A few months ago I found out about a unique coworking space in New York City. In Good Company caters exclusively to women business owners and provides them not only with an extremely convenient and elegant working environment, but also with valuable support and collaboration opportunities.
I visited the space last April during a trip to the city and had a chat with co-founder Amy Abrams.
How did you get the idea for In Good Company?
My business partner Adelaide Fives and I worked together for about three or four years in a consulting practice with women who were in career transition or women business owners who were experiencing problems. Over the years we found these women kept articulating the same challenges. They had this tremendous sense of not knowing anybody else who was doing this and when they had to see clients they didn’t have a place to meet them. We always wanted to give them a resource to solve this sense of isolation. We couldn’t find that resource so we decided to create it on our own. We thought that what these women were missing was a community of peers, and a place to work at when they needed it. A lot of good resources were getting lost because people didn’t know how to share them.
We knew we wanted to have a physical space and allow people to rent it when they needed it. That already existed, but the key component to what we wanted to do that was different was this sense of community. So we described ourselves as a community membership and a community workspace. In order to ever use our space you have to be a member of our community.
A recent New York Times article looking at several examples of microcredit programs around the world notes that their efficiency is increased when business skills are also taught to the receivers. Small business owners thrive when povided with basic entrepreneurship skills and networking opportunities, which allow them to discover new approaches and ideas.
An article in Yes! magazine’s summer issue presents local currencies as a way to limit the effects of the recession by stimulating local economies. Local currencies such as the Chiemgauer in Germany or BerkShares in Massachussetts force cash to be spent in local businesses, thereby maximizing the use of profits and reconnecting citizens with their community.
The entire issue is devoted to the new economy, showing examples of how to give the control of our global economy back to citizens, from local banks to worker co-ops. Quite interesting…
The Internet-based lending program Kiva will now turn to the United States to fight poverty after serving third world countries for the past four years. Its president Kemal Shah said access to credit has become more difficult for small business owners because of the economic crisis, particularly in the U.S.
Kiva allows individual lenders to finance small businesses without receiving any interest in return. So far, more than half a million lenders have contributed almost $80 million to business owners in the developing world.
Grameen America, another microcredit program, also started operating in the U.S. after winning a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for their activities in third world countries.
Source: BBC News
Creative class champion Richard Florida had a column in the Globe and Mail yesterday in which he discusses Obama’s bailout plan. Florida says it’s time to forget about infrastructure when putting together bailout packages because the new economy will be based on something else: creativity. Scientists, engineers and artists are the new driving force of our economy and are worth investing in more than highways.
The creative economy already includes roughly 30 per cent of Canada’s work force and about a third in the U.S. It accounts for more than half of all wages and salaries paid in each country. So, if the stimulus were allocated proportionately, between $250-billion and $375-billion should have gone to the U.S. creative economy; in Canada, the figure would be $12-billion to $20-billion.
Florida makes a parallel with the New Deal, which at the time focused on infrastructure and assembly line products instead of the aging agricultural system. It’s time for us to make the transition to the new economy.
The Globe and Mail published an article last Monday about the Segway, this gas-free personal transportation device that was launched in 2001. It is small (with only two wheels,) doesn’t emit greenhouse gases and is great to use on short distances, like commuting to work. The Segway would solve so many of our problems related to oil prices and climate change, but its use is forbidden in most countries (most of the time the legislation says it can’t be used on the road and on sidewalks, which makes it pretty much useless.)
I have another idea for a small carbon and gas-free personal transporter. It’s called the bike, it’s cheaper and makes you stay fit.
Read the Globe and Mail article and a Daily Mail article which describes another way to use the Segway.
As oil prices rise, so do transportation and fabrication costs. Plastic is already more expensive to manufacture. How long will producers and consumers be able to bear the hikes for? An American manufacturer has dared to do the unthinkable and gone ahead to redesign the sacred gallon milked jug.
An article published today in the New York Times describes how Superior Dairy, a company based in Ohio, has introduced new milk jugs in Wal-Mart and Costco stores. The new jugs are easier to stack and can be transported by bigger quantities, allowing the number of delivery trips to the stores to be reduced. The company saves time, energy and labor. According to customers, the jugs are a bit difficult to handle at first but hey, can anyone come up with a better idea?
Learn more about milk jugs on greenUPGRADER and Design Research.
Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for their microcredit activities in the Third World. And since it worked so well over there, they’re now bringing their services to North America. Grameen America recently started lending small amounts of money to prospective entrepreneurs in Queens, N.Y., while other cities in the United States and Canada are intending to launch similar programs.
While the New York Times dedicated an article in April to Grameen’s operations in Queens, the Globe and Mail published today the summary and some excerpts of an interview with Yunus.
Rob Walker knows everything about our relationship with brands and advertising and why we (almost) always fall for it. Or at least, the blogger and New York Times columnist tries to dig deeper into the subject in his new book Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. The book analyzes branding in its traditional and newest forms, acting as a little brother to No Logo.
Walker created the term “murkering” to define a new genre of subtle and disguised marketing and “the blurring of the line between art and commerce.”
A Globe and Mail article about the book mentions a recent ad campaign for Vespa in the streets of Montreal made by the agency Dentsu, which consisted of life-size black-and-white posters representing hipsters whose heads had been replaced by the front of the iconic scooter (the campaign was also launched in Toronto.) The posters were directly pasted on the walls of buildings, without any other indication of what the ad was for except for the Scooter head.
Read on another review of the book in Time magazine.