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Collaborative Economy

Neighbourhood Exchange Box: Creating links for happy citizens in Switzerland

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boite echange en

He always liked to transform the cities and allow the meeting between the inhabitants to make them happy. Geneva’s Dan Acher presented an original idea; The Neighbourhood Exchange Box. Read more

Startups: A “Village” in full bloom in Paris

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Source: Le Village by CA

The Village by CA – this mysterious name immediately arouses curiosity. These are “Villages” created by Crédit Agricole (CA), enabling startups, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as large groups to join forces with the common objective of cooperating to innovate and to boost the regional economy. In Paris, the “Village” is growing up on the Boétie Street in the very heart of the financial centre of Paris. It has 400 “inhabitants”, 90 startups and 40 partner companies.

The Village by CA nestled in the French capital acts mainly as an incubator for startups. Founded in 2014, it has enabled these young companies to attain a turnover of € 35 million. Among them are Early Birds or Sharepay which have been ranked among the top 100 startups in which it is strongly advised to invest, according to the magazine Challenge.

Source: Le Village by CA
Source: Le Village by CA

Just like a village, Le Village by CA has a village square. There is also a mayor who has the responsibility to manage everything. Within the “Village”, companies flourish as in a real community. They are given the tools they need to grow up and are put in contact with experienced entrepreneurs – such as accountants or lawyers – who do not hesitate to share their knowledge acquired in the field of business.

The Village allows us to push the limits and penetrate areas we did not want to know before

The “Village” also includes partners such as Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Sanofi, Sodexo and Engie. A designated “Village Representative” meets the startups once or twice a week. However, not everyone receives financial support.


Source: Le Village by CA
Source: Le Village by CA

Within the “Village”, pure synergy is at work. The resources and knowledge of some are shared with others. It is a “horizontal” business model where everyone can contribute to development process. Annually, the Village by CA of Paris organizes about 800 events: product launches, press conferences, every event finds its place.

A startup remains in the “Village” for an average of 23 months. Once “weaned”, companies stay in touch through alumni networks. The demand for startups to integrate these “Villages” is high: more than 1,000 applications have been registered within eighteen months.

Regions such as Rouen and Besançon await their first “Villages” in early 2017. The “inhabitants” of the various “Villages” can meet, solicit the support of each other and impart their know-how. The Village by CA equally has its premises in 25 major cities around the world, such as New York, London, Moscow and Shanghai. Each startup can thus evolve into an ecosystem that creates value and innovation.

Library of Things: Why buy when we can share?

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Carpet cleaners, lawn mowers or camping gears are items that we may not need every day. So why buy them? Created as a very efficient alternative to buying, the Library of Things is an innovative friendly space where one can hire a plethora of items at very low cost. This new movement founded on collaborative economy is witnessing an upsurge across diverse communities around the world.  


More and more people are believing in a future of sharing and borrowing. The Libraries of Things are spaces that have emerged to promote efficiency as well as knit solidarity in communities. People are offered a large spectrum of items that they can borrow at very low prices. These spaces are becoming the focal points for mutual help where individuals may equally share their knowledge about a variety of topics.

The Libraries of Things are mushrooming across countries like the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US), Germany, Netherlands or Canada. All share the same vision: give people access to things they need once in a while so they can save money. These libraries are gradually taking the form of a genuine global network.

In London, it is an old container that has been converted into a Library of Things space after several pop-up stores were set up on a trial basis. Its creation was made possible through crowdfunding and donations. The London Library of Things witnessed a surge in the number of members keen to join this new business model.

Here, people can hire power tools to kitchenware after checking availability online and creating an account for free.   Acquiring an item has never been so easy and cheap. The co-founder of the London Library of Things, Bex Trevalyan, is categorical about this form of business model:

Everyone should be able to access useful and life enhancing things when we need them


To be efficient and to remain loyal to the needs of the community, the team responds to feedback from customers. As such, it expanded from simply offering items for hire to offering services. If you ever need an in-house DJ, event promotion or workshop planning, you should consider knocking on the door of the London Library of Things. Another thriving team is the Share Library of Things located in Frome, England. It shares the same objectives as its counterpart in London.

In the US as well as in Germany, the Library of Things is more diversified. Tools and kitchen libraries are among the spaces that are most appreciated and sought after. Members can access to a plethora of tools and appliances without having to spend much. Other Libraries of Things offer recreational kits, instruments for science and technology or music. Unusual ones even lend stuff like neck ties or toys.  In Toronto, The Sharing Depot, which is the first Library of Things in Canada, is proving to be very successful. It quickly expanded to four locations. Members can borrow camping equipment as well as sports equipment as well as party supplies.

Nevertheless, there are certain criteria to be respected to be able to share your products and items. Generally, teams of the libraries proceed with some verification to make sure that the items are of good quality and can be used safely, especially regarding electrical items.

In the same breath, this sharing and borrowing concept is furthermore strengthening the feeling of brotherhood in all communities. This type of collaborative economy is seeing an unprecedented and according to experts, an “irreversible” trend. It is foreseen that such a trend will lead to an efficient use of resources and thus, healthy economies.



ITYF improves the life of 30,000 families in Peru

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In Peru, the main economic activities are mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing. Poverty level is around 26 % and there are some very poor Indigenous population in the Andes. A local NGO, ITYF, supported by Livelihoods, is helping to fight deforestation and improve the health of 30,000 families in Huancavelica and Ayacucho regions. Read more

Local initiatives for organic food booming in France

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Groups of people in various towns in France are calling for sustainable actions for organic food. We have stopped at Champagné-Saint-Hilaire, a town in the department of Vienne, Poitou-Charentes. (Article published by Helen Bannier in We Demain, September 26, 2016. Photo credit: Claire Marquis) Read more

Local initiatives promote rural development and poverty reduction in India

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A cooperative encourages rural development and poverty reduction in India through local initiatives whose goal is to empower women and youth living in rural areas. This broadly the objective of SEWA (Self Employed Women Association) based in the western state of Gujarat. Read more

Unsung heroes’ app distribute food to the needy

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Unsung-App-released-UnsungNo one has to sleep hungry. Especially when across the world, there are enough resources to produce the necessary amount of food so that everyone can eat stomach full. Read more

Cooking with Afghan refugees

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The Weltladen Team Götzis with the refugees

Under the motto “More than just a dining experience” the World Shop Götzis team attempted a very singular action of solidarity; cooking with six Afghan refugees. met the
The idea cropped up last year following the receipt by the Austrian Cooperation Agency for Refugees of six tons of fragrant rice offered by the World Shop Götzis. The purpose of the shops was simple; send a message of solidarity and effective attempt to fight global injustice.

To fight global injustice

As an extension of their approach and as part of their team was still in contact with the refugees, they decided to organize a multicultural culinary evening. With the help of Kathi Lampert School and Birgit Drexel, the gastronomic exploration evening was a success.
Everyone was able to enjoy some quiet and rewarding moments in the company of refugees: Aziz Rahman, Jasin Sultani, Ahmdzai Mansoor, Rahmat Akbari and Farid Ullah. “We want these men to be regularized as soon as possible,” concluded Beate Scheier of Weltladen Götzis.

Austrian helped Syrian refugees

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autrice refugies syrie
Anna Glanz and her team during the distribution of rice boxes

The Mistelbacher Weltladen and EZA (a development corporation in Fair Trade) donated 250 kg of rice to Syrian refugees in Mistelbach, Austria.
The association also collected food like potato and onion from stores and place them in an old warehouse. Then its members proceeded to the distribution of food, once a week, to refugees from Syria who needed primary care. The Green Net Cooperative had also shown solidarity with refugees in Austria and had made available flour and Thai rice to refugees.
This initiative of the EZA, in collaboration with local initiatives for refugees, involved several volunteers and many months of work to assist asylum seekers. “As a professional in fair trade, we must work together to help these desperate people and also fight against global injustice,” said the Director-General Anna Glanz.
The Mistelbach district is a territorial subdivision in the northeast of Austria in so-called Lower Austria, one of Austria’s nine Federal States. It is located roughly 40 km northeast of Austria’s capital Vienna.

Africa startups go green

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Fight against climate change, waste recycling, access to clean and sustainable energy, protecting the environment … What innovative solutions can technology bring to entrepreneurs in Africa to try to stem the climate change and come to the rescue of the planet? (Extract from Samir Abdelkrim Blog, Read more

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