Co-op models have a marginal position in business education, the technology industry, and the popular imagination. In response, co-operators and their allies have created incubators, accelerator programs, and mutual-aid networks to support early-stage tech co-ops.
Join us for an online panel facilitated by co-op researcher-practitioner Emi Do that brings together presenters from several such projects: CoTech, Exit to Community Collective, Platform Cooperativism Consortium, SPACE4, Start.coop, UnFound Accelerator, and Union Cooperative Initiative. These projects advance democratic business formation and co-op theory-building, and they offer valuable lessons on the promises and challenges of accelerating worker ownership today.
This panel will explore goals, strategies, and dilemmas of co-operative development in the digital economy and beyond. It will also provide participants with an opportunity to connect with peers and allies.
Matt Kendon is a member of Outlandish. Outlandish strives to live and share a transformative approach to tech business that brings about positive social change. In 2016, Outlandish helped to found CoTech, a network of tech co-operatives with a shared vision of a fairer world. In 2017, Outlandish launched SPACE4, a coworking hub in London.
Exit to Community Collective
Tara Merk is a political science PhD researcher focusing on Exit to Community, DAOs, and labour in Web3. She works with the ERC BlockchainGov project, Metagov, and the Exit to Community Collective, a team of people involved in advancing the framework of “exit to community”—enabling startups to become owned and governed by their communities.
Platform Cooperativism Consortium
Aman Bardia is a Ph.D. student in Economics Department at the New School for Social Research (NSSR). Before joining the PCC, he has been a member of the Organizing and Strike Committee with the academic workers union (SENS) at The New School. He has worked on campaigns with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. Bardia, a native of Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) is also the co-founder and editor of Revival, a magazine on left politics homed at NSSR. His research is focused on the uneven and combined development of capitalism in South Asia, and also organizes with SALAM
Katie Michels is Accelerator Lead at Start.coop. She has 15+ years of experience in program management, cross-cultural exchange, and business development in higher education and non-profit sectors. Her experience includes leading a team delivering full-cycle programs focused on entrepreneurship as Program Director at the Saltire Foundation (Scotland) and delivering tailored programs for emerging leaders from 60 countries for the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Ludovica Rogers is a designer and has worked as an architect, process designer, researcher, and campaigner. She is Head of Co-operative Development at Co-operatives UK and leads on all activities related to Tech and Co-ops. For the past three years, she has been running the UnFound programme that supports and promotes platform co-operatives in the UK. Here interests lie in the overlapping spaces between the commons, tech, and finance.
Union Cooperative Initiative
Jonny Sopotiuk is an artist and community organizer and the Managing Director of the Union Cooperative Initiative in British Columbia. The UCI is a new non-profit cooperative building an economy that works for people and the planet through the development and incubation of union-coops that combat exploitative and precarious work.
Emi Do (she/her) is an engaged member of the fediverse as a Community Working Group Operations Team member on social.coop, is a co-operative organizer with Young Agrarians, and works in communications at Sustainability Solutions Group–a worker co-op environmental consultancy. She is coauthor of a recently published book, Cooperatives at Work.
Hosted by the International Centre for Co-operative Management, Saint Mary’s University. The Centre hosts webinars and other online events from time to time, addressing pressing topics in the co-operative economy. View past webinar recordings here.
Accelerating Worker Ownership is co-funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Future Skills program.
This event was also a launch event for a new, in-depth analysis, Co-operatives, Work, and the Digital Economy: A Knowledge Synthesis Report, by Greig de Peuter, Gemma de Verteuil, and Salome Machaka.