Our next initiative is a peer learning cohort—but first, we need to hear your story so we can serve you and your community!
We're doing research because we don't know yet what people need in practice to successfully Exit to Community. Why a cohort? People told us that our E2C sessions were substantial and inspiring, but they need resources and support to make progress. We’ve described what an “Exit to Community” might look like in our new zine and this introductory article, but there are no real good case studies—not yet.
This peer learning cohort is our way of organizing what we hope is just enough skills, material, and more for a group to make progress towards an Exit to Community.
More broadly, we’ve seen calls for economic justice reach more corners of society, even over the past year of E2C sessions. Startup founders are curious about how to align their companies with the communities they set out to serve. However, democratizing company ownership isn’t easy: the startup ecosystem—the investment models, accelerator cultures, and ambition of a profit-maximizing “exit” by acquisition or IPO—tends to work in the opposite direction. Since November 2019, we've been testing out a new strategy, which we call “Exit to Community” (E2C) and along the way, dozens of startups have inquired about getting deeper support to move further toward an E2C option. In response to this, we're organizing an E2C peer learning cohort to build skills and capacity required for a transition to community ownership. This has been a truly moving organizing effort with Zebras Unite and the MEDLab. But, again, we need more.
We are planning this cohort as a 10-week session, starting in October. It includes peer learning, mentor support, and resources across our broad community and network to help startups make progress. It will likely be covered by scholarships. We’re doing this because each group of cofounders considering an Exit to Community has a unique situation with their community users, workers, owners, and other stakeholders. While there are many startups trying to make progress, there is no single case study or model. People continue to ask us for help, and this is our best answer. But we need to work together to learn what skills and resources are truly required for a transition to community ownership.
Help us design a cohort that serves our broader community, including you, by sharing your story in this simple 5-minute survey. We’ll review responses until September 21, so please fill in the survey ASAP.
Thank you in advance for your help! Take the survey and we'll thank you with shout-outs, too. And hopefully we’ll have a cohort program you’ll want to join.