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Starts:21-Jan-14 12:23 a.m. GMT
Ends:12-Feb-14 6:08 p.m. GMT
Award 1: $200, was awarded to indie
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Preview: crowdSPRING Contract
Our mission is to enable low-income communities to build economic resiliency by demonstrating and replicating strategies that increase worker ownership. Worker-owned cooperatives are an innovative and powerful business model that can provide high quality jobs and shared entrepreneurship opportunities to low-income workers, as well as benefits to the broader economy. Coop businesses increase job quality, invest locally and have demonstrable positive impact on job creation, and on business retention (see, for example, impact study on food coops at www.strongertogether.coop and study on coop survival rates in British Columbia). Job stability is also dramatically higher in worker coops, given low turnover rates.
During our launch year (2014), our first major initiative is to engage cross-sectoral change makers from government, education, business and nonprofits, in a ‘Bay Area Blueprint’ strategy to increase worker ownership in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Blueprint will create actionable feasibility studies and pilot projects across multiple pathways to worker ownership: small-scale cooperative entrepreneurship; incubating or accelerating scalable cooperatives; and business conversion to worker ownership.
Coming out of the Blueprint process, we will then continue to support the broad efforts locally, but focus our energies on developing a series of networked, scaled cooperative businesses. Over time, we see ourselves developing and supporting growth of 5-10 worker-owned businesses of 50-100 employees each, that exist as part of a network. The network will provide shared services support, build a shared capital pool to support growth and new business launches, and provide direct services to employees to help them grow and advance and help their companies succeed.
We see our SF Bay Area focus as critical to impact wage and wealth gaps in low-income communities where we live, and to serve as a demonstration for other regions of the United States. Other countries have had success bringing the cooperative business model to scale, and one of our goals is to help unlock this potential in the U.S. by showing that it can be done locally, then replicating it in other regions.
By developing scalable worker cooperatives and adapting our Blueprint strategy to other regions, we plan to move the field of low-income cooperative development forward. We will provide support and consulting to other regions wanting to replicate and localize our approach.
Ideally we would want both .org and .com URLs available, but if we love a name that doesn’t have an exact match in its URL, we’ll likely still go with the name and figure out a way to create an effective URL.
As a social sector (nonprofit) initiative that leads both direct programmatic work as well as field building, we have three customers:
1. Our primary customers are low-income community members who participate in and benefit from our work by gaining good jobs, with co-ownership in cooperative businesses. Our target beneficiary group is the working poor, with the goal being to enable them to move up to where they truly share in the fruits of their labor.
2. A second customer group are the multi-sector stakeholders both local to the SF Bay Area and in other regions to which we will bring the Blueprint approach in the future.
3. A third customer group includes the funders and allies who provide resources for our programs and help us carry them out.
Social impact, business savvy, shared ownership and shared responsibility, a new economy that's good for all (all people and the environment)
Inner City Advisors (locally); REDF; Democracy At Work Institute (nationally; they’re more of an ally than a competitor, but some funders could see them as competitive)
Smart, serious about social impact (but still fun, not overly earnest); Ambition (scaling cooperatives); Innovation; Excellence & effectiveness (best in class)
no. We don't want to restrict your creativity!
Generate or Generation
Own / Ownership
We / Our
Please see attached PDFs for more information on what we do.
We're excited to have your creative minds working with us to create a snazzy name or our new social venture.
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