DevSummit07:Co-Op Story Share in Nonprofit Technology Enterprises

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Facilitated by Brattleboro Tech Collective, Chicago Technology Cooperative, Electric Embers, Openflows, Sulá Batsú and others

A range of participants from nonprofit and social change technology co-ops will be present at the Summit. This session will employ a story-telling format to share learnings and compare experiences around co-op oriented business models.

Session Notes

Attendees

Brent: Electric Embers (formerly of TechUnderground) Kevin: TechSoup Larry: Open Flows Jessi: Riseup Collective? Dan: working to support low-income women led co-ops Jim: Chicago Technology Cooperative (no Illinois co-op tax status, filed at Inc) Elijah: Riseup Collective (co-op referrals) Dave, Josh: Brattleboro Tech Collective (lots of changes) Antoine: Koumbit (open business model) Lena: Costa Rica Knowledge Co-op (goverance issues, social enconomy movement) Eric, Colin, Ben: Quilted

Topics

  • Worker Co-op Forum
  • Workplace Democracy, Worker Co-op
  • "real" Worker Co-op vs LLC, Inc, etc
    • lack of legal/financial knowledge around worker co-op model
  • How to do distributed co-op?
  • How to start of cooperative?
    • bylaws.coop idea
  • Worker Co-op Conference?
  • Costa Rica Co-ops laws cause difficulty in starting and organizing. Model in Costa Rica designed for different economy.
  • Difficulty in US is different rules/laws in each state.
  • Vermont Cooperative Law?
  • IRS require certain bylaws
  • Worker Co-op: seperate goverance (1 member, 1 share, 1 vote.) from ownership.
    • Distribution of dividends based on work not ownerships
    • Can be free formed based on bylaws
  • Salary in Co-op is a share of the income, not really "salary". Owners, not employees.
    • can be owner and employee in some cases
  • Intellectual Property
    • shared ownership or IP or co-op ownership IP
  • Non-profit registration vs Co-op registration
    • someplaces require critical mass of "owners" (5? Canada, 18 Costa Rica)
  • ICA? prototype worker co-op format, by-laws.
    • customize by-laws
    • find lawyers that support co-ops
  • Advocacy Groups for Co-ops can be less expensive than lawyers
    • National Society of Accountants for Co-ops
  • Knowledge Bases, Federations, Support Groups
    • No Boss?
    • Participatory Economics
    • CWA Locals
    • Society for Technical Communicators
    • Freelancers Union

Structural Ideas

  • split of new co-ops at certain number of owners
  • separate into autonomous committees
  • equal sharing of roles vs separting business roles
  • equal sharing of profits vs work hours/quality/etc
  • health insurance options (society for technical communicators, freelancers union, washtech)

Other Technology Support Co-ops

  • GAIA Host Collective
  • May 1st
  • Chicago Technology Co-op
  • Eggplant
  • Kariva (Colombia)
  • design action collective
  • baluga in Washington.
  • tech co-op in montreal (name?)
  • igeric? (maybe Agaric Design Collective)
  • twin oaks (was this the income sharing community or a tech group?)
  • c4 tech collective
  • skyhouse consulting (tech business of income sharing household Skyhouse)