On June 6th, 2017, the New York City Council announced its adoption of a $85.2 Billion budget for Fiscal Year 2018 and with it an enhancement of $3.048 Million for the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative (WCBDI). This is fourth consecutive year that the NYC Council has enhanced its pioneering initiative, standing out as the countries first municipality to financially support worker-cooperative business development. Among the champions of the initiative were Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Robert Cornegy, Annabel Palma, Daniel Garodonick, Carlos Menchaca, and Brad Lander. The city-funded initiative is also the result of the organizing efforts of the New York City Worker Cooperative Coalition, a growing coalition of cooperative developers, service providers, community-based organizations, and institutions that have been actively advocating for expanded resources for worker cooperatives since 2014.
“The FY 2018 budget stands to enhance resources to our most essential community programs and uplift New Yorkers across each of the five boroughs,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “In the last year of the 2014-17 City Council session, members and advocates have worked in collaboration to continue our record of producing a budget that is balanced, on-time and constructive for New York City residents.” The WCBDI was listed high among the Council’s Progressive Caucus funding priorities, which suggest they view worker-cooperatives as an important tool to combat income inequality in our city. The funding is allocated to the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), who oversees and manages a group of 12 funded non-profit organizations that provided free technical assistance, educational support, and financing to existing and start-up cooperatives. SBS publishes a yearly report on the performance of the WCBDI, tracking its progress through metrics like Co-ops created, Technical Assistance provided, educational services offered, and total hires.