Tech Co-op Network

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= network of Worker-Owned Tech Collectives: "worker cooperatives (businesses owned and democratically controlled by our workers) offering a wide range of media, communications, and computer technology goods and services."



Brian Van Slyke:

"On in late October, 18 worker co-ops joined together to launch the Tech Co-op Network. The Network’s purpose is to take cooperation in the tech world to the next level by fostering collaboration and mutual aid amongst worker-owned technology businesses. In the short time since its launch, the Network has already grown to a total of 23 members.

“Our members are small businesses, most with 3-10 worker-owners,” says Brent Emerson, a worker-owner with the Electric Embers Cooperative and coordinator of the new initiative. “The Network helps us market our services and collaborate on large projects that we wouldn't be able to take on alone; to refer work to each other when we're too busy and benefit from those referrals when we're not; and to ask for and offer experienced advice about owning and operating small democratic businesses. And we assume that the network will be an evolving platform to enable projects and collaborations that we haven't even yet envisioned.”

Right now, the Network provides a range of services including website and graphic design, web and email hosting, web development, IT consulting, training, computer repair and sales, social media, mobile application development, communications strategy, and more. And they plan to expand that list as their membership grows and diversifies.

Emerson also sees the launch of the network as a part of a larger trend.

“I think it's fascinating that most of our oldest member co-ops were founded around 2001-2004, right after the dot com bubble collapsed,” Emerson says. “They've thrived over the past decade, but the pace of new business creation slowed a bit. Along comes another business cycle and the Great Recession, and from 2010-2013 we experienced another little boom: our community's email list more than doubled in size, tech worker co-ops were a hot topic at conferences, and new co-ops started popping up left and right. I have the sense that, in our own tiny way, this community is telling the story of skilled workers being left behind by corporate America and responding by creating their own democratic alternatives.” (