Reciproka facilitates the development of a co-owned network of open co-operatives through ownership transfer, network building and co-operative accumulation.
The coming retirement of millions of baby boom entrepreneurs around the world represents an enormous opportunity to catalyse a transition towards a sustainable and community-empowering economy. Together, we can build on the achievements of previous generations to let their legacies continue to strengthen local communities. The generational transfer ahead provides the opportunity to transform private enterprises of retiring owners into sustainable open co-operatives.
By transferring ownership from retiring entrepreneurs to their employees, we ensure owners that their enterprises remain active and anchored in their local community, managed by the very people who have built it up over their lifetimes. This transition can go hand in hand with timely visions how to manage enterprises in democratic and empowering ways as well as embedding deep sustainability in their business models. Together, we can usher in a new era of life-sustaining economics that works for everybody.
While several organizations already provide services for workers and communities to gain ownership over productive assets, we believe that a more systematic approach is required to create an ethical and federated counter-economy able to perpetuate itself on its own.
A network of mutually-owned co-operatives federated around a common accumulation mechanism might just do the trick to instigate a self-propelling co-operative system.
Traditional co-operatives tend to adopt the logic of their market environment by focusing on individual organisational gain rather than the build-up of an integrated, ethical economy. Reciproka functions as a structure to align interests by mutualising ownership of each co-operative under a common trusteeship legal structure.
To turn this federated coalition into a self-propelling co-operative system, it needs a mechanism to accumulate value for further expansion. Therefore, a share of each co-operative’s profits is pooled to feed a common internal investment fund designed to grow this ethical entrepreneurial coalition through further conversions.
Reciproka is a system that facilitates the development of a self-propelling, open co-operative movement through ownership transfer support services, network building and co-operative accumulation.
Reciproka acquires enterprises from retiring owners on behalf of their employees to transition them into “open co-operatives”. While ownership of each co-operative is mutually held between all of Reciproka’s members, governance of the individual enterprises remains with their workers.
Technical and process support is provided to the newly-formed open co-operatives via an internal team of mentors to help them adopt sustainable business models and integrate into a co-operative value chain network.
Reciproka pays its operational and financial expenses, finances new acquisitions of additional co-operatives and pays out an increasing income to its investing members by mutualising a share of each co-operative’s profits for a commonly held fund.
Financial and technical support facilitate individual enterprise conversions. Network building services and common ownership unite the co-operative ventures into a federated whole. The co-operative accumulation mechanism is the missing piece which makes the co-operative system integrated, competitive and financially attractive for outsiders to join.
Owners are provided with an exit strategy by being enabled to sell their enterprises to their employees while being ensured that their enterprise remains operating as a valuable institution in their local community. Owners can also become active members of Reciproka by investing their enterprises as productive capital into the coalition, thus receiving a growing income from Reciproka’s proceeds.
Employees are given the management of their company and receive technical and process support from Reciproka. Besides sharing into their co-operative’s profits, the workers progressively become co-owners of Reciproka as a portion of their co-operative’s profits is automatically reinvested into the internal investment mechanism, and thus receive a growing income from its proceeds.
Citizens can participate in crowd-equity campaigns to support the transition of specific businesses and/or by providing equity to the common fund. This way, citizens can become co-owners of Reciproka, are entitled to a share of the coalition’s proceeds and actively help growing a sustainable, community-empowering economy.
We are currently in the early stages of designing Reciproka and building up alliances for collaboration once we start operating. If you are an experienced facilitator of co-operative ownership transfer, organisational transition, interested in funding Reciproka and/or want to discuss further possibilities to collaborate, please contact us at:
Of course, you are most welcome to also write to us if you are curious to receive more detailed information about Reciproka or just want to have a chat and get to know each other. We look forward to hearing from you and to building a brighter future together,
Janosch Sbeih & Jérôme Birolini