On June 28th, partners from the FairShares Labs met up with the FairShares Institution, based at Sheffield Business School within Sheffield Hallam University, UK. The FairShares Institute actively supports and develops international partnerships that advance the use of the FairShares Model in education, knowledge transfer and research activities related to the fields of co-operative leadership and social entrepreneurship. Between them they hosted an event for social entrepreneurs and academics to meet and hear more about the FairShares Labs project. Thirty-eight people attended, from seven different countries with a networking lunch beforehand.
Dr Rory Ridley-Duff, a founder of the FairShares Association, gave a brief introduction to the FairShares Model. He explained how it allows the wealth and power to be shared across all of the enterprises’ primary stakeholders (Founders, Investors, Labour and Users) and enables the creation of sustainable and ethical multi-stakeholder social enterprises. This was followed by an explanation of the FairShares Labs project by Roger Schmidtchen, the European project coordinator. Representatives from each of the FairShares Labs partners then gave an explanation of their particular involvement in the project with regard to their home country; Croatia, Germany, Hungary, and Netherlands. Finally, Dr David Wren gave a presentation on some of the tools available from the FairShares website (www.fairshares.coop) that can help potential entrepreneurs to refine exactly what the purpose of the enterprise is and how they can implement the FairShares Model. Questions were taken from the audience.
After a break, a “World Café” learning event took place whereby six key questions regarding the FairShares Model were posed (for example “What values and principles guide the choice of goods/services offered?“). The purpose was not to answer the questions but to discuss how people could learn how to answer the questions. This will be appropriate for the FairShares Labs which will train trainers to then work with social entrepreneurs. FairShares Labs partners each stayed on a table with a specific question and everyone else rotated around the room in groups sharing their experiences and learning tips. This technique allowed for lively interaction and an increase in understanding which will be very helpful for future training courses.