Currently, the association is an unincorporated co-operative of social enterprise consultants, educators, researchers and assorted supporters who share an interest in multi-stakeholder models of social enterprise based on the member-ownership principles of the social economy.
On 16th February, the FairShares Model 1.2a was published with supporting documentation on the FairShares Wiki (http://www.fairshares.wikispot.org). In the course of 2013, a number of important documents were also deposited in the Sheffield University Research Archive:
- FairShares Model - Introduction: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/6635/
- Model Articles for a Company: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/6636/
- Model Articles for a Co-operative: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/6637/
- Academic Paper on the Intellectual Antecedents of the FairShares Model: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/7503/
In 2014, we look forward to V2.0 of the FairShares Model in the Spring which will include changes recommended by the co-operative adviser at the FCA as well as user comments and feedback. Work is also under way to port the FairShares Wiki to the MediaWiki software platform (used by Wikipedia). Lastly, we will take the next steps to realise Steve Wagstaff's data model for a web-based administrative system for FairShares companies and co-operatives.
Growing Supporter Base
As of today - 30th December 2013 - the association has 46 registered supporters and 225 members of a LinkedIn Group. Nearly all are experienced advisers, consultants, educators, researchers and co-operators supportive of social enterprise. We hope to attract a number to the association's first AGM to incorporate the network and establish some governing processes.
Whilst I'm sure that other founders have been spreading the work about FairShares, it is striking for me to note just how many places I've been invited to formally give presentations and talks on the FairShares Model (see below). Many presentations included a diagram similar to the one below - something which has helped to communicate the model's core concepts and political commitments.
- 15th July - ESRC Seminar, Reconstructing Social Enterprise, Manchester Met University
- 18th July - Co-operative and Social Enterprise Summer School, Sheffield Hallam University
- 24th July - Research Colloquium on Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford University
- 4th Sept - Work, Employment and Society Conference, Warwick University
- 9th - 11th Sept - British Council Lecture Tour, Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Indonesia (4 universities)
- 31st Oct - Chelmsford Ideas Festival, Anglia Ruskin University
- 13th Nov - Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference, Cardiff City Hall
- 9th Dec - Social Economy Conference (organised by SLAP), VERN University, Zagreb
- 12th Dec - Co-operative Councils Innovation Network, Unison Head Office, London
There's good evidence that supporters in the network have been talking extensively about FairShares. Cases Ltd continues to work out how to use the first FairShares Company registered in the UK to organise an international network of consultants, associates and social licensees. Secondly, in the north of the UK, Rotherham Ready are now poised to create their first FairShares Company - they will meet me in January to prepare registration documents. In the south, The Magpie Co-op planning a restructure for its worker co-operatives using the model.
While most supporters are UK based, we also have supporters based in Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, France, Croatia, Sweden, Italy and Germany.
Personally, I have two firm goals for 2014. The first is to lead an EU funding bid from Sheffield Hallam University, to include Social Enterprise Europe (UK and France) and SLAP (in Croatia) in a bid to research the barriers and enablers to FairShares in EU countries. The second is to follow up this year's paper on the origins of the FairShares model with a new paper about the way association supporters are developing practice.
Have yourself a fabulous New Year celebration and wherever you are watch this space in 2014....