In New York, a new mobile app could revolutionise business growth for worker co-ops in low-income industries.
An initiative between the house-cleaning co-op Si Se Puede! (We can do it!) and a group of researchers from Cornell Tech graduate school aims to allow them to offer home-cleaning services to a wider spectrum of clients. The low-wage workers can therefore be connected to the ‘digital sharing economy’.
The Coopify app was unveiled at the Platform Cooperativism event in New York last November. Clients can easily request house cleaning through the app, which is owned by the cleaners themselves.
Melina Diaconis, an MBA candidate who helped develop the app, said the businesses could grow and “won’t have to rely on the bottleneck of office managers for bookings”. It therefore removes the middleman. She also assured that “the money is going to the worker, not the business of the Coopify platform.”
The partnership has been in the works for two years. The developers from Cornell and cleaners from Si Se Puede! connected via Robin Hood, an organisation dedicated to fighting poverty in New York.
Together, the developers and workers have been collaborating to create unique features on the app such as multiple languages, ease of use (they believe ordering a house clean should be like booking an Uber), and a connection with Facebook to allow people to easily spread the word.
Emma Yorra, the co-director of the cooperative development program at the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn, works with Si Se Puede! and also presented at the Platform Cooperativism event. She says Coopify should “bring a face and a sense of community to the app-based booking world.”
Coopify will be unveiled in beta form in spring, before a full release in the autumn.