We’re delighted with today’s announcement from Omidyar Network and Co-op Foundation that our work in Federation will be supported over the next two years. Both Omidyar Network and the Co-op Foundation share values that resonate deeply with what we are trying to achieve in The Federation.
Omidyar Network believe that by investing in people, through opportunity, they will create positive returns for themselves, their families, and the world at large. The Co-op Foundation want to invest in disadvantaged communities capacity to overcome social, economic or environmental challenges.
Many of those challenges are arising through the speed of adoption of technology and new inequalities that are arising as a result. In Federation we want to champion a much more ethical and inclusive digital economy where the benefits are shared much more widely. Over the next two years, with the support of Omidyar Network, the Co-op Foundation will be in a position to offer free co-working space for up to 60 individuals working for social enterprise start-ups. This offer includes desk spaces, meeting rooms and access to our event space. As well as access to the Federation team and wider Co-op colleagues who can help with advice and networking.
The funding will also go to support our events programme which will be curated to answer the question What Does A More Inclusive Digital Economy look like? Featuring a year round programme of talks we’ll be examining areas such as Surveillance Capitalism, Algorithmic Bias, Data, Privacy, The Gig Economy, as well as our comprehensive Tech For Good Live Programme and a focus on Civic Tech including Open Data Manchester and other players in the Civic Tech Scene. We’ll also be developing and sharing content and podcasts to make sure we reach as many people as possible.
We were delighted to recently host the Mayors Digital Summit in Federation and glad to hear that the Mayor recognises that this funding will further strengthen his ambition for Manchester. “I feel the digital economy should embrace collaboration and cooperation as much as it does competition. We need to build groups of people who can collaborate and through that collaboration achieve more together. This funding from Omidyar Network and The Co-op Foundation will provide so much more opportunity to do just this in Manchester. I look forward to seeing the growth in our tech co-operatives, community interest companies and social enterprises as well as a renewed focus on civic tech in the city including Open Data Manchester”
The funding has also been welcomed by the Steve Murrells, CEO of Co-op Group, the main sponsors of The Federation: "We are delighted that Omidyar Network and Co-op Foundation are supporting our work in The Federation. The opening of Federation House is evidence that social and economic revolutions, continue to be driven forward from Manchester and continue to have a strong Co-op influence. And that ‘influence’ is important because, as history has shown us, industrial revolutions and technological innovations have both good and bad sides. So innovation always needs checks and balances. And it needs something more too. It needs a culture and a mind-set that can guide its use so that we enhance life and not diminish it. In short, it needs an ethical approach and a guiding social conscience. That's what this support will enable us to do - raise important questions and provide real and practical support in our emergent tech community"
If you’ve established your tech business as a social enterprise (such as a community co-operative or community interest company) or are thinking of doing so and are interested in working with us at The Federation you can find out more about eligibility here (http://www.thefederation.coop/support)