The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic impact creates a number of choices regarding the ideas, models and economic futures we want to invest in as we move toward a growing focus on economic recovery. Many have long known we need to move toward a “next” economy, and this has taken on new urgency with the recognition that cracks in old systems and models are being made far more visible by this crisis. Many have also known that more diverse voices are needed at the decision-making table. Centring the knowledge, experiences, and histories of communities that are historically, persistently, and systemically marginalized is vital to an economic recovery that works for all.
The Economic Renewal Lab (ERL) is a capacity building, advocacy, innovation, and research platform which ultimate goal is to ensure the economic crisis and recovery narrative reflects a shift towards investing in and prioritizing social and community outcomes. It is envisioned as being co-created and co-governed with new and existing social economy actors contributing insight, resources, and networks. Together, we will work on building justice, equity, and inclusion in BC’s social economy, creating demonstration projects that showcase new ways of approaching economic challenges, and building collaboration and innovation capacity across the social economy sector.
We’re building a consortium of committed actors who would like to create a shared platform for innovation, funding and advocacy for sector needs. If you or your organization are a part of building BC’s social economy, we’d like to hear from you. We’d also like to hear from you if your thoughts go to questions such as: How might community owned solutions displace private senior’s care? Can we build locally owned food delivery apps that support workers and help local restaurants avoid extractive 30% app fees, as they increasingly rely on delivery? As fragile and exploitative supply chains are exposed, how might we localize healthy, accessible, just food systems in our communities? How might we buy and sustain important local businesses that may otherwise be lost (and perhaps transition them to social purpose structures)? Could depressed asset prices become an opportunity for the social sector to bring them into shared ownership, and how could this be facilitated?
In the future we will be creating innovation programming that will involve calls for applicants – if you’re someone who has a novel idea for a business model or intervention, or just an interest and commitment to being a part of building a thriving social economy, drop us a note to be notified when opportunities arise.