Hi Matt, and everyone,
I’m one of the Impact Union team - and the person who reached out to Martin.
We aren’t formally incorporated yet, so we’re not that companies house link. We are at a very early stage - the January programme will be our first and is very much a prototype. We hope it will be genuinely useful to the participants, as well as providing some evidence that a new kind of support would be useful and that we can deliver it; we would then use evidence from this to raise funds for a full programme. (or there’s a chance we’ll find it doesn’t work, of course, in which case we’ll share what we’ve learned instead!).
I don’t really like the term ‘entrepreneur’ either; we’re walking a line between being comprehensible to potential mentors, funders and applicants by using existing language, and trying to craft something new which might need new words (we are fairly sure we are not an ‘accelerator’ as this is commonly conceived). Ideas for better terminology welcome
We’re building out the railway in front of the train somewhat at the moment, as we are all volunteers doing this on the side of other activities, but as a team we do have quite a bit of experience in this sort of area, supporting new and growing organisations (and being part of them too). The team involved are listed at the bottom of our launch post / outline.
Hope that helps. My personal motivation is a frustration with the attention and support that for-profit startups, especially those with the kind of investment that seeks high growth, and the lack of support for different kinds of organisation who need support to grow their impact. The organisational form isn’t what matters most - these are organisations seeking to make a difference to social justice or sustainability goals - and yet it’s the first thing that you encounter when seeking that support. Finding a viable business model is hard, and I think exposure to different approaches and ideas is really helpful. Networks are also critical - we’re based in Cambridge, which as a city and scholarly community has good ties around the world, and we hope to put that to good use here.
As I said to Martin, I’d love to have at least one co-op in our January programme. Even if we fail to create something off the ground following this, I want to showcase the different organisational forms which so many people in the local tech and ‘entrepreneurship’ communities are unaware of, and to raise awareness that there are important challenges where more equitable organisational forms can be the best way forward.