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Eight social and economic start-ups chosen for digital mentoring

Eight companies have been chosen for the UnFound accelerator programme, which offers support to social startups setting up as a platform co-op, user-owned online platform or mobile app.

 

 

After an initial application phase, attracting over 20 groups, UnFound will offer the chosen groups an intensive six- week programme of masterclasses and mentoring focused on business support, digital governance, funding strategies, and pitch training.

The eight successful accelerator teams are:

  • CabFair, a ‘co-operative alternative to Uber.’
  • Equal Care Co-op, an accessible care and support matching and care management platform.
  • Schumacher Commons
  • The Media Fund, a cooperative to finance independent media in the UK.
  • The Physio Co-op, a platform for private physiotherapists.
  • We Collective (Weco), a social news platform.
  • Land Explorer, a platform to help people find information on land in the UK.
  • Open Food Network UK, an online tool for buying, selling & distributing local food.

Mentors include Mark Hooper, founder of Indycube, Dave Boyle, director of the Community Shares Company and Emma Laycock who leads Co-operatives UK’s advisory services team.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: ‘We are seeing more and more sectors of the economy disrupted by online platforms, from Deliveroo to Uber.

‘They are revolutionising so many aspects of our workplaces and lives. But what is not changing are the patterns of ownership, where a relatively small number benefit from the success of the platform.

‘Imagine, though, if the platforms we used every day were owned by the workers and the users themselves. UnFound is a great opportunity to kickstart platform co-operatives with some extremely valuable support.

Nathan Schneider, co-organiser of the Platform Cooperativism conference, said: ‘Accelerators like UnFound make it easier for entrepreneurs trying to make their idea real in the world to do it with democracy.

‘For too long, the startup ecosystem has been a game of trying to sell our best ideas to investors looking for exponential profits. Now, startups are starting to have better options. They can truly build their startups for their communities.’

Read more about the programme here.

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