Community Enterprise

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. Most enterprises would be controlled by their customers, workers, and other stakeholders. Through education and advocacy, SELC is working to develop pathways that overcome securities law barriers to local investing.

SELC’s Projects and Resources:

SELC advocates for a local investing law in California! Click here to learn more about the Local Economies Securities Act.

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. For more information on the petition that partially led to the passage of the Federal JOBS Act and draft investment crowdfunding exemption, please visit our SELC and the CROWDFUND Act and Community Enterprise Blog.

Workshops:  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. Check our Events page or email for more information on upcoming workshops.

In the meantime, click here to see all 14 videos from our most recent Legal EatsWorkshop for Community Food Enterprise in West Oakland!

Legal Resource Library:  Check out our Legal Resource Library at for information on entity structure, financing, employment, and land and housing. Also visit our blog for legal developments.