Capital Commons

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Capital Commons: Stewarding Common Capital for Future Generations

SingaporeSingapore
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Capital Commons provides investments, consulting services, tools or expertise for all early-stage startups and social projects involved in culture, environment, health and education. We provide access to funding and tools for what matters most to people.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

capital for investment belongs to the entire community instead of individuals?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The areas of culture, environment, health and education are difficult to monetise or produce short-term benefits. They suffer from under-investment, lack of public interest, and all sorts of complex barriers that prevent improvements.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We are an experiment to see if socially-funded capital can be used to create sustainable value for the society. If this model works, it will be far more effective than government grants/subsidies or private organisations' CSR. Our business model is a mix of revenue-sharing and assets-leasing for shared resources. This will help the entire community to grow together, and reduce the risk of individuals' negative exploitation of resources. We will study and pilot the model in suitable business sectors. The key to the project's success is identifying the common denominators between stakeholders, transparent communications with ALL stakeholders, and growing the common capital for all.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

For small-scale food vendors in Singapore, they lack capital to invest in more productive equipment and lack new blood to join the industry. To help them, we will buy the required equipment and lease it back to them as a shared resource. Existing food vendors can use them for experimenting new products or production, and start-ups can use them to develop their products. No single individual will be required to fork out a large sum of capital investment, because the community will share the cost. In return, the vendors must share a portion of their income, to allow us to buy more equipment and fund new ideas and people.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Sharing is caring. Through sharing assets, small-scale vendors can access expensive equipment that they cannot afford individually. The constant communication between vendors (to arrange scheduling) also facilitate the exchange and birth of new ideas. By giving back to us, we can buy more equipment to share with a greater number of vendors. Young people can also make use of the equipment to test the market without expensive investment. This will hopefully encourage younger generation to take a leap forward and join the industry as an entrepreneur.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The mix of asset-leasing and revenue-sharing requires a lot of trust between stakeholders and a fundamental mindset change in business. Once that trust is established, then it becomes a matter of institutionalising the trust into the corporate structure and business model. These are our challenges moving forward, and we have no answers yet. The best we can do is to start small and learn from experience along the way. We plan to invest in a fortnightly food bazaar and central kitchen facilities, then work out the sharing arrangements according to the usage profile of the community.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We plan to raise the first round $60,000.00 ($1,200.00 from 50 people). This will serve as a gauge of interest and we can buy some freezers, chillers and ovens. We will also collect member fees ($1,200) from the vendors who want to use the assets and lease to them at a below market rate. For start-ups, we will take a 5-20% revenue-sharing stake in their business in return for equipment, expertise and platform for the start-ups to develop.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are other voluntary welfare organisations taking care of the less-privileged population of society. These organisations are charities, and usually funded by government budgets. We will be the first socially funded business to grow the common wealth of all, not by creating more goods and services, but by stewarding the common capital to ensure the capital can be put to use in the gaps left behind by government and market.
Team

Founding Story

I read a book by Martin Large called Common Wealth and was deeply inspired. A community based approach to capital markets can potentially solve some long-lying, deep-rooted problems, and I am determined to study that possibility.

Team

My work experience includes tourism, IT, food retail, education facilitator, and most recently founded a business consultancy company. In my free time, I volunteer with environmental groups and teach scuba diving. I am looking for like-minded individuals to join me, either as founding members, investors, or beneficiaries. I believe ideation, design and practise must occur simultaneously for the best outcomes.