Frequently Asked Questions


What happens once I join?

Once you join, you’ll be granted access to the Members Only area. There, you’ll be able to sign up for the Areas of Success in which you’re interested. You’ll also receive a membership number and a list of businesses that provide patronage refunds.

How much does membership cost?

There are two types of membership, Individual and Business. Costs for each types are as follows:

Individual Membership:

  • $100 initial investment

  • $25 annual renewal (begins one year after the initial investment)

Business Membership:

  • $100 initial investment

  • $100 annual renewal

How is profit distribution calculated?

The profit distribution is called a patronage refund.  This process is to be determined by Champions vote. Generally, excess cash produced via business operations will be earmarked for either reinvestment or patronage refund.  The amounts allocated to either will be determined by the Champions.  The net funds allocated for patronage refund (net of costs associated with producing and executing the refund) will be distributed among the members of the Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement of the Inland Empire, Inc proportionate to the amount of money each member has spent in CEEM owned businesses that participate in the patronage refund.  (There will potentially be businesses – whose customers may be businesses, or otherwise not as accessible to the whole membership populations – whose cash flow is not used in the calculation of proportionate spend.)

Does CEEM host any in person events?

Yes, we do!  Please refer to Events and join our monthly conference calls for more information.

How does membership voting work?

Voting takes place at the (virtual) annual meeting.  Members vote to elect Champions to represent them on the CEEM Champions Board, in addition to approving/affirming the business plan.  All votes are cast from the member’s account on

What does it mean for a business to be CEEM approved?

A CEEM approved business is one that is a member of CEEM that has been analyzed by a designated CEEM official(s) to understand its ability to conduct said business, and confirmed that the business meets CEEM’s standards of operation or integrity.

Is business training held in-person and/or online?

CEEM partners conduct training.  Many of the provided resources will be found on CEEM’s website. CEEM can directly consult our member businesses.  For more information, please email

What are Areas of Success?

Areas of Success (AOS) are the areas where African-Americans have achieved a significant amount of traditional commercial success and/or influence in the service area.  We have organized our membership by AOS such that those who have sustained success in an area may network within that AOS.  The leaders of the AOS are called “Champions” and serve CEEM on its Board of Champions (Board of Directors). 

What is the CEEM Seed Accelerator?

CEEM operates like a seed or angel fund and accelerator for community-based businesses.  CEEM invests in businesses, then provides consulting and administrative services to aid in the successful operation of the these businesses.  In addition, CEEM members may apply to the accelerator to be included in pool of resources that perform management services.  Over time, each manager is provided the opportunity to buy CEEM out of a majority of its ownership position in each business, allowing CEEM to reallocate capital into new ventures.  CEEM members are also given priority in hiring within all CEEM businesses, as well as to provide services to/for CEEM.

What is the CEEM not-for-profit?

The CEEM not-for-profit supports the community by vetting and consulting businesses.   The not-for-profit can contract with CEEM to provide the above referenced services on its behalf.

How does CEEM invest in local businesses?

This process is in development by an amazing group of people with expertise as entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and consultants. The focus of the group is to create a portfolio allocation strategy that fits the needs and size of CEEM.  Additional focus will be placed on investing in community-based businesses that fit everyday needs and wants of the population. The group may recommend that CEEM also invests in scalable tech businesses and/or businesses whose customers are businesses.  In either case, this will no be a majority of the initial portfolio.

What if I have more questions?

Please email us at