CO-OPERATIVE INNOVATION: POLICIES, PRACTICES AND DEBATES ON SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AND COLLECTIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP/ L’INNOVATION DANS LES COOPÉRATIVES : POLITIQUES, PRATIQUES ET DÉBATS SUR L’ENTREPRISE SOCIALE ET L’ENTREPRENEURIAT COLLECTIF
Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network, Conseil Coopératif Acadien Nouvelle Écosse, Nova Scotia Government & others
Gavin Fridell's Abstract: Over the past decades, cooperative values have increasingly been formally adopted by an array of social enterprise, nongovernmental, and non-‐profit organizations concerned with social justice and collective action but not traditionally considered “cooperatives.” While this has received growing recognition, less has been said about the ways in which cooperative ideals have also become increasingly prevalent in the realm of international cooperation, especially in the Global South. One lead organization in this movement has been ALBA, whose eight member countries have signed a range of agreements devoted to cooperative trade and development initiatives at the state level, as well as officially promoting fair trade, social enterprises, social movements, cooperatives, and local businesses. This presentation will examine ALBA projects in the Eastern Caribbean and reflect on its strengths and weaknesses for promoting new patterns of economic cooperation.
This panel session at the 2012 Co-operating to Build a Better Nova Scotia Conference in Halifax explored co-operative innovation. - Gavin Fridell's abstract is included in the abstract section. - Nanci Lee's presentation concerns itself with microfinance institutions in rural Africa. - Joanne Hussey's presentation highlights innovative social enterprises in Nova Scotia. - Mark TeKamp's presentation looks at the potential for a government procurement policy favouring social enterprises in Nova Scotia. General panel overview: The late 1970s marks the arrival of new forms of communal enterprises. Some of these enterprises adapt the cooperative model, but explore new sectors, such as transportation, insurance and education that cooperatives have avoided. Some are more socially oriented;; using market based tools to address the ills of society. Traditional not-for-profit organizations also entered the arena by engaging in profit-making activities to strengthen their financial autonomy and become more committed to advocating their values without threats of losing financing from big corporations and governments. Others have situated themselves at the intersection of individual financial development and social justice. The trajectories are many and varied, but innovation, social justice and collectivity are common characteristics. Traditional cooperatives gradually find themselves surrounded by these new collective enterprises. Governments and the private sector have also begun to develop partnerships with these enterprises with the aim of achieving shared objectives. These innovative processes have not being without controversies, however. They have not only created an identity crisis, they also attracted questions of accountability, economic mediocrity and ethics. This workshop entertains enthralling case studies, debates, policy implications from academia, government and the cooperative sector. The slides for the presentations are bilingual (English and French). Gavin Fridell has provided a paper, which is only in English. The YouTube URI leads to an audio recording of all four presentations.