The climate and biodiversity crisis, but also social inequalities, make it necessary to fundamentally rethink the way we do business. Alternative ways of doing business already exist in practice – they take the form of commons, solidarity economy, community-based enterprises, social entrepreneurship or new cooperative approaches. The project “Alternative Economies in and for Berlin” examines the transformative potential of these concepts and looks at specific practical examples of alternative business practices for Berlin’s social and environmental development. The aim is to develop proposals on how the potential can be harnessed more effectively than in the past.
Long tradition of alternative business practices in Berlin
The project builds on the long tradition of Berlin’s alternative business sector and existing activities of the Berlin Senate such as the Social Innovation Capital Berlin project of the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Municipal Corporations. Practitioners from the broad spectrum of Berlin’s alternative business community will be involved in the project and discussions will take place with stakeholders from the fields of politics, administration and business development.
What potential for change lies in alternative forms of business?
The transdisciplinary project takes a first-ever look at the entire range of alternatives and clarifies in conceptual terms how alternative business practices are essentially characterized. The criteria developed in the project will be used to take stock of Berlin’s alternative business sector and assess its transformative potential. The project draws on these findings to develop strategies and instruments of economic policy and development that can be used to support alternative business practices. The report “Alternative economic practices in and for Berlin” is being compiled together with practitioners. It will be presented to the public at a conference as the central product of the project. It is intended to stimulate other activities of urban society and new research projects and to involve Berlin in the international expert discourse on social enterprise and solidarity economy.
Working together with experts on alternative businesses in Berlin
The project works with a core group of selected experts from Berlin's alternative economy who contribute experience-based knowledge and participate in the reflection of research findings. We are pleased to have recruited the following members of the core group:
- Dr. Barbara König und Caroline Rosenthal, Genossenschaftsforum e.V.
- Dr. Christine Rudolf, Genossinnenschaft Schokofabrik
- Ela Kagel, Supermarkt/Platform Cooperatives Germany
- Elisabeth Voß, NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Selbstorganisation
- Gerd Hofielen, Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie Berlin-Brandenburg
- Heike Birkhölzer und Dr. Günther Lorenz, Technologie-Netzwerk Berlin
- Helmut Geißler, NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Selbstorganisation und STATTwerke Consult
- Jana Gebauer, Die Wirtschaft der Anderen
- Katrin Elsemann, Social Entrepreneurship Netzwerk Deutschland
- Nikolai Wolfert, LeiLa Berlin und Cosum