Thomas Beckett, Executive Director
For most of his career, Thomas Beckett has worked as an attorney serving the needs of small and start-up businesses. He has focused on cooperatives for the past 10 years, providing business and legal guidance throughout the Southeastern United States. He has significant experience working with agriculture enterprises in the region, including cooperatives, quasi-cooperatives and nonprofits, as well as with working farmers.
In addition to his work helping cooperative enterprises, Beckett is certified by the CooperationWorks! Cooperative Business Development Training Program, allowing him to present to and provide training for cooperatives related to business law. Beckett presented on the topic of Business Law for Worker Cooperatives at the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives conference in June 2012, and at the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy in July 2011 and 2015.
He taught Business Law at Warren Wilson College and is also certified to present the FastTrac TechVenture program, the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial training curriculum. Beckett serves on the Board of Directors of Shared Capital Cooperative Development Fund and previously served on the Boards of CooperationWorks!, the Center for Participatory Change, and the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP).
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University. He earned his law degree and MBA from the University of North Carolina.
Quick facts about us
who we are
- Carolina Common Enterprise (CCE) is North Carolina’s cooperative development center.
- We provide business and organizational guidance, technical assistance, education and other support to co-ops and to people who want to start or convert an existing business into a cooperative enterprise.
- We are committed to developing cooperative approaches to improve conditions in marginalized communities throughout our state.
what we do
- We assist individuals and communities — particularly those in low income and socially disadvantaged rural and urban areas — to create, expand and improve community-based enterprises.
- We provide ongoing business education, technical assistance, organizational consulting, training and support to these enterprises.
- We develop and share educational materials, processes and curricula to improve the effectiveness of
governance of cooperative businesses and advance public understanding of the significance of cooperative enterprises.
- We develop and organize sources of financial capital for community-based enterprises.
What is a cooperative enterprise?
A cooperative is a business that is owned and democratically controlled by the people who participate in it and benefit from its goods or services.
Collectively owned and operated, cooperative enterprises create opportunities in the communities they serve.
Often small and entrepreneurial businesses, they span across a variety of models including:
- Consumer cooperatives, such as a natural foods grocery, are owned by the people who use the co-op
- Producer cooperatives collectively process and market crops and obtain better prices, sharing the cost of feed, seed and other materials where buying in quantity can achieve a cost savings.
- Worker cooperatives share ownership of the business among the people who work in it, and who have democratic governance over their affairs.