Co-operatives UK has announced the first six platform co-ops which will be taking part in its UnFound Accelerator programme,
The business development project aims to launch a wave of fairer, ethical and co‑operatively owned tech platforms before the end of the year.
Led by industry experts, the teams will take part in a ten week programme, offering them guidance and support on co‑operative working, product development, business planning and strategy, and branding and marketing.
The Accelerator is being delivered by Co‑operatives UK in partnership with Stir To Action, with supported from he Co‑operative Bank.
Programme manager Ludovica Rogers said: “There were lots of inspiring ideas, which shows the potential impact technology can have if controlled and owned by who needs and uses it most.
“We were excited by the diversity of applications in the UnFound Accelerator programme proving that the platform co‑op model can really cater to many different sectors. There were lots of inspiring ideas, which shows the potential impact technology can have if controlled and owned by who needs and uses it most. We look forward to accompanying the UnFound Accelerator participants in their journey of setting up their platform co‑op.”
The six teams are:
- Africanfuturist Arts: a platform to distribute books, films and creative opportunities to benefit its users and members working in the creative industry anywhere in the world especially those with fewer connections to the rich world
- Crystalisr: a marketplace platform enabling South London SMEs to tender for public and private contracts with established organisations and institutions in the area, whilst driving sustainability, and economic inclusion, across South London
- Doorstep Collective: a London based rider‑led platform delivering food from independent restaurants to people’s doorstep
- Dopo: App which combines self‑care, community care and healthcare to support individuals before, during and after their abortion experience by allowing them to track their symptoms, access peer support (anonymously) and the essential information to support all aspects of their experience (medical, physical and emotional) from providers and practitioners
- Red Brick Language School: Teacher owned online English Language Community offering modular courses, subscription clubs, bespoke courses and 1‑1s in English as a Foreign Language
- We‑Guild: Financial mutual aid online platform, based on trust and transparency. It uses the power of technology to boost solidarity and it helps you and others absorb financial blows
Jonny Gordon-Farleigh, founder, of Stir to Action, said:“This new wave of platform co‑ops in the UK is building on our first accelerator in 2018 and national tour in 2019, and it’s really exciting that industry experts, and our first cohort of platform teams, can support another generation of new business ideas, especially as the pandemic is accelerating the digital transformation of our workplaces and society.
“It’s really exciting that industry expects, and our first cohort of platform teams, can support another generation of new business ideas, especially as the pandemic is accelerating the digital transformation of our workplaces and society.”
The teams will be working towards a pitch event on Wednesday 21 July, offering teams the chance to win part of a £10,000 prize funded by The Co‑operative Bank. Furthermore, teams will access expert support and funding opportunities as they prepare to launch their emerging platform businesses.
If you are interested in attending the online pitch event, or learning more about platform co‑ops and future opportunities, please sign up for the UnFound newsletter.
A second edition of the Accelerator will be held in the Autumn, with applications open in June.