CCIF LP is an investment fund. Its purpose is to invest in co-operative enterprises (see below). The Fund is structured as a Limited Partnership. Investors are Limited Partners and purchase units in the Fund. The General Partner is CCIF and is responsible for overseeing the Fund activities. CCIF hires a Fund Manager to oversee the day-to-day operation of the Fund.
About the Fund
CCIF was created with the support of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, to fill the gap in capital that is available to co-operative enterprises. It is intended to complement, and work with exiting providers of capital to co-operatives, and to work in partnership with the co-operative sector to fill the gaps that have been identified in access to capital by co-operatives.
CCIF LP is a fund that is a source of capital available for investment in co-operative enterprises. We make investments across Canada, in all parts of the co-operative system. The Fund is designed to take into account the realities of the co‑operative business model and that structures investments in a way that respects the principles and the role of capital within co‑operatives.
CCIF is open to investment from accredited investors. To date we have 15 investors that include co-operative financial institutions and co-operative associations. You can find more information about investing in CCIF here or contact us here.
CCIF invests exclusively in co-operative enterprises. The Fund makes loans as well as quasi-equity and equity investments. The Fund can invest in any aspect of a co-operative enterprise, provided that there is a strong supporting business case. The Fund will investment to support the growth of existing co-operatives, new co-operative ventures and conversions of small and medium size enterprises to co-operative ownership.
CCIF (the General Partner) is established as a co-operative. Co-operative members are investors, investees and co-operative developers. Each member pays a membership fee. More information about the CCIF co-operative can be found here.
CCIF has hired the Community Forward Fund Assistance Corporation (CFFAC) as Fund manager to provide the day-to-day services of operating the Fund. More information about CFFAC can be found here. The Fund Manager is responsible to work with CCIF in finding investment opportunities for the Fund, reviewing investment applications, assessing these and managing and monitoring of investments.
CCIF measures impact in three ways:
- The outputs from a particular investment
- The application of measures or standards where these exist – outcomes
- The impact on organization and community
CCIF LP is an ”evergreen” fund. That is, it is always open for new investors and does not have a termination date. For organizations or persons interested in investing in CCIF, our contact information is here.
Each investment in CCIF is divided between a loan (25% of the investment) and the purchase of units. The loan portion of the investment attracts an on-going fixed return, and the unit investment return is based on the Fund performance. For more information about the investment terms please contact us here.
How does the Fund make investments?
CCIF invests exclusively in co-operative enterprises. Most investments are in the form of loans – these can be for a variety of purposes including capital, bridge financing, enterprise development and growth. CCIF has the flexibility to structure loans to meet the cash flow requirements of co-operative enterprises – for example loans including a period of interest only payment, graduated interest payments, deferred payments. CCIF can also invest equity in co-operative enterprises. Finally, CCIF has the ability to invest in the transfer of enterprises into co-operative ownership.
Any co-operative enterprise or co-operative established for the purpose of transformation of an existing business to co-operative ownership can attract a CCIF investment. CCIF looks to earn a return on its investment. This return is priced based on the risk of the investment.
An interested co-operative can contact CCIF at any time. We usually discuss borrowing or investment requirements with a potential investee to determine if this is something the Fund has an interest in. We then follow up with a more formal application process here.
We first like to speak with prospective applicants to understand your requirements and to determine what form of investment best suits your needs. We will then invite you to complete an application form that can be found here. When applying to CCIF, we request information about your request, information about the co-operative finances (financial statements, audits, etc.) as well as information about the board of directors and management team, and co-operative developer where this is the case.
Once an application to CCIF is received, we get in touch with the applicant and start the review of the information provided, get an understanding of the investment requirements, and assess the business plan, co-operative finances, organizational strengths and other pertinent factors. We may conduct a site visit to the co-operative and interview key people as part of this process.
The application is then brought forward to an investment committee of the Fund Manager for consideration. This committee reviews the investment recommendation prepared by staff of the Fund Manager. For most investments, the Fund Manager will consult with an advisory committee established by CCIF to assist in the investment review process.
An applicant will work with a CFFAC team member. There are two dedicated investment review staff, as well as a manger that can assist in this process.
The length of time to process an application will depend on the size of the investment, the complexity of the investment, whether there is more than one investor and whether all of the information required to review the application is available. An application can be processed within two weeks, but may take longer based on the factors listed above.
CCIF is not restricted as to what sectors it can invest in, although it will not consider investment in organizations involved in armaments, gambling, tobacco, pornography, or pay-day lending, in each case, related products or services.
CCIF will consider investment opportunities from $100,000 to $1.250,000. On an exceptional basis CCIF may consider smaller amounts than the $50,000 limit. As the investment fund grows the upper limit for investments will rise.
CCIF will consider start-up investments but typically looks for some combination of significant organizational sponsorship, commitments from individuals or other organizations including co-operatives, and a comprehensive business model including market assessments where this is applicable.
The key partners for CCIF are investors in the Fund, credit unions and caisse populaires, co-operative associations, provincial associations and conseils, and co-operative developers. Partners are organizations that support the objectives of CCIF and are interested in assisting in identifying investment opportunities, at times co-investing with CCIF in opportunities, working with co-operative enterprises to build their capacity and supporting co-operatives in other ways.
CCIF is additive to the existing co-operative resources and capital, and does not aim to compete or replace credit union and caisse populiare co-operative enterprise investment activities. CCIF can be an alternate source of capital, a co-investor or a resource to co-operative financial institutions. There will be some cases where an investment by CCIF is more appropriate than the co-operative financial institution, based on risk, type of investment and availability of capital. CCIF works in partnership with credit unions and caisse populaires to identify potential investments and to assess the quality and risk of these investments.
CCIF will work to support existing local funds in much the same way as CCIF works with credit unions and caisse populaires. CCIF can be approached to co-invest in certain transactions where the local fund may not have sufficient capital, may have reached an investment limit, or where the local fund wishes to find a partner to share in the risk of an investment.
CCIF members include co-operative developer organizations. Co-operative developers are key partners in the identification of potential investments and in supporting potential investees. CCIF can enter into a contract with a co-operative developer for a modest payment where there is a potential investment identified and where CCIF believes that the assistance of a co-operative developer would be beneficial in the development of a business plan and / or a co-operative group. More information can be found here.
Provincial associations and conseils are key partners for CCIF for the dissemination of information about CCIF, and for connecting CCIF and potential investees. CCIF works with associations and conseils by meeting with them and their members to provide information about the Fund, and in hosting information sessions. Provincial associations and conseils provide valuable feedback to CCIF on how we can improve the reach of the Fund and out operations.
CCIF members are investors in CCIF, investees of CCIF, co-operative developer organizations and other supporters of the Fund. CCIF members are eligible for election to the Board of Directors and review and provide direction on the policies that govern CCIF.