DiDIY in Barcelona’s Commons Startup Programme “La Comunificadora”

    Since mid-November, in the city of Barcelona, fifteen projects have been directly benefiting from DiDIY knowledge and guidelines on how to maximise DiDIY positive impacts on society. They are taking part in La Comunificadora programme, exploring the viability of a pro-commons collaborative economy, looking at the social impact and seeking to establish fair relationships among agents.

    “'La Comunificadora' aims to boost projects with training introductory sessions to the sector, business models, alternative funding sources - such as ethical banking and crowdfunding -, business legal structures and entrepreneurial skills”, said Barcelona’s first deputy mayor, Gerardo Pisarello, who today presented the initiative to the press.

    La Comunificadora is a programme to encourage collaborative or sharing economy projects consisting of training, mentoring and support for obtaining finance. It is promoted by Barcelona Activa, the municipal development agency with a plethora of services for startups and enterpreneurs, and produced together with Platoniq, Foundation Goteo, the Free Knowledge Institute, and a large group of people and organisations working for the collaborative economy, free culture and commons movements.

    This first programme is focused on the economy of the commons, taking care of business models combining a p2p collaborative production model and aiming to produce commons-oriented community projects through shared knowledge. These projects propose open or participatory governance while aiming at the economic sustainability of the project.

    If this programme is to be repeated in Barcelona and can be developed in other cities in Europe and elsewhere, an "international collaborative economy network" could be created, and strengthened with the findings and results of DiDIY.

    The following are some relevant projects, from a DiDIY point of view:

    Upcycling de Barri (“Neighbourhood Upcycling”) is a project offering a local service, for Barcelona dwellers, with simple recycling and reuse machines to transform home-generated plastic waste into something useful. It aims to facilitate waste management in smaller, closer circles of production and consumption, achieving a small-scale circular economy replicated in a number of Barcelona neighbourhoods. This could be very significant, in terms of environmental, social and economic impact.

    Aquapioneers promotes sustainable urban agriculture through open-source design and digital manufacturing of aquaponics equipment to grow vegetables using 90% less water and no chemical fertilisers or pesticides. This project combines the concepts of circular economy, open source innovation and local dimension.

    Lendi is a free software project working on a mobile application and cooperative platform as tools for an already forming community which facilitates local lending  of tools and other objects, prioritising access to property. It is developing a reliable system with open accounts in which both hours of work and objects lent are valuable, so that everything related to the operation of the project is counted in an equitable way. www.lendiapp.com

    LibreBanco (“FreeBench”) is based on free design of benches for urban public space which seeks to redirect municipal investment in street furniture to neighborhoods. The manufacture and maintenance of benches will be done in digital manufacturing spaces and already existing carpentry and hardware workshops.


    Actions of the programme

    Five training modules (45h) with individual mentoring (10-15h) by project leaders/teams. The programme includes working with other projects, face-to-face meet-ups, and online collaborative work.

    Module 0: open session, prior to selection of projects (1 session): introduction to the programme and the collaborative or sharing economy, the economy of the commons, open business models, principles and case studies

    Module 1 (1 session): business and sustainability models; knowledge management, open and free licences, governance and production models

    Module 2 (2 sessions): free-as-in-freedom and collaborative tools, their ecosystems and networking (digital platforms, management tools, Internet of Things, digital fabrication, blockchain, DAO)

    Module 3 (2 sessions): co-creation workshop, generating a business model appropriate for the selected project, using the Wotify toolkit

    Module 4 (1 session): Types of legal entities, economic management and platform cooperativism.

    Group mentoring module: Module 5 (1 session): Financing. Resources for obtaining economic support. Crowdfunding workshop; case studies and planning campaigns for projects in the programme.

    Individual mentoring: Working with tutors, each project will define a mentoring plan with one or more mentors according to needs.