What was the Accelerator Program?
Beginning on the 4th of February and running for 8-weeks it was a world first on 2 counts.
- Run to assist the creation of new member-owned businesses.
- Run via crowdsourcing. Using Member-to-Member agreements in exchange for incubation and start up services the Projects got services they needed.
The Program started with 8 Projects and very quickly this became 7, with NeedsMap dropping out when it was realised the Founder didnt have sufficient time to commit at this stage. Of the remaining 7, 5 will be operating member-owned businesses that are servicing customers for member-benefit by June 30th 2019. The remaining 2 projects will continue with their development but due to size and complexity will probably be operational later in 2019.
The incubation process takes an idea – or Project – through 4-stages: Forming, Organising, Funding and Operating.
A project is improved upon at each stage with the direct assistance of the membership of Incubator Co-operative. For example a Project that needed a website agreed a deferred-payment arrangement with a web designer who is also a member of incubator.coop. The Project got the website now when it needed it and the Member will get paid in due course.
Cohort #1 – Feb – March 2019
The Cohort consisted of
Valley and Plains Renewable Energy (Barossa Valley, SA) – A community focused renewable energy Co-operative. With a primary purpose of education but a business model that works by co-financing the installation of solar onto community buildings for the benefit of community.
Valley and Plains has been a stand out performer during the acceleration process. The business is still considering names, but will form as a Co-operative by June 30th. The core team has expanded from 3 to 7 members, they’re engaged with their community, have legal advice on the constitution, have secured their first client deal and will be a role model for similar community owned solar around Australia.
Verge – A CoHousing Co-op (Adelaide, SA).
Verge will not be a Co-operative by June 30th, but it has achieved a lot during this process.
Of particular interest to the broader Co-operative sector will be the concept of a Community Land Trust owning the land and the Co-operative Members owning the buildings. Such a business model can reduce the costs of co-housing membership and achieve affordable housing outcomes. Verge has pioneered this thinking and is looking at additional novel funding options.
Rock and Ranges Craft Brewery Co-operative – A craft brewing Co-operative (Macedon Ranges, VIC)
This Co-operative will launch before June 30th. The project team has grown from 1 person to 9 amazing people during the accelerator program. These new people all bring incredible skills to the table across, legal, marketing, operations, finance and brewing. Pioneering craft brewery Stone and Wood was able to mentor this team at Rock and Ranges about their beer production process and scaling.
TideWater – A tidal powered desalination plant (Adelaide, SA)
When TideWater came into the Accelerator Program it was just a concept. A concept that hoped would one day necessitate the creation of an employee owned manufacturing facility. However to get to the point where a manufacturing facility is required we needed to go from concept stage all the way through to a field-tested prototype.
As of now TideWater is a private company. The company has attracted the support of an executive leadership team of 3 people (up from 1 at the start), financiers, engineers and marketing partners. In the coming months it will go live with a crowdfunding campaign that it hopes will fund the development of the first field-testing prototype.
Chooks SA – An online community seeking to close the gender investment gap forming into a Platform Co-op and female-founder incubator – (Adelaide, SA)
This amazing team have developed incredibly throughout the accelerator program. They will form a hybrid by June 30th. A hybrid is a Company governed under the Corporations Act and issuing ordinary shares to shareholders. However the company constitution and classes of shares provide that “1-member, 1-vote” signature of a Co-operative. This pioneering work may be useful for the sector at large.
Keep an eye out for the Hen House, opening soon.
Loconomics – A US based platform Co-op looking to localise in Australia (Melbourne, VIC)
Loconomics is already and incorporated association and will continue to develop. It is working on options including providing gig workers with tools to do their work and clients via social procurement. They have developed good relationships (more people and more involvement of people in the team) and collateral (business plan, financial models, website) in the time during the accelerator program.
The cross pollination between the successful US version and the AU version as it develops is a world first.
Carbon Farming Collective – (Queensland)
The Carbon Farming Collective is still developing, but during the accelerator program was able to firm up many critical relationships including with Land to Market and Carbon Farmers Australia. Much of the business needs to remain confidential.
Thank You To The Project Teams
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As a Co-operative Member you get all the benefits of a Social Member plus:
- Vote on the direction of incubator.coop
- Access courses, webinars, web-tools and software
- Exchange with other Members using the security of a Treaty
- Nominate / Become a Mentor
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