SELC Community Enterprise Program

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"We want to live in a world where any project or enterprise can obtain financing from members of the local community, and where the majority of businesses in a community are locally owned and locally financed."

SELC’s Community Enterprise Program develops legal resources and policies that allow local community financing and ownership of enterprises and assets, with a specific focus on navigating and/or removing securities law barriers to local investing.

Why Community Enterprise?

Traditional economic development models focus on attracting business and real estate investments from outside of a community. The unfortunate result is that wealth leaves the community, rather than remaining available for the community’s benefit. In a more sustainable economy, entrepreneurs would be able to raise capital from local community members’ equity investments, micro-investments, crowdfunding, community-supported business models, and other creative means. Community members would have a vast array of choices for investing their money locally, rather than choosing to invest primarily in Wall Street companies. Through education and advocacy, SELC is working to develop pathways that overcome securities law barriers to local investing.

Projects and Resources

SEC Petition and JOBS Act

In 2010, SELC drafted a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting a rule change that would enable the growth of community-owned and cooperatively-owned enterprises. Specifically, SELC asked the SEC to grant a securities compliance exemption for investments under $100. The petition asked that regulators allow anyone to advertise and seek investments of under $100 for an enterprise or project, without having to jump through any securities compliance hurdles.


SELC partners with the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (at the East Bay Community Law Center) and Students for Economic and Environmental Justice to put on workshops about legal topics related to start-up food justice enterprises and forming worker cooperatives. See more here.

More Resources

  • SELC's Community Enterprise Program homepage.