Starting the Conversation.

The Incubator has been a truly rich, inspiring experience for me. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this such a supportive community.

After starting out with an idea for a project, scrapping that idea, and needing time to discover and embrace the possibilities that have been right in front of me from the start, I’ve decided to carry the work of the Incubator forward by- as the title of this post suggests :)- starting the conversation about CPA in Detroit.

This means engaging with my network in a new way. It means opening up about my disappointment over the missed opportunities that I see for business support organizations to promote alternative models of business development- models that prioritize community-wealth building.  It means inviting people to explore with me what it could look like to use the CPA model here as one tool or practice among others that can collectively form broader movement to promote a more equitable local economy.

My next steps for this work are to:

Know my stuff.

I still have plenty to learn about what CPA is, how it operates today, the nuts and bolts. Since I wasn’t focused on CPA for half of my time in the Incubator, I pretty much gave myself a pass to not have to dig in too deep on understanding the mechanics of it or understanding the nuance in terms of how it is being imagined and reimagined for implementation in other cities.

In addition to reading through the materials that have been so generously provided, I also want to talk to people in the cohort about their specific CPA aspirations. To what extent are they hoping to tweak the model to match the unique needs/interests of their communities? To what extent are they looking to copy and paste the model as is?

Action Steps:

  • Read through the CPA materials, watch the videos (November 30, 2019)
  • Check in with folks from the cohort who are actually thinking through how to best bring the model to life in their context will be an important action step (December 7, 2019)
  • Check in with Felipe for feedback on the talking points for my one on ones and convening. (December 14, 2019)

Have one on ones.

I’ve brainstormed a list of people in my entrepreneurship network (and/or people in their networks) with whom I’d like to start. The goal of the one on ones from my perspective is to gain a deeper understanding of people’s current work (understanding the landscape), gauge people’s interest in doing business differently/ creating a more equitable economy, and, if it makes sense, to invite them to participate in the larger convening.

I think one of the biggest gains from these meetings will be to come out of them with an understanding of what different efforts in different pockets of the city are aimed at community wealth building, coop development, or economic justice.

Action Steps:

  • Schedule/have one on ones with the 20 people on my list. (January 30, 2020)
  • Keep track of my notes from each meeting!

Host a convening of like minds.

The goals of the meeting, as I see them now, will be to 1) provide space for invitees to network and learn about each other’s work and 2) use CPA as the ‘hook’ or the thing that brings them together for learning, reflecting, and engaging with one another around an idea.

There’s already energy in pockets of Detroit around efforts to build a more just, equitable economy. How can that energy be harnessed and amplified by bringing people together to network and build connections, and also to explore what CPA could look like in Detroit.

Action Steps:

  • Host the convening (February 28, 2019)

Follow up + next steps

The results of the one on ones and the convening will dictate next steps. I will share those with the group.

Author: Janai G.

There's something in me that makes me want to share my experiences and reflections with others. I write and I podcast because those are currently the tools of expression at my disposal. If there ever comes a day when I can channel my thoughts and feelings through art, music or something else, you'll see it on this blog, too.

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