Ministry funds network management „Platform Coops“ to strengthen the digital cooperative economy in Germany
„Platform Cooperativism“ is the idea of restructuring the global platform economy. Platform cooperatives, short „platform coops“, include cooperatives with a digital business model, but also other forms of enterprises that are rethinking ownership and governance.
In front of this background, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) is now funding the networking activities of the Platform Cooperatives Germany eG and the K8 Institut für strategische Ästhetik gGmbH as part of the Innovation Program for Business Models and Pioneering Solutions (IGP).
The project partners plan to develop an innovative network program in which a professional network will be created for companies of the digital, cooperative economy.
„With this innovation network we want to make the cooperative, digital economy in Germany visible, as well as strengthen and establish it. To this end, we are working out a strategy for a mutual knowledge transfer, examining the framework conditions and creating a creative environment for the development of pioneering solutions and experimental spaces“ says network manager Claudia Henke, board member of Platform Cooperatives Germany eG and the agency for social innovation h3-o eG, explaining the central concern.
The aim is to develop alternatives to existing monopolies in the platform economy and to support companies in the cooperative economy in becoming competitive on the international platform market. A further goal is the development of sustainable business models beyond the much criticized monopolies of the sharing economy, such as the current launch of Fairbnb in Berlin as an alternative to Airbnb. In the process, a network structure of the funded project „Platform Coops“ is being set up to create a common infrastructure and to be able to represent common interests externally.
Ela Kagel, also network manager at „Platform Coops“ and board member of the cooperative, as well as managing director of SUPERMARKT Berlin, explains that „within Europe, successful projects are currently being developed that rethink the ownership and governance of companies. We want to see important impulses and model projects for this constantly growing movement to come from Germany in the future.”
For this reason, iteratec nurdemteam eG also became part of the initial network. The board of directors of the iteratec nurdemteam eG work on behalf of their members on the structure and design of the cooperative, whose members will in the future assume the role of owners of the GmbH by purchasing the iteratec GmbH. Board member Dr. Michael Gebhart hopes that the initiative will „develop innovative, future-oriented business models together with the network partners from the emerging industry of platform cooperatives and open up new markets.”
Magdalena Ziomek, board member of SmartDE eG, which offers financial and work related securities as well as a platform for business generation to self-employed people and professionals, would like to convince „new members for her cooperative and thus strengthen the ecosystem of the cooperative economy as an IGP network partner herself.”
The other network partners have similar motivations and ideas:
- Felix Weth, managing director of the software marketplace company FDO Solution GmbH,
- Estelle Goebel-Aribaud, marketing manager of hosting provider Hostsharing eG,
- Bodo Frommelt, board member of the data protection provider Deutschen Datenschutz-Genossenschaft e.G.,
- Gerald Wiegner, board member of the marketing agency UDG eG and chairman of the advisory board of the CoopGo Bund. Verband freier Genossenschaften und Kooperativen e.V.,
- and Zsolt Szentirmai from the streaming and IT provider Streampark GmbH & Co. KG.
Hostsharing eG and Deutsche Datenschutz-Genossenschaft eG will demonstrate an example of a cooperation that is already working and can be quickly expanded with the CoopConf solution. With the problems of the US Privacy Shield recently identified by the European Court of Justice, it is all the more important to use trustworthy servers in Germany or the EU. Hostsharing provides computer and network capacities operated in Germany, while DD-eG offers a professionally oriented video conferencing service with BigBlueButton, a free open source solution.
According to startup and management consultant Andreas Arnold, who is also a network manager in the project “Platform Coops” and a founding member of the Platform Cooperatives Germany eG, the first steps of the network work will be „a mapping of the cooperative economy and a needs analysis“. Interested cooperatives, companies and prospective customers can register for it under firstname.lastname@example.org.