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How do we build a truly sharing economy and not a sharecropping one?

By | Cooperatives Work, Impact Investing, Sharing Economy, Social Enterprise, Social Impact, Strategy and Advice | No Comments

I’ve written before about the sharing economy in a bunch of different places. I think it’s a problematic term, one that perhaps even needs to go away. The challenge with that, of course, is that it has a certain amount of stickiness – people are interested in the idea of sharing instead of individually consuming, and working together instead of working against each other.

One side of this equation is hope in a collaborative economy that actually makes a difference in the world; the other side is an entrenchment of exploitation. In my mind, the sharing economy is in a liminal space at the moment: it can grow the good, or as Rebeca Solnit put it so well, it could continue to be the “sharecropping economy,” because that’s where it is at the moment.

So how do we get there? Read More

We’re launching something exciting

By | Projects, Sharing Economy, Social Enterprise, Social Impact | No Comments

This is a bit of an odd blog post – I’m super excited to tell you about something cool that the Incipe Cooperative is launching because I think it’s going to change our game about how we help social enterprises and social impact organizations grow and expand the difference they make in their communities. However, we’re still putting the finishing touches on our new project – and awaiting some approvals to really get it ready to launch.

But, there’s some that I can tell you. It all ties into our goal to support the vibrant culture of social impact that we see arising in BC, across Canada, and around the world – a vibrant community of changemakers working towards exciting projects. Read More

Cooperating is the best kind of sharing: co-ops and the sharing economy

By | Cooperatives Work, Sharing Economy, Social Enterprise, Social Impact | 3 Comments

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Cooperating is the best kind of sharing

I think cooperating is the best kind of sharing. And sharing has been all the rage lately, with the meteoric rise of the “sharing economy,” which seems to encompass everything from AirBNB to couchsurfing to tool sharing to car sharing.

That meteoric rise of the sharing economy is really, really exciting. Since 2008, when the economy took a major stumble, people have been coming to the understanding that the economy isn’t going to benefit everyone the same way, and that sometimes the best way to make things better is to do things differently. That’s where the increased interest in the sharing economy comes from, really: the realization that we need to do business differently, and build a different economy, if we want it to be more fair, more inclusive, and better.

So when we discuss the sharing economy and cooperatives, I think the discussion starts to get really interesting. I think cooperation is the best kind of sharing, and this is important because there is no clear definition of just what the sharing economy actually is – and that runs the risk of dilution into meaninglessness.

Cooperating enables people to build shared resources and co-own them. Cooperation is an ownership model and a business model. It’s different from sharing as you might currently see in the sharing economy, but I think that cooperatives can and should lead the sharing economy. Read More