Subject: Civic Engagement, Community Building, Community Resources & Cultural Assets, Neighborhood Organizing
Presented in: 2011
At this panel discussion, participants learned the basics of collaborative consumption—sharing, swapping, bartering, trading, or renting access to products as an alternative to ownership. Four speakers, all small business owners, spoke about community building and their experience as social entrepreneurs.
Moderator Christina Rindi described how she started Mo Foods, a small food company that takes surplus food from the community and turns it into delicious food products.
Micki Krimmel, founder of Neighborgoods.net, a web-based company designed to help people “save money and resources by sharing stuff with your friends,” spoke about the need to bring back neighborhoods, and to create trust through the exchange of goods. “The value is more than just earning ten dollars,” Krimmel said. “The real value is that relationship.”
RelayRides owner Shelby Clarke, whose web business focuses on neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing, explored how individuals could help strengthen communities. For him, the answer was to use the Internet to create a “somatic” community of neighbors helping neighbors by loaning out their cars.
Barbara Pantuso, founder of HeyNeighbor!, a web company that builds a network “for trusted neighbors to connect and collaborate,“ explained how lending a hand to neighbors through the use of “microfavors” can help solve problems on a community level.
The panel concluded that it not necessary to be a non-profit to do something good for society. As their businesses have shown, for-profit enterprise in today’s society can be sustainable and effective in creating change.