Frequently Asked Questions
Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Co-op is the legally registered entity. Green Loans Salt Spring is the brand name of our lending program.
The demand and necessity to invest for impact, globally and locally, is on the rise. However, current investment options and regulations in Canada significantly restrict Canadians from investing into local opportunities. The result is that nearly all investment capital leaves local communities and is placed into far-off stock markets and corporations. This disconnects investors from the positive or negative impacts of their investments. An unintended consequence is that while our investments create significant jobs and wealth elsewhere, the places we live, work and play are overlooked and underfinanced. Rural British Columbia business development studies and economic development organizations have identified that ‘access to capital’ is a top barrier to business start-ups, expansions and successions.
Community Investment Co-ops across Canada have been around for decades, and have successfully financed ventures that generate significant local impacts including: affordable housing; renewable energy; sustainable agriculture and food production; locally-owned small business development; technology; and community economic development projects. The longer a dollar can circulate within a community, the greater its economic and social impacts.
Individuals must be 16 years or older and be a Canadian resident. Corporate members must be Canadian- controlled entities (businesses, nonprofits, foundations), governments or First Nations, and must appoint at least one delegate to vote at General Meetings or serve on the Board.
How do I invest or lend?
To become a member a person (individual or corporation) must complete a Membership Application found on the website. Each member must purchase one membership share of $100 and provide payment as instructed on the form. After the Board approves the application, the new member may purchase additional membership shares. Most proceeds from the sale of membership shares are used for lending to green projects. All members are encouraged to participate in TSSEC green microloans or contributing to a loan pool.
To become a member, a person (individual or business) must complete the Membership Application found on the website. Each member must purchase one or more redeemable membership share(s) for $100 each and provide payment as instructed in the application. After the TSSEC Board approves the application, the new member may purchase additional membership shares. The majority of membership share funds are used for lending to green projects. All members are encouraged to consider participating in TSSEC green microloans or contributing to a loan pool.
Each member must purchase a minimum of one membership share ($100). Each member can invest up to $10,000 at any given time , including the value of their membership shares. Accredited investors are not limited by the $10,000 investment ceiling. To determine if you are an accredited investor, please click here to visit the BC Securities Commission website and scroll to the section on ‘Accredited Investor Exemption’.
We are seeking patient investors with a minimum of a 5-year investment horizon, to ensure we can finance local businesses with a stable group of member-investors. Members can also choose to support individual projects that have shorter terms.
No. 10% of all monies raised from membership share sales is placed into a term deposit to establish a Membership Redemption Reserve. This allows 10% of the TSSEC members to redeem their shares in a given year. The remainder of the funds raised from membership share sales is available to finance local businesses and projects.
Our goal is to provide our lenders with a modest financial return, around 1-2%. We do not expect to be in a position to provide dividends on membership shares at this time, although that may change in the future. It is important to note that an Investment Co-op is not a guaranteed investment such as a term deposit or bond. Members share in the risks and rewards of the local investment portfolio. As of now, we have had not default on any of our loans.
No. We decided not to issue registered shares as they limit the amount of investors we can accommodate and the fees to hold monies in an RRSP cancel out any anticipated returns on investment.
We are member-owned, locally controlled and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Each member of the Investment Co-op is entitled to one vote at General Meetings of the Association, regardless of how many membership shares they purchase.
Local ventures and organizations apply to the Investment Co-op for financing through an application process. This is screened by the Board of Directors. If the applicant demonstrates a positive economic, social, environmental or community impact they will be requested to submit their business plan and cash flow projections. Once these documents are reviewed the Board of Directors will make the decision whether to proceed with financing.
As the Investment Co-op is not registered on a stock exchange, membership shares cannot be sold or traded to other persons. Membership shares must be redeemed directly from the Co-op by submitting a Withdrawal Form to the Board.
No. The Board and its Investment Committees decide which businesses get support and how much support to give these businesses. Members have the right to:
- Receive updates through the Co-op’s newsletters on businesses that receive financing and may support those businesses as customers and ambassadors
- Elect the Board of Directors
- Run for the Board of Directors
- Receive a copy of the Investment Co-op’s Articles and Bylaws
- Review reports on financial performance at General Meetings
- Vote for changes in the Articles and Bylaws as proposed by the Board of Directors
- Participate in occasional member surveys
Yes, there are currently 9 Community Investment Co-ops in BC and the sector is growing! Visit www.BCInvestmentCoop.com for a list of current organizations and website links.