Applications will reopen in 2024
How can we as Black people create our own economic systems to meet the needs of our families and communities?
What can we learn from our ancestors about creating a sustainable livelihood outside of a capitalist economic system that was never designed for Black people to survive let alone thrive?
During the Black Liberation Co-op Academy, we will:
~Learn cooperative business development and business management skills~
~Connect with our cultural histories of cooperative economics and its connection to Black liberation~
~Understand and share our needs with one another~
~Share knowledge of tools for trade and alternative economies such as cooperativism, mutual aid, social aid and pleasure clubs, susus and bartering~
~Build a shared analysis of the capitalist system and local economic and political system, visioning what is needed to transform the post-Katrina New Orleans economy~
The Facilitation Team
Read more about our facilitators here!
Meet Our Graduates
What is the Black Liberation Co-op Academy?The Black Liberation Coop School is designed to ground Black community leaders, organizers, and workers in cooperative economics principles and practices as a launching point for building community-centered worker-owned businesses. An intensive 10-session training and support program, participants will learn cooperative leadership skills, historical lessons from cooperative economics in the Black freedom struggle, and business development tools. The program includes in-person and online training, guest speakers, and the opportunity to apply for non-extractive financial services. (Loan approval is not guaranteed through participation.)
How will this course be structured?answer
Who should apply?The Black Liberation Co-op Academy is open to Black people living in New Orleans, Louisiana, including workers, organizers, community leaders, entrepreneurs and families. We especially welcome applications from native New Orleanians, formerly incarcerated individuals, women, queer and trans folx, and others who have been historically excluded from participation in the mainstream economy and opportunities to build wealth. We encourage individuals and groups with businesses or business ideas to use this space to develop concrete business skills and an understanding of group dynamics to advance their project as a worker-owned cooperative. You do not need to already be in business and you can absolutely be at the idea stage. BLCA is designed to support teams in the early stages of their business, including the idea stage.
Can groups apply together?Yes, we encourage any and all Black members of a cooperative team or project to do the program together if you can. A worker cooperative is owned and managed by its workers, and your cooperative planning will be strongest if a group of workers participates together in creating it. Each member of a group should complete an application form and indicate the name of the group.
How much does it cost to participate?There is no fee to participate. Participants will receive a stipend of $600 upon completion of the program.
Where will the academy be held?.
What do I have to do to complete the program?.
How will the academy be accessible for participants?We are committed to making the Black Liberation Cooperative Academy accessible for anyone that can make the commitment to participate. We are offering stipends to all participants recognizing that participation may require time away from income-generating activities. Because the Co-op Academy is a space for us to learn together, we ask participants to actively engage in the sessions. Being present may mean being at a desk with your camera on. We also recognize that we are human. At times we can be more present during an online meeting when we take care of our bodies with the camera off. We encourage participants to find the balance that works for them to actively engage in virtual sessions. During interviews with applicants we will discuss accessibility needs, including access to technology, and identify how we can support accessibility. We will offer an orientation to the technological tools we will be using to those who request it. Cooperation New Orleans is committed to language justice, and while we do not have the capacity to offer English/Spanish interpretation for this inaugural cohort, we plan to offer English and Spanish interpretation in future cohorts.
What happens after the course ends?We invite all BLCA participants to stay engaged in cooperating and building a vibrant cooperative ecosystem, and to get involved in the Cooperation New Orleans movement and the Cooperation New Orleans Loan Fund. We invite co-ops that align with our values to consider applying for a non-extractive loan through the Cooperation New Orleans Loan Fund. You can read more here.
How do I/we apply?.
What do I need to know about applicant interviews?All individuals and/or team members must complete the application and we will follow up to schedule a 45 minute interview over the phone or Zoom. We will do interviews on a rolling basis starting in mid August through the end of September. The earlier your team applies, the sooner we can interview you. Applicants will be notified by October 1 if they are accepted into the BLCA cohort.
Who is offering this academy?.