The below principles of Next Economy enterprises are criteria adapted from the World Centric’s Impact Accelerator Pilot. I find them to be relevant reference points and a useful checklist for any social venture striving to create a business that honors people, planet, and fair share as its underlying principles for change, particularly at a time in world history where the life sustaining systems on planet earth are on the verge of collapse.

  1. Equitable/democratic culture/workplace

    1. Social enterprises that embrace some form of democratic processes.  The social enterprise could be a worker-owned cooperative or a consumer cooperative or at least have some methods for current and prospective employees to be involved in some practice of self-determination and ownership

  2. Transparent – clear about supply chain, practices, finances, benefits, cost (e.g., true cost accounting)

    1. this builds a culture of mutual understanding, trust and inclusion where responsibility can be pushed out to everyone in the company.

    2. An example of this principle in practice is Open Book Management

  3. Surplus reinvestment – profits are shared or redistributed

    1. The enterprise intends to be of the greatest beneficial impact not to achieve individual outsized return and wealth hoarding.  ‘Surplus’ means the enterprise strives to be fully self-sustaining financially.  In some cases, if necessary and if the impact is great enough, the organization may exist depending on gift and not be self-sustaining.

  4. Support of local alternative economy ecosystem (local supply chain)

    1. The organization will proactively seek relationships with other locally owned organizations and where possible seek to transact with them in support of alternative currencies and trading systems where possible

    2. An example would be BerkShares – local currency for the Berkshire region of Massachusetts or BayBucks in the Bay Area, CA.  

  5. Zero waste

    1. In the design and delivery of your good or service you are acutely considerate of the energy and material resources used and seek to eliminate all waste and, where possible, create beneficial impact rather than just no waste. An example of this would be Revive Drinks, in Windsor, CA.

  6. Ecosystem integration  – whole systems thinking (e.g., stormwater investment, habitat for owls, etc.)

    1. Where the enterprise has an asset like a vehicle or a warehouse or any material supply – consideration is given and investment is made, as appropriate, to leverage said assets for the benefit of all life.  e.g., The vehicle would be electric or run on locally produced biofuel.

  7. Whole system finances

    1. The enterprise considers and chooses financing and financial transaction strategies that support the emergent alternative beneficial financial ecosystem.  This might include banking with a CDFI or local Credit Union, choosing a non-profit merchant bank, supporting complementary currencies, financing the company (if necessary) from internal growth, or DPOs or from crowd financing

  8. Accessible & Equitable  – affordable, or available to as many as possible

    1. Next economy enterprises should not seek to supply goods only to the affluent few, but should strive to continually refine the enterprise model to make needed goods and services more and more accessibly to all in need by lowering prices and investing in supply chain innovation to make the good or service available to all

  9. Living wage, wage cap, culture of simplicity (balance, benefits)

    1. Designing the enterprise to care for all labor involved by supporting a living wage with a rich enterprise culture that supports the full life potential of the individual employee

  10. Education embedded into product service

    1. Where possible, because the good or service is needed, embed education into the product or service so that the consumer of the good or service might be able to provide the good or service for themselves and others someday if reasonable and possible

  11. Self sustaining business model, designed to take little to no capitalization

    1. Enterprise will be funded by own revenue, not dependent on future financing, grants, or rebates.*

    2. * In certain cases it may be self-evident that the greatest impact comes from operating the organization as dependent on subsidy and gift.  

  12. Scale by replication

    1. The intention of the enterprise is to grow through a proof of concept and scale up the organization to model and demonstrate a regionally appropriate approach to meeting a core human need and to grow from there by replication – i.e., open sourcing the business model itself so that it can be replicated (regionally adapted, of course) to any appropriate human settlement. An example would be Arizmendi Bakery

  13. Open source

    1. Where possible the enterprise would open source its technology and processes for use in other regions by other enterprises intending to meet the same needs and demands.  Defensive patents or protections would be considered if needed.

  14. Innovation – technology  or processes that already exist that has not been applied in a particular way or particular combination

    1. The enterprise will probably not require extensive research and development.  It is anticipated that most or all of the technology used in the good or service delivery already exists.
1 Comment
  1. Kevin Muno 10 years ago

    Keep up the great work Erin! Love this article!

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