IP)

@Ethancdavenport A fiscal host acts as the legal entity and bank account for other smaller entities. So an organization that's already established as a co-op will hold your money in their bank account so that you don't have to worry about handling taxes or book keeping while you get started and if you need to sign a contract or something it's technically with the parent organization so you can use their business vehicle.

@sam I see! Thanks for clarifying. Something to think about.

@sam In the non-profit context a "fiscal sponsorship" arrangement allows a project to get started under the tax-exempt aegis of an existing tax-exempt nonprofit. That enable the new project to solicit donations that require tax-exempt status. My org has fiscally sponsored some startup co-ops for that purpose - they can get grants where a (technically for-profit) co-op cannot.

Outside of the tax-exempt need, most startup co-ops can simply open a bank account & do their own bookkeeping early on.

@beckett That's definitely a big benefit of doing it in the non-profit context, but in a for-the-benefit-of-members co-op that may not have a non-profit mission I still think it can be useful. It effectively becomes collective accounting/lawyering, which could save a small co-op lots in expenses until they need more control over their own finances and the like.

@sam I do know of an instance where an existing worker co-op has "incubated" a new worker co-op. Red Emma's in Baltimore housed Thread Coffee (a coffee roaster) from early stages.
redemmas.org/thread

I <heart> Red Emma's.

@lavender I'm sorry, I didn't understand. Probably I'm being dense and am missing a joke; can you rephrase that? Thanks!

@sam peano numerals are this esoteric way to represent whole numbers. you define something special (usually called Z) to mean zero, then you have a special "successor" function (usually called S) to mean "the number after".
so, S(S(S(Z))) is 3.

the joke is that you can have Z=op and S=co- to get an op (0), a co-op (1), a co-co-op (2), a co-co-co-co-co-op (5)...

it's not actually that funny don't worry

@lavender hah, I actually should have gotten that. I didn't know the name but am familiar with the counting system; nice.

@sam The Park Slope Food Co-op has funds for new food co-ops using its model, which are extremely hard to access but are there nonetheless. Is that the sort of thing you're talking about? Or is this more like a sponsor on Open Collective?

@amikigu
fiscal hosting is a model commonly used by non -profits where an established entity stores funds for a new entity and signs deals on its behalf so that the new entity doesn't have to incorporate or do book keeping or anything while it's starting up. The new entity can then take advantage of tax free donations too (if the parent can do that) It's not actually about giving money or sponsorship. In fact, some fiscal hosts charge a fee for the service.

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