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I want to start an NGO

by stevesim Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 10:48:04 AM EST

I want to start an NGO.

My idea is to have an online website for people to order handknit items that they can choose themselves from their favourite knitting magazine or book, and have it done by women in remote villages in a developing country.

The women would have to come from a culture that knits as part of its tradition, such as Peru, or some other such country.

The yarn would be purchased in the buyer's country of origin, and sent to a representative who would then help the women get the pattern translated, etc.

I had this idea because knitting is very trendy, and hand knit garments are very, very expensive.  Someone in France charges 200 Euros for a scarf!!!  but they are knit in France so that explains that.

What I need is your help in helping me get some information so I can write up a proposal to get this crowd funded.

An NGO is the last thing you need.

It's interesting you should be considering this because I've been thinking about a similar platform after hearing from a couple of friends who are into knitting, big time.

The concept I have in mind is a neutral utility platform which brings together P2P (Purl to Purl ? ) a loose co-operative of buyers with a loose co-operative of sellers with no intermediaries. This market platform would be supported by a loose co-operative of service providers who maintain the platform; handle billing, shipping and so on; maintain quality control (probably using feedback fora etc); handle dispute resolution; and enable designers and experts to participate as well.

My working title for such an on-line knitting platform is "Dot Knit".

The enterprise model is an agreement with global application which links together the co-operatives of buyer, sellers, and service providers.

So Dot Knit would be an open (but membership-based) framework agreement for self organisation which creates a surplus-sharing 'profit for purpose' eco-system rather than the conventional value chain riddled with rent-seeking middlemen.

The financing and funding proposition for the 'crowd' is the interesting bit. :-)

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 11:26:36 AM EST
Great minds do think alike!

the problem with that is that people have a particular design and size and type of yarn in mind.
There is also a big market in finishing people's unfinished projects.

by stevesim on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 11:33:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And in my model, yarn shops would be promoters of such a project as well.

One could get a handknit sweater for 100$ plus the cost of the yarn, which is really astounding.

My mother can knit a sweater in a couple of weeks, part time, but she is really fast.

The women in the villages could be knitting in the evening to supplement their income, and one woman in an area can act as the distributor and helper for knitting problems.

by stevesim on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 11:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The right platform can accommodate any market requirements, and any necessary participants, as sub groups.

It's the legal, financial and IT architecture and funding instruments that interests me....sad, I know !

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 11:38:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IT is not much of problem, funding can be easy


what worries me are these points

  •  will people think that sweaters knit by poor women are dirty and icky?

  • will the knitting take time away from the child care and other important things?
by stevesim on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 11:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An NGO is the last thing you need.

I guess what you want is a "non-profit". Or, as Chris says, a "not-for-loss".

NGOs seem to be a way to outsource or externalise government functions so that they don't count against the government's running budget. Sometimes it seems NGs are just there to capture public subsidies. Now that government is being finally shut down, the NGO sector is also shutting down.

Call me a cynic.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 07:29:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To my Swedish ears NGO has always had a strange sound - the importance of the form of organisation should not be that it is non-governmental. In Swedish förening could be any non-profit legal person with members uniting to do things. A labor union, a coop, a political party, a stamp collectors association. Depending on purpose and activities, subject to some demands on internal democracy and non-discrimination they can also be eligeble for government grants, but most would not fold if that was cut of.

So my question is who is it you want to unite for a common purpose? Or is the NGO just a vehicle to access government funding? If the latter, then joining an existing NGO that has purpose and activities this should match and has the experience of getting funding from relevant government authorities could free up much time and effort. The NGO apply for funding, hire you to do the project.

Or is the idea more business directed? Want to have mroe control and ownership? Hope to get rich? Then something along the lines of Chris Cooks suggestion would be preferable (though in Sweden, that would be probably an förening, as it is a legal person with extremely flexible rules on how the charter looks).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 02:02:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you know, Greece and Spain are doing so poorly that women there might be happy to be making that kind of money, it is sad to say.
by stevesim on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 11:44:29 AM EST
time required to knit an item -  this is what I have found to be pretty standard on the internet

a scarf in a 6-7 hours, but very simple scarf can be made in less than 2 hours if you are experienced.

simple sweater  30-40 hours

Sierra Leone and Cuba might be good places to begin with


by stevesim on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 01:53:40 PM EST
these ladies have a similar project


by stevesim on Sat Dec 29th, 2012 at 02:51:47 PM EST
Are you familiar with Novica?  They round up local craftspeople and market their stuff to yuppies in the first world.  You should at least be familiar with what they do, so you're not duplicating needlessly.
by Zwackus on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 12:10:06 AM EST
thanks.  I will look into this.

Any type of similar information is most welcome.

by stevesim on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 06:44:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an internet start-up


It's a middleman in business to make money for its founders and VC shareholders.

It seems relatively harmless compared to some, and if Steve wants to go down that road he'll soon be in competition with similarly structured companies.

I believe that with the right structure it's possible for stakeholders generally to finance and fund the platform without paying excess rent to banks and VCs.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 07:43:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's interesting but not exactly what I had in mind.  I want to work directly with the workers, not "artists" and give people the choice of exactly what they want.  

I see so many talented people working in touristic areas but their products are not geared to what people want -  there are so many ethnic sweaters you want to wear.

by stevesim on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 07:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]

You understand the market requirement much better than I do.

I've no idea what you would hope to get out of it as founding entrepreneur, and how you would see your role, but I certainly do not advocate starving in a garret.

I'm only interested in architecting legal framework agreements and instruments and in optimal financing and funding.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 08:48:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry about the typo

there are just so many ethnic sweaters you want to wear, meaning the sweaters are nice but the yarn or the pattern are ethnic, and that is perceived as being  granola, hippiesh,etc.

by stevesim on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 09:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my best friend is going to the Economic Summit at Davos later this month.  I hope that I can convince her to push this idea with some "important" people there.
by stevesim on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 10:47:50 AM EST

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:49:33 PM EST

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