The World Centric Impact Accelerator Application

Developed in collaboration with LIFT Economy

PDF version available here.


We are in search of social entrepreneurs/social enterprises aspiring to create maximum positive impact for the benefit of all life.  Please read through this RFP in its entirety before applying.
 
World Centric was founded in 2004 to raise awareness of large scale humanitarian and environmental issues and how our pursuit of a good life was severely degrading the planet’s ecosystems and at the same time creating vast inequalities where 2.5 billion people live on less than $2/day, without access to basic necessities such as adequate food, water, healthcare, education, housing, sanitation etc.  In order to be a self-sustaining organization, without requesting donations or grants, World Centric began selling Fair Trade products and compostable products beginning in 2005 and is now a market leader in zero waste products.  Our business model may evolve over time to better address the problems we identified at the time of our founding.  This Accelerator program is a return to first principles, emerging out of the original, founding vision of World Centric to attempt to have maximum beneficial impact on all life in pursuit of our vision of a just and sustainable world, where humans live simply and tread lightly.
 

Context

The life sustaining systems on planet earth are on the verge of simultaneous collapse and immediate systemic action is required on a global scale. Climate change, economic collapse, species extinction, gross social inequities and environmental degradation point to current and looming disaster for life as we know it on planet earth. At the same time, we have unprecedented global access to information, resources, technology, manufactured goods, diverse cultures and wisdom traditions. We have abundant, emergent solutions to the crisis’ we face but they are, today, only applied on small scales and in disintegrated, incomplete fashion in disparate locations.
 
Our observation is that the economy is the dominant force for activity on the planet and we have an opportunity to harness it as a vehicle for change to benefit all life, but only if we alter the core underlying structures and systems (the DNA) of how the economy works. We hold a vision of locally self-reliant, resilient, regional economies where the abundant resources of any given region are used locally to meet as many needs as possible and then surplus is traded as finished goods to obtain resources scarce in any one locality. We want to see this created as a documented open-source pattern that can be easily adapted and replicated to any bio-region on earth. This may be difficult to imagine since we have not seen, heard or experienced this type of whole, intact system where needs are met in harmony. Some examples that currently exist in partial form are the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain. Or on a smaller scale closer to home, the way a nuclear family shares resources and care for each other with no one left out.
 
If we desire to change the economy, it seems we will find that there are changes necessary in human culture/human lifestyle, the way in which we live and meet our needs.  Examples of these cultural shifts include:
●     Voluntary simplicity or living conservative lifestyles where the ethic is to consume less, become more of a primary producer where possible, balancing personal preferences/interests with prioritizing collective wellbeing
●     Shared resources including:
 

Who should apply?

If you have an idea for a social enterprise, a mission driven business or a social venture (can be not for profit) that you sense matches well with the criteria (described below) for consideration outlined in this document and you need resources or financing to move from a feasibility stage to a proof of concept stage with your endeavor then please consider applying.   We will be selecting up to 3 organizations for this initial model. Most importantly, you are probably a good candidate to apply for the World Centric Impact Accelerator if you and  your organization resonate with the following values and vision:
 
●     Values
●     Vision
 

Benefits of the Accelerator  -  (“What's in it for me?” / “Why would I apply?”)

●     Up to $50,000 to be used by the enterprise to move through feasibility to an established proof of concept.  1-3 enterprises will be selected.
●     Strategic coaching, consulting and advisory guidance from World Centric leadership and associated partners with unique perspective and skill in growing enterprises that create value while maintaining values
●     Access to a network of relationships for ethically aligned potential hires, investors, partners, customers, suppliers or distributors
●     Back office/administrative support possibilities - potential accounting support, small shared office space
 

Criteria for Consideration

●     Vision
Desire to advance, accelerate, prove the concept of a high impact business model that delivers a needed good or service in such a way that benefits all life (see models of interest and areas of focus below).  This means you believe your product or service is directly in service to a core basic need of humanity. 
 
The intent of this Accelerator is to engender and/or grow organizations purpose-designed for maximum benefit for all life.  The vision is to create and demonstrate a model of a locally self-reliant, resilient, regional economy that enhances the conditions conducive to all life.  It is anticipated that growing such an economy holds significant implications for human settlement, human community and human behavior.  Certain principles and models described herein might only be possible or be easier to consider in the context of a gradual social/cultural transformation that occurs in concert with the transformation of the economy.  Emergent examples of both the social/cultural transformation and the economic transformation abound today.  The former is probably best captured in the ecovillage movement and its many flavors.   This Accelerator intends to propel the transformation of the economy which, in this vision is inseparable from the transformation of society at large.
 
●     Principles
Successful proposals will likely be inspired by the following principles:
a.    Equitable/democratic culture/workplace
b.    Transparent - clear about supply chain, practices, finances, benefits, cost (e.g., true cost accounting)
c.    Surplus reinvestment - profits are shared or redistributed
d.    Support of local alternative economy ecosystem (local supply chain)
e.    Zero waste
f.     Ecosystem integration  - whole systems thinking (e.g., stormwater investment, habitat for owls, etc.)
g.    Whole system finances
h.    Accessible  - affordable, or available to as many as possible
i.      Living wage, wage cap, culture of simplicity (balance, benefits)
j.      Education embedded into product service
k.    Self sustaining business model, designed to take little to no capitalization
l.     Scale by replication
m.   Open source
n.    Innovation - technology or processes that already exist that have not been applied in a particular way or particular combination
o.    Local to the San Francisco Bay Area
 

Examples of Possible Projects

These are more specific models that World Centric Impact Accelerator is interested in seeing potentially emerge/develop.  Successful submissions need not adhere to these possibilities, please consider these for inspiration or as examples of the general intention of the accelerator. The level of detail presented here is low to suggest that there are many approaches and models that might be similar that would be considered as responding to the same need.  In some instances, specific existent examples are listed as reference points for inspiration, but are not highlighted as fully complete models to be replicated (i.e., more for inspiration)

●     Worker Owned Coop Mercantile ●     Worker Owned Coop Integrated Health Clinic ●     Worker Owned Coop Small Scale Manufacturing ●     Decentralized Micro Grid Coop ●     Worker Owned Coop Pasture Cropping Farm ●     Worker Owned Affordable Healthy Local Food Cafe

●     Worker Owned Refurbishing/Repair - electronics/appliances/furniture?

●     This could potentially be married with “co-working” equipment library service providers like TechShop or other “makerspaces.”  This could be built off of a stable retail business of a hardware store merged with a tool lending library

●     Appropriate technologies to reduce/reuse/monitor water/energy/consumption ●     Sustainable materials innovation  

Areas of Interest

●     Water ●     Energy ●     Food ●     Transportation ●     Shelter ●     Education & Media ●     Technology ●     Goods & Manufacturing ●     Health Care ●     Finance ●     Culture  

How to apply and selection criteria

●     We will start reviewing on Oct 15, but will be accepting applications on an ongoing basis

●     Email a brief cover paragraph to impact@worldcentric.org addressing the following:  ●    Score yourself according to criteria, vision, principles and instructions on this application form