Cooperacy through Community Stakeholders and Shareholders


Cooperacy is defined as the four C’s: Community, Content, Connectivity, and Cooperation.  Community Development Cooperatives, CDCs, represent demographic areas which may be rural and remote communities, incorporated or unincorporated municipalities, urban or suburban communities.  CDCs may collectively organize as a federation of cooperatives to the benefit of a larger geographic and demographic area which may then encompass counties, districts, states, and countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_federation

Perhaps to make things more simplistic a graphical representation of what your community needs to do to empower itself with its own resources is needed.  So, below you have on the left community stakeholders made up of the community’s residents, businesses, associations and institutions in the form of a cooperative, either for profit or not for profit.  On the right you have an enterprise, a company, a corporation with shares controlled 51% by the community development cooperative.  The remaining 49% may be made up of investments by individuals or corporations or institutions.  Those investors may have an exit strategy in which case the enterprise could become wholly owned by the CDC and eventually become a cooperative endeavor itself.  The enterprise may return profits in the form of dividends back to the shareholders and hence the stakeholders, the CDC.  The enterprise could be a cannery, lumber company, casino, utility company, or whatever; but for our broadband purposes and its importance to local economic development, let’s call the enterprise a community media centre.

Separating stakeholders from shareholders has the initial advantage of efficiency and bringing resources through incentives to a community that might not have the necessary resources.  It also has the advantage of protecting the interests of incumbents and fostering their business, such as the local ISP or local newspaper.

The biggest difficulty is finding a community champion and getting started.  I advocate initially creating C-3PO which could in turn evolve into a CDC.  Basically, a few companies and/or individuals with required skills may get together to create a community cloud cooperative, a community portal cloud, the community’s economic development content seed.

A great example of this cooperacy is in Sangudo, Alberta, Canada, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgZzi80Jwns where the local development cooperative, Sangudo Opportunity Development Co-operative, facilitated a custom meat packer.  Cooperacy follows a tribal model, just as Native Americans and Canada’s First Nations have been creating businesses such as lumber companies, canneries, casinos, etc. using this methodology. 

A CDC would then form a community foundation.  Local government could transfer public land into the foundation for bond issues to facilitate schools or other community needs.  

The possibilities are immense.

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