- The E2C zine
- Our E2C webinar series
- E2C profiles
- Further readings
1. Our E2C zine
We put together a 74-page zine on “Exit to Community,” free to everyone worldwide. It will be a key resource for our cohort!
See the full zine here, or click below for just the highlights
2. Our E2C webinar series
Since December 2019, we've hosted in-depth webinars with 20 presenters on a range of topics. See below for titles with links to the recordings, plus a short blurb.
- Industry-wide accountability
- Cooperative product design
- Community ownership in a pandemic
- Distributed governance
- When co-ops meets venture capital
- Community culture
- Legal options
We hear about corporate social responsibility a lot, and the need for accountability in practice—not just in talk—is more important than ever. This webinar explores how broad-based ownership is being used to create more accountable economies. We’ll hear about decade of research on how corporate “multi-stakeholder initiatives” fail and why we need to rethink ownership from the ground up. We will also hear about the legacy of Associated Press, the cooperatively owned nonprofit news agency that was founded in 1846 and whose content reaches half the world’s population every day.
As inclusive design practices catch on, people in building tech tools are asking, "Who really manages the product roadmap? Who ultimately benefits?" This session features leaders from two startups currently working out a more cooperative approach to product design. They will tell us about the design practices that incorporate users, workers, and owners, including the trial and error and lessons along the way. We'll dedicate time to a facilitated discussion based on questions from participants, and conclude with strategies for more cooperative product design that you can try out in your startup or organization, too.
The COVID-19 crisis presents the greatest threat to community-based business in generations. But what if their employees and neighbors had the tools to get through this crisis in better shape, through an “exit to community”? This webinar presents strategies to help business transition to community and employee ownership, which could help ease the crisis upon us and aid in a just recovery.
In the new world made by the coronavirus, there has been a lot of discussion recently about online collaboration and work. But what about governance? If we are to have community-owned platforms, we’ll have to skill up in platform-based community governance. In this webinar, we are joined by two people who have been doing just that—in contexts ranging from crisis relief to running a national government.
It is a common assumption that cooperative business and venture capital financing don't mix. And there is good reason for this. Venture capital uses investor ownership to drive companies toward a quick, value-maximizing exit. Co-ops, in contrast, are designed to be owned by their participants rather than outside investors, prioritizing social value over the long term. But that assumption may be worth reconsidering. In April, Savvy Cooperative announced that it had struck an investment deal with Indie.vc, a pioneering venture firm. Both Savvy and Indie.vc pushed the boundaries of their respective structures to make this happen, while keeping those structures intact. This webinar will feature Savvy's CEO and legal counsel, explaining how the deal came about and what it means for the future of finance for economic democracy.
How can startups create truly empowered communities? A growing network of entrepreneurs, organizers, and investors is exploring the idea of “Exit to Community”—enabling startups to transition toward ownership by their core stakeholders. There are many possible pathways towards this goal, as well as many challenges along the way. But one way or another, community ownership depends on community culture.
A growing network of entrepreneurs, activists, and investors are exploring the possibility of “exit to community”—enabling startups to transition toward ownership by their core stakeholders. There are a variety of possible pathways toward this goal, as well as a variety of challenges that stand in the way. Both the pathways and challenges depend on the underlying law.
3. E2C profiles
4. Further readings:
On E2C as a strategy:
- Meetup to the People: How a Zebra could Rise from a Unicorn’s Fall
- Exit to Community: Strategies for Multi-Stakeholder Ownership in the Platform Economy
- Investing in Employee Ownership: Financing Conversions Through a Private Equity Fund Model.
- Other topics
- How do various types of ownership models map to the core value prop of the business itself? E.g. grocery store and restaurants --> worker-owned.
- What if every SaaS software company would E2C? What does that look like on the funding and product development front?
- Every example “community” is used to actually mean “customer” or “supplier” (as in the case of Facebook and personal data)
- What does it actually take to build and run a successful business? And to do that cooperatives? Which comes first?
On community ownership:
- The Spectrum of Community Engagement to Ownership, by Movement Strategy Center - video here
- Designing Futures with Care: Finding Our Way to Different Worlds Together, by Ariana Lutterman & Tara Campbell/ OCAD
- A Sense of Belonging (Product-Led Community) Part 1, by Spero Ventures
- Case Studies: Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives, by Project Equity
- Innovative Financial Models to Spur Worker to Owner Conversions, by DAWI - background here
- The Three Types of Populist Economic Policy, by People's Policy Project
- How Zachary’s became worker-owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan
- The origins of the Park Slope Food Coop + their current loan program.
On community governance:
Those of us looking to shape our enterprises with methods for collective governance and shared ownership are led to ask: What can collective governance look like? What shape does that take? What are some of the challenges and freedoms presented in this model? We spoke with several cooperative-minded experts who offered their insight into these questions, as part of a collaboration with the Action Network, a nonprofit online mobilization platform whose team is seeking to further democratize its operations. Here are a few takeaways from our discussion:
- Clarity: Facilitate strong and clear communication around your offerings and core values.
- Trust: Build trust within your organization to increase loyalty and engagement among members and core partners.
- Collaborative effort for collective success: Understand that people respond differently to different kinds of communication.
- Use your users: In any early stage of a startup or software project, the best test group for your product is your members; give room for critical feedback as a chance to listen, learn, and improve.