Proposal to improve Irish economy


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This proposal, written for the Your Country Your Call competition, focuses on bringing the community together to work together to improve local economies within the country. It uses a cooperative model, and is modeled on the success of Wenzhou in China.

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Proposal to improve Irish economy

  1. 1. Celtinc Empowering communities Proposal for “Your Country, Your Call” initiative Written by Pamela Loreto and Ross Cranwell April 16, 2010
  2. 2. “Your Country, Your Call” TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Executive Summary 2 1.1. Mission and Vision 3 1.2. Key principles for success 3 1.3. Goals and objectives 3 2. Celtinc Concept 4 2.1. Introduction to Celtinc concept 4 2.2. The Problem 4 2.3. The Opportunity 4 2.4. The Solution 4 2.4.1. Potential within communities 4 2.4.2. How it will work 5 2.4.3. Economic benefits 5 2.4.4. Creating employment 5 2.5. Appropriate for Ireland 6 2.5.1. Why it will work in Ireland 6 2.5.2. Why now? 6 2.6. Challenges 6 2.6.1. Motivation 6 2.6.2. Finding that focus 7 2.7. Summary of concept 7 3. Business model benchmarking 7 3.1. Community Entrepreneurship – Wenzhou Economic Model 7 3.1.1. What is Wenzhou Economic Model 8 3.1.2. Wenzhou Keys to Success 8 3.1.3. How the Wenzhou model applies to Ireland 8 3.2. Tidy Town model 9 3.2.1. What is Tidy Town Ireland 9 3.2.2. How it applies to this proposal 9 3.3. Crowdsourcing 9 3.3.1. Definition of Crowdsourcing 9 3.3.2. Examples of Crowdsourcing 9 3.3.3. How it applies to Ireland 10 3.4. Co-operative Model 10 3.4.1. What is a co-operative? 10 3.4.2. Who uses co-operatives? 11 3.4.3. How do you start a co-operative? 11 3.4.4. How does it apply to Ireland 11 3.5. Conclusion 11 4. Competitive advantage 11 4.1. Advantage within “Your Country, Your Call” 11 4.2. National advantage 12 4.3. International advantage 12 4.4. Competitive points in short 12 5. Management and Execution 13 5.1. Allocation of €500,000 13 5.1.1. Educate Ireland about the Celtinc Initiative 13 5.1.2. Educational conference for county council officials 13 5.1.3. Prize money for best improved towns 13 5.2. Marketing Strategy 14 5.3. Execution 14 5.3.1. County Level 15 5.3.2. Government level 17 5.3.3. Roles & responsibilities 17 6. Conclusion 18 1
  3. 3. “Your Country, Your Call” 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This proposal aims to identify a practical solution to transform the Irish economy and create opportunities for employment by empowering the people and turning communities into cooperatives. Ireland has experienced exceptional economic growth over the past 15 years. Now that Ireland is faced with a crippling recession, one of the key factors that led to the growth of the nation still remains – the Irish people. The Celtinc proposal brings the people of Ireland together to build a better future for the country. Celtinc aspires to drive an entrepreneurial society where every single person has the opportunity to be a business owner, to be part of a co-operative and to have a vested interest in an entity where they have the final call. By aligning the member’s interest to grow the value of the co-operative, people will be motivated to strive for their co-operative’s goals, affect their business in a positive way and have a proliferating effect on surrounding businesses, the community, the country and ultimately their lives. Our proposal, which is based on indigenous entrepreneurship and company ownership, aims to inspire a new, sustainable and achievable way of thinking to reignite not just one industry, but every existing and potential new market. The common denominator amongst every community will be to synergize that skill in labour into one entity and jointly work towards a common economic goal that everyone can contribute to and benefit from. It is from this concept that we have created the proposal, Celtinc. 2
  4. 4. “Your Country, Your Call” 1.1 MISSION & VISION Mission To empower Ireland’s communities to create their own successful and profitable future Vision To drive the Irish economy to a more sustainable future than the Celtic Tiger 1.2 KEY PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESS  Inspiring creativity  Empowering people  Ownership for every citizen  Focusing on community strengths  Targeting foreign capital o Top 20 wealthiest nations by estimated GDP 20091 o Irish Diaspora  Community teamwork  Adaptability  Government backing and leadership 1.3 GOALS & OBJECTIVES Goals Increase GDP to consistent +3% by 2015. To turn communities into profitable cooperatives by bringing people together to work for one common economic or social need. Objectives This can be achieved through the following: Oct 2014 + Oct 2012 - Sept 2014 Oct 2011- Sept 2012: July 2010 - Sept 2011: Planning Execution Momentum Re-Strategise phase. GDP phase. GDP gains on with Steering static at -3% begins to project. GDP committee or recover to jumps to +5- and insignificant +1.5-3%. 7% as community to increase. economy maintain no recovers from less than +3% recession. GDP. 1 GDP Estimate for Richest Countries in 2009 3
  5. 5. “Your Country, Your Call” 2. CELTINC CONCEPT 2.1 INTRODUCTION Celtinc concept The Celtinc proposal’s goal is to drive an entrepreneurial society where every single citizen has a vested interested in the economic success of Ireland’s towns and communities. Through a cooperative business model where towns focus on one niche, with an added incentive of a nationwide competition, we believe that Ireland’s economy can be rejuvenated. We want to place the power to change the fortunes of Ireland’s economy in the hands of the people, to build a sustainable and adaptable economy for the 21st century. 2.2 THE PROBLEM Current economy in Ireland With the real estate collapse and loss of competitiveness in services in recent years, Ireland has entered into an economic recession. As a result, many of Ireland’s highly educated labour force are now unemployed, while others fear for their jobs and livelihoods. Ireland has now found itself in a very challenging economic position that it is finding hard to break out from. 2.3 THE OPPORTUNITY Irish Communities There are circa 4.5 million people in the Republic of Ireland2, made up of over 300 towns3. Within each town, hundreds to thousands of people work in varying industries, each focusing on different areas. Community spirit is strong in Ireland, but there is no common goal bringing people together to develop the economy of towns in the country. 2.4 THE SOLUTION 2.4.1 Potential within communities If each town is made up of a variety of skilled and non-skilled individuals, each with their own talent and creativity, but focusing on different areas, there is a great opportunity being missed. Be it a housewife, a butcher, a pub owner, a farmer – each person within a community has something to offer that could be used to help the greater community. A housewife can entertain foreign tourists, a supermarket can help the local butcher to find foreign distribution opportunities, and a local carpenter can help the locality save money with cost- price insulation – all of whom, under a cooperative community arrangement, would have the incentive to help at no cost. The potential is sitting in every single community, but it is not been taken advantage of because there is no defined means, leadership and incentive for the people and no common goal. By simply bringing this community of people together (unemployed, employed, retired, studying) to focus on one business goal, the prospects for everyone increases dramatically. 2 Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators 3 Towns with a population of over 1000 people 4
  6. 6. “Your Country, Your Call” 2.4.2 How it will work Every community, led by the government and the county councils, will be brought together to decide on one focus for the town. Once a direction is chosen that is deemed achievable and profitable, through a co-operative structure the town will work together to drive it forward and thus grow that community’s economy. 2.4.3 Economic benefits Rather than a “statist” economy where state-owned enterprises and government intervention receive full financial benefits, an entrepreneurial economy managed by the community will drive wealth from the ground up. As individuals and communities prosper, so will counties. As counties prosper, so will the nation of Ireland. 2.4.4 Creating Employment Employment will begin for all potential community members once an initiative is chosen. That employment will be compensated either directly through an agreed salary and profit share of the successful co-operative or indirectly, with the possibility of recruitment from an expanding local business. Direct employment The success of the cooperative will depend on the people. If a town achieves their goal of making a profitable business within the community, the initial non-monetary contributions can become “paid employment” through the profit share retention scheme. (Refer to 5.3.1 Step 4) Indirect employment Indirect employment means employment created outside of, but as a result of, the co- operative structure. This Celtinc initiative will provide a platform for all individuals to showcase their work skills to the larger community. Every individual that participates has an opportunity to show their strengths to a variety of professionals within the community. Then, when any other business in the area has the opportunity to employ as a result of the co-operative, these individuals could be potential candidates. Education and development In addition to creating employment, this initiative will foster learning, which ultimately will grow the professional experience of each individual involved. As community members share ideas and best practices to improve their town, they will indirectly grow their personal skill base – be it a local butcher learning how to garden to improve the local park, or the school headmaster who learns online marketing skills in order to drive more traffic to the local manufacturer or the community at large learning about the basics or business and innovation. In a co-operative, knowledge and skill sharing becomes a part of everyday culture that will enhance education and potential for employment within the community. 5
  7. 7. “Your Country, Your Call” 2.5 APPROPRIATE FOR IRELAND 2.5.1 Why it will work in Ireland This concept will work in Ireland because the Irish have proven with the Tidy Towns initiative (refer to 3.2 for more details on the Tidy Towns model) that we can work as a community for the betterment of our towns. Ireland possesses a young, skilled and entrepreneurial workforce that merely needs to be pointed in the right direction. “People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing. A leader's job is to help people have vision of their potential.” John Porter 2.5.2 Why now? Now is the opportune time to implement this initiative as the morale for the country is low, yet the core strength of the country, our workforce, remains. It is time for the people of Ireland to work together and to take the initiative themselves to change the future of the country, with the support and guidance of the government. While other proposals for this competition focus on one industry, tax incentives or significant financial support from the government, the Celtinc concept puts the power into the people’s hands at minimal cost to the State. At a time when the government cannot readily fund business initiatives or are making significant cut-backs to public spending, this is the most cost effective plan to build a sustainable future, by shifting the emphasis to the people. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. ” Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher 2.6 CHALLENGES 2.6.1 Motivation Ownership One key element for implementation success will be the ownership that each potential member will have for the town’s initiative. It has been proven time and time again that aligning interest through ownership brings greater motivation to increase the value of the entire business. By aligning the member’s interest to grow the value of the co-operative, people will be motivated to strive for their co-operative’s goals, affecting their business in a positive way having a proliferating effect on surrounding business, the community and ultimately their lives. Competitive element Companies often request feedback on their service, but there is rarely the appropriate channel or the incentive for people to help out a business whose success will not directly affect them. This competitive element is the final piece to bring the community completely together to improve the economic environment of the town as a whole. As with Tidy Towns, a competition element will play a vital role in motivating co-operative communities. With a nationwide competition (refer to 5.3.1) at stake, there is the local competitive element to be 6
  8. 8. “Your Country, Your Call” the most improved co-operative community in Ireland. Therefore, even if a community has chosen to focus on one business within the town, each citizen will still want to help every single business in the town so that the town can win the National prize. 2.6.2 Finding that focus Competitiveness In the business world, companies are created because they want to exploit an area where they believe they can be competitive. Under this proposal, communities will have the same strategy. It will be the role of the initial community meetings to select the key business that will drive that community’s economic growth (refer to 5.1 for more details on the process for choosing the focus). Global Markets Each community must “think outside of the box” to look at areas where they can exploit a strength they possess. One of the key factors to success will be targeting businesses that can attract international capital as well as those that can leverage off current, already existing resources. Be it tourism, data entry, customer service, agriculture or any market where a group of people can combine to work together to find a niche, then there is a chance that Ireland can rise above the recession. To stimulate this non-traditional thinking, creative workshops will be held throughout the country for key members of the community. This will educate them on how to shortlist profitable, innovative, sustainable businesses. (Refer to 5.1.2 for more details on the creative workshop events) Sustainability The Celtic Tiger was a temporary economic phenomenon because it was based on a limited amount of favourable conditions. Celtinc is sustainable because every community focuses on a different niche. If one co-operative in the community fails the rest of the county or country can pick it up to fill capacity. Economic growth and development will not be limited to the confines of each town (refer to 3.1.1. for more details on “Cluster economies” in the Wenzhou Economic Model). If a community reaches a tough economic situation or feels another opportunity has become fruitful, each community will be able to adapt. Due to the horizontal organisational nature of a co-operative, they will already have been opened up to the concept of being in control of their own future and will act to maintain it. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. “ George Bernard Shaw 3. BUSINESS MODEL BENCHMARKING The Celtinc concept is based off proven case studies. See below for explanations of these models and how Ireland can adapt. 3.1 COMMUNITY ENTREPRENEURSHIP – WENZHOU ECONOMICE MODEL 3.1.1 What is the Wenzhou Economic Model? 7
  9. 9. “Your Country, Your Call” Wenzhou is a major town in Zhejiang Province, China which drove its economy between 1978 to 2008 from 1.32billion RMB (141mill EUR) to 242.4bill RMB (26.25bill EUR). The means to arrive at such numbers for a rural town on the coast of China was through, what is known as the Wenzhou Economic Model. Wenzhou is a town whose businesses and economy were built, run, created, and sustained by local people. 3.1.2 What were the keys to success in the Wenzhou Economic Model? Innovation Zhejiang is located by the coastal front of China, with no key industries located in the area, relatively small national investment, and scarce resources. The region’s economy lagged from the rest of China, bringing low standards of living. These severe circumstances pressured the people of Wenzhou to break conventional thinking and nurture an innovative and driven entrepreneurial spirit. This thinking helped to create township enterprises and private enterprises, leading to economic growth and even higher income per capita. Concentration on lighter industries Industries chosen by Wenzhou people were strategic, they targeted the following: a) Those that did not require high-technology, allowing for new businesses to enter the market easily; b) Industries where high quality of labour was not necessary, therefore could employ the highest potential number of people; and c) Industries which do not require large amounts of capital to start with quick turnover allowing them to generate cash flow more quickly. Cluster development Though the sizes of each individual enterprise were small focusing on one single product, it was a theme for them to work together to produce one big economic zone. Each enterprise would concentrate on making a product, which would compliment another. This division of labour created economic efficiency strengthening their competitive advantage. Flexible government policy and support Contrary to other provincial governments, the Wenzhou policy makers saw the vital role that these local owned enterprises had in stimulating the economy. The government supported and respected their spirit of innovation allowing them to build economic democracy. In doing so the government were able to concentrate of other macro-economic factors such as: a) Perfecting tax policies; b) Improving infrastructure and construction c) Social welfare d) Improving public services e) Strengthening of financial services 3.1.3 How the Wenzhou Model applies to Ireland The Wenzhou model proves that a town that faces business challenges, such as a lack of natural resources, a lack of skilled workers and a lack of foreign capital, can still be a strong economic force given the right leadership and strategy. This model can inspire every town in Ireland to demonstrate that no challenge is insurmountable to find a niche and grow a local area’s economy. 8
  10. 10. “Your Country, Your Call” 3.2 TIDY TOWNS MODEL 3.2.1 What is Tidy Towns Ireland? “The primary focus of Tidy Towns was to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit. The competition aspect was an important element in developing friendly rivalry that would help boost standards across the board.” “Its success continues, and while it has moved with the times, it still retains the same core principle of its founders - "make your place a better place."”4 “It is a spirit alive and well in all those initiatives and those who participate in them, as well as in the thousands of individuals and organisations who every day take some action, large or small, to improve their local environment, and help make their communities better places to live, work and visit.”5 3.2.2. How it applies to this proposal The key factor that the Tidy Towns initiative has, and continues to show us, is that communities in Ireland can work together successfully for one common goal. This cooperative system has been successful in Ireland before, and now we want to bring the people together again, but for a different purpose. In the case of Celtinc, the common goal is not to specifically improve the local environment (i.e. cleanliness of town), but rather to improve the local economic environment. Tidy Towns has proven that this model can work in Ireland. Celtinc will take the fantastic ground work by Bord Fáilte, the Irish Tourist Board, and by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and expand on it to bring Ireland into a new economic era. 3.3 CROWDSOURCING MODEL 3.3.1 Definition of Crowdsourcing Crowdsourcing is a neologistic compound of Crowd and Outsourcing for the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group of people or community, through an "open call" to a large group of people (a crowd) asking for contributions.6 3.3.2 Examples of Crowdsourcing Your Country, Your Call is based on the crowdsourcing imitative, where people from all over the world come together to contribute their ideas for the goal of rejuvenating the Irish economy with the incentive of a cash prize for the individual participating. Similar crowdsourcing initiatives are common in other industries such as product development and media. 4 - 5 - 6 Wikipedia - 9
  11. 11. “Your Country, Your Call” 3.3.3 How it applies to this proposal Our proposal is based on the power of the group, rather than the individual. Like crowdsourcing, Celtinc will bring the ideas and teamwork of a community together to contribute to one common goal (improving the local economy) with each person given the incentive of financial benefits. 3.4 CO-OPERATIVE MODEL 3.4.1 What is a co-operative? Cooperatives have been around conceptually since 1498*, their contribution to the economy, though often overlooked has been significant. Cooperatives exist in all sectors, in almost every country in the world. According to ICA Global 300 2008 edition, the top 300 mutual and cooperative enterprises in the world, recorded combined assets of $30-40 trillion, with an annual turnover of approximately $1.1 billion US, nearly the size of the world’s 12th largest economy in the world as at 2008. A co-operative is defined by the International Co-operative Alliance ’95 as “An autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically- controlled enterprise.” The co-operatives exist to allow members to reach objectives which would otherwise be unattainable of acting alone. Principles driving co-operatives include;  Voluntary and open membership  Democratic member control  Member economic participation  Autonomy and independence  Education training and information  Cooperation among co-operatives  Concern for community There are three main types of structures, being: (1) User-controlled; (2) User-owned; (3) User-principled, with structure (1) being more applicable. User-controlled co-operative is one in which the members own, as well as control the co-operative by electing board and committee members and vote of major operational matters. 3.4.2 Who uses co-operatives? A co-operative can be used by individuals or a community with a common vital economic need, interest or desire. 10
  12. 12. “Your Country, Your Call” A co-operative is not restricted in scope and can be used by those in recreation and leisure, manufacturing, agriculture, technology or other products and services. 3.4.3. How do you start a co-operative? Starting a co-operative is not a simple project. A lot of planning is involved prior to executing. Steps (not exhaustive) have been listed below: 1. Invite potential key members and conduct exploratory meeting to discuss issues and potential common economic, social or cultural necessities that needs to be fulfilled. 2. Assuming meeting concludes to continue with cooperative, select a steering committee. 3. Conduct preliminary survey to determine potential use of cooperative, and vote on project to proceed with. 4. If proceeding, conduct needs and feasibility analysis and prepare business plan. 5. Present findings of analysis and business plan. 6. If all approved by members, prepare legal papers and incorporate. 7. Elect board of directors, and convene to elect officers, assign responsibilities and implement business plan. 8. Conduct membership drive, acquire capital (monetary or otherwise). 9. Implement plan, and begin operations 10. Meet on a regular basis to review, re-strategize, monitor and perform controls on operations. 3.4.4 How does it apply to Ireland? In order to incentivise community members to drive the local towns without direct financially rewards, we believe that the cooperative model is the best way to drive the economy from the ground up. 3.5 CONCLUSION These proven business models form the core of the Celtic proposal. The Wenzhou model proved that any town can grow its economy with the right strategy, while the Tidy Towns program has proven over the years that Irish communities can come together for one common goal. Crowdsourcing and cooperative models will bring together the power of the Irish masses to create efficient and sustainable solutions. All of these models can provide solid benchmarks for any town within Ireland can create an economically successful community. 4. COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE 4. 1 “Your Country, Your Call” level Within this competition, the strength of our proposal is that it takes the best out of every good idea submitted and combines them together. In addition, it is a nationwide initiative that very single individual can be involved in, regardless of age, race, occupation or skills. 11
  13. 13. “Your Country, Your Call” Government aid proposals To expect the government to subsidize the growth of the economy is a difficult task considering the significant cut backs in the budget for 2010. It is the people that should be generating ideas and profits and not relying solely on the government. The people of Ireland need ownership of the future of the country, and government aid through monetary of fiscal change is not the most sustainable way to rejuvenate the country’s economy. Industry proposals A number of the proposals submitted on “Your Country, Your Call” suggest optimization of specific industries such as energy and tourism. Though all positive contributors to the economy in their own right, the weakness these proposals have is that they will put the country at risk from being too reliant on one industry that may in the future decline due to factors that our country cannot control. By giving each community the opportunity to diversify industries, we are still allowing the potential for Ireland to become leaders in certain markets, whilst reducing risk related to focusing on one industry for the entire country. 4.2 National Level As each town will be looking to its own strengths or strategy, no two towns will be exactly the same. This will mean that the nation will create a variety of strong niches that are in healthy competition with another and therefore continually raising the bar for quality within the country. 4.3 International Level Being competitive on an international level is a key element of the Celtinc proposal. It will be up to each town as to what their niche will be, but it is crucial to identify an area which is conceptually large enough to be internationally competitive. If every town within Ireland can target one niche in the global business market, and then leverage off of each co- operatives product or service as in a Cluster Economy, then there are limitless opportunities to succeed internationally. Every community needs to think outside of their community and look at how they can compete with the world. Countless niches still exist in the business world today – and it is up to each Irish community to find them and collaborate strategically to position themselves competitively. 4.4 Competitive points in short  This proposal does not discriminate o Everyone can be involved (not just one section of people are rewarded) o Doesn’t discriminate industries (every industry and business has the potential to flourish) o Everyone is accountable  National and international competitive element  Not reliant on external international factors  Sustainable  Potential for profit  Brings community together 12
  14. 14. “Your Country, Your Call”  Improves Ireland as a whole  Everyone is motivated to contribute towards a common goal  Brings together all the good ideas from other contributors - this is bigger than all of them (groups of niches, not one niche)  Empowers the people of Ireland without putting pressure on the government to make unrealistic changes (tax cuts etc) No direct capital required (refer to 5.1. for more details on how the 500,000Euro will be distributed to build the program). 5. MANAGEMENT & EXECUTION 5.1 ALLOCATION OF €500,000 5.1.1 Educate Ireland about the Celtinc Initiative: €150,000 Goal To drive interest and recruitment of members Marketing positioning Educate communities as an economic version of Tidy Towns. Implementation Main communication will be through (i) national and local government bodies (ii) national advertising campaign will require funding (TV, radio, media) (iii) PR will be headed up by spokesperson for the campaign (iv) Website set-up 5.1.2 Educational conference for county council officials: €100,000 Goal To inform about the initiative and to inspire creativity Implementation Event made up of 2 parts. The first part will provide details about how this initiative will be implemented within each county. The second part of the event will focus on creativity. An independent consulting company which focuses on creativity (e.g. Whatif? Innovation company) will run workshops with county council official to open up their minds to creativity so that they can pass on these ideas to the towns within their area. 150,000 Euros will cover the cost of the consultant creative company, Event organization company, hotel space, free board and transport for county council officials. 5.1.3 Prize money for best improved towns: 200,000 Euros Goal To add a final motivation edge to the initiative - Primary incentive: To boost your personal and communities economic situation - Secondary incentive: To win extra finances for you and your economy Implementation Clearly marketed during campaign 13
  15. 15. “Your Country, Your Call” Prize awards Most improved town in nation (1st, 2nd, 3rd – 40,000, 20,000, 10,000) Most improved town in county (1st – 5,000 per county) Prize money spend to be invested in town (decision made by town’s inhabitants) 5.2 MARKETING STRATEGY Goal To get communities on board with the initiative, and educate Ireland about the co-operative strategy, its principles, advantages, disadvantages and the fact that it is “Your Call” as the business owner. Marketing positioning Educate communities as an economic version of Tidy Towns. Key points to be communicated Clear, easy to understand, realistic, everyone should be involved, everyone benefits. Implementation Main communication will be through national and local government bodies  National advertising campaign  Hire an advertising agency  Communicated through TV, radio, press  Public relations  Selected government member to be point person for PR  Interviews with all local press  International press also possible, but key is first to communicate clearly to local population  Website set-up  Allowing towns to communicate privately with other community members on a forum and a project management platform (e.g. base camp) 5.3 EXECUTION 5.3.1 County Level Steps to execution are in-line with 3.4.3 outlining how to start a co-operative. 14
  16. 16. “Your Country, Your Call” 1. MEMBERS INVITE & EXPLORATORY MEETING. •Invite potential key members from each Town and conduct exploratory meeting at County level to discuss issues and potential common economic, social or cultural necessities that needs to be fulfilled. 2. STEERING COMMITTEE •Assuming meeting concludes to continue with cooperative, select a steering committee. The steering comittee will tend to be the first board of director's. •As members of the committee are the initial organisers of the co-operative, they should be town council members with significant interest in the project, have strong business knowledge and be respected within the community. 3. PRIMARY RESEARCH •Preliminary survey to determine potential use of cooperative, and vote on project with which to proceed. •To ensure the survey's effectiveness, potential members needs to be informed about the concept of co-operatives, the solution it provides, principles and terminology, practical operations, pro's and con's and membership contributions. This can be done through a town exploratory meeting (after County level exporatory meeting). •The objective of the survey is to (a) Estimate potential members (b) Gauge potential members experience/skills sets (c) Type of product/service the town will concentrate (d) Period which members are willing to work contribute (e) Type and size of contribution, whether services or financial •To assist in directing towns selecting a product or service, towns should consider the following guidelines. (i) Business level: existing businesses (ii) Industry level: new or existing "light industries" (for definition of refer to 2.2.1 Wenzhou Model); or "green" industries with climate change focus as they generally will be more supported and sustainable in the future. 4. FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS & BUSINESS PLAN •Armed with the information obtained from the initial town survey, the Steering Committee are now in a position to be able to develop a basic business plan, with a priority focus on feasibility of the chosen product or service as voted in Step 3. •At minimum, analysis and plan should include: sensitivity analysis for best and worst case scenario; facilities; equipment; labour estimates; and future costs. •Qualified advisors from the township or "traded" from another town should be used. •Minimum unit value of membership share should be defined, based on estimates from feasibility analysis. •Due to the current circumstances of the Irish economy, financial contributions to count towards membership maybe harder to collect. The solution should be that contributions from the community should be financial and/or labour. For example, if a lawyer is willing to contribute his expertise and time, this should be quantified and counted as part of the contribution for membership shares (value of labour monitored by proper assigned approvers based on average market rates). •Business plan should be formulated to include the survey and feasibility findings. 5. PRESENT FINDINGS •Present findings of analysis and business plan to potential members. 15
  17. 17. “Your Country, Your Call” 6. LEGALS & INCORPORATION •If all approved by members, prepare legal papers and bylaws and incorporate. •Greater care and consideration needs to be taken in this step, as it defines the processes for membership applications, share valuation, meeting and waiver notices, etc. •It is important to emphasise the one person one vote notion. 7. ELECT KEY MEMBERS & ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITIES •Once bylaws created, elect board of directors, and convene to elect managing officers. •Directors are assigned to each critical area of operations, officers are to manage implementation at town level. •Managing officer selection is critical to the success of implementation as they are responsible for day-to-day operations. CV's, survey's, skills nominations should be reviewed for each potential officer to confirm skill set to run co-operative. 8. MEMBERSHIP DRIVE •Conduct membership drive, acquire contribution from monetary or otherwise. • If not monetary, services can be counted as a contribution, monetised according to average market rates, then deducted from distributions at specific percentage. This gives those without liquidity an opportunity to be a members of the co-operative. 9. LAUNCH •At the direction and supervision of the directors, managing officers should work to launch the following tasks: •Facilities - Selecting office and key facilities should be finalised. •Employment of staff - Member roles and responsibilities sbould be assigned. •Staff orientation and education - Education and training implemented for each staff to ensure efficiency and empowerment. •Business development - Strategy to market, grow cashflow income should always be considered. •Product and service agreements - Terms of business with key partners to ensure optimisation of operations should be established. 10. RE- STRATEGIZE, MONITOR, REVIEW •Meet on a regular basis to review, re-strategize, monitor and perform controls on operations. •Budget and forecasts reviewed and scrutinized. •Directors and managing officers should engage in strategic planning adjusting for current/unexpected events, with ultimate direction voted by all members. •Continuous education should be conducted for all members from director to member level. •SHARE THE WEALTH, in accordance with co-operative bylaws. 16
  18. 18. “Your Country, Your Call” 5.3.2 Government Level Pilot To test out the co-operative initiative, the government will execute a pilot execution. Method for doing so is as follows: 1. Government identifies target towns: Recommended strategy is to select 1 town from each county. This town should be one officially measured to have the lowest income per capita. Reason for selection method is that these towns have a bigger challenge in the co- operative initiative, and if it is a “success” with them, then it will be easier to apply to other towns. 2. Government to report findings: Findings include (i) percentage participation within towns (ii) Time frame from planning to launch of operations (iii) Total capital required (iv) Matters which delayed/ hindered process (v) Matters leading to successful application of initiative (vi) Recommendations for national launch. 3. Capital: These participating towns should also be eligible for funding from the €500,000 allocated in 5.1.1 Education and 5.1.2 Creative workshop. This is done so on a purely mathematical allocation as illustrated below. = €150,000 (total 5.1.1 allocation) + €100,000 (total 5.1.2 allocation) = €350,000 / 4, 459,300 (total Irish pop) x 68.6 % (pop. age between 15-64, likely participants) = €0.11 per person x 930 number of people in target town eg. Crossmolina, Mayo = €105 for education and initiative awareness 5.3.3 Roles & Responsibilities A) Town/Community members B) Town Council C) County Council D) Government A) Community members: Take ownership of co-operative and get involved! B) Town council: Help the town to launch and operate from the ground level C) County council: Oversee at county level, and assist in making higher level decisions D) Government: Provide leadership, education and oversee implementation nationwide 17
  19. 19. “Your Country, Your Call” 6. FINAL CONCLUSION The Celtinc concept is an initiative to drive creativity within an untapped potential that lies in each community. If these communities are well directed, each town can find its niche in the international market and bring prosperity to that area and within Ireland as a whole. Our proposal has been created to offer a new and achievable way to look at business within Ireland, and we hope that it can inspire the Irish people to rejuvenate the national economy. 18