07 / 1993
MAG 7 was founded in 1991 by a group of people actively involved in Catholic groups in Genoa (Liguria, Northern Italy). It wants to stimulate and to support forms of popular participation and solidarity initiatives. It particularly focuses on coordination activities for grassroot groups through the MAG itself. It operates in three complementary fields: a)the financing scheme; b)consultancy work in finance and fiscal management; c)publishing activities. Since August 1992 it has been publishing "Tempo più (libero)" a magazine focusing on the social and cultural life of Genova, and regularly featuring solidarity and alternative economy activities. It is also a tool for keeping members informed of the cooperative’s activities including the regular newsletter updating the Board of Directors’ decisions.
Members receive interest from their savings at the current market rates. Mag uses their savings to finance member cooperatives working in the fields of the environment, social and solidarity work, at very competitive rates. Most activities are run on a voluntary basis but Mag 7 has also started paying some of its staff members in charge of secretarial work (on an average salary of around 800.000 lire, around 530 US $). It has 58 individual and 5 collective members, a social capital of 10 million Lire (around 6.700 US $)and a savings fund of 65 million Lire (around 43,000 US $).
In principle, there is no limit to the size of loans, but cooperatives have to provide guarantees of repayment. The MAG’s profits come exclusively from active interest rates on loans, from the sale of "Tempo più (libero)" and from an agreement with the food processing cooperative So.Ge.Gross for advertising work with all MAG members. No further consultancy work has been set up so far.
MAG 7 is going through a well known phase in the life of a MAG. The first two orthree years are often a period for expanding the coordination group and the membership of the cooperative. The financial situation is fairly stable but still unsufficient for all potential financial activities. In the future as management skills increase there will probably be an higher involvement in publishing activities and new initiatives concerned with international fair trade.
Translated by Alessio Surian
DAVICO, Luca, IRED NORD, 1993 (ITALY)
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