The idea of crowd purchasing is nothing new – you buy in bulk and share the gains. But it has all been given new momentum by new technology and, unfortunately, our new austerity.
Eight million people now buy collectively across the UK in a kind of share one, get one free model (SOGOF?) and internationally, the author and innovator Rachel Botsman has charted the rise and rise of what she calls collaborative consumption.
Much of this is informal. Some has been commercialised into dead end, venture capital funded enterprises like Groupon. The real breakthrough will come when we see collaborative models that combine community and scale.
To support these new forms of co-operative enterprise, we have just launched a £60,000 challenge prize together with the backing of the energetic new Business Minister Norman Lamb.
To give guidance to applicants there are three challenges. They are:
– Challenge One: A project aimed at creating a platform, tool or vehicle to help individuals to come together and form a community buying group.
– Challenge Two: A project aimed at enabling existing or new community groups to develop their purchasing power by working collectively.
– Challenge Three: A project aimed at businesses to empower their employees or consumers to group for community buying.
The ‘Buy Better Together Challenge’ £60,000 pot will go towards training and mentoring for stand out projects and includes £15,000 for the overall winner.
Please help spread the word – applications are easy and can be completed here. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by using #communitybuy