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Preston Meets Mondragón: Worker ownership and democratic businesses for Preston

July 25, 2018

On Wednesday, July 25th, during the Preston, UK, Cooperative Development Network’s “Preston Meets Mondragon” symposium held at local University of Central Lancaster facilities:

The day was introduced by Professor Sue Smith, Director of the Centre for SME Development and Deputy Director of Innovation and Enterprise at the University of Central Lancaster and Social Innovation Manager and Chair of the Preston Cooperative Development Network, Dr. Julian Manley. This marks a pivotal moment in the development between the University in Preston and its relationship with the city and communities of Preston, and in particular the strong and developing partnership between University and Preston City Council. Cementing this relationship into the Preston Model that we aspire to become ever more engaged with as a way of transforming our society, citizens and democracy according to co-operative values and principles, Cllr Matthew Brown, the Leader of Preston City Council, and Julian Manley gave a presentation illustrating the background to the Preston Model and plans for future co-operative development. Kay Johnson of the newly formed The Larder Co-operative also contributed as the first worker-owned co-operative that has been fully developed under the umbrella of the Preston Co-operative Development Network. The Larder also provided the catering and lunch for the day. All five members of The Larder were present.

The audience consisted of a wide range of highly skilled and committed professionals from diverse backgrounds: political and social; policy and governance; financial; business; community representatives and academics from Preston and throughout the UK.

Ibon Zugasti, who heads up the social transformation practice for Mondragon’s management consultancy cooperative, LKS, spoke on “Mondragón: international partnerships and opportunities”, while Ander Etxeberria, Mondragon’s head of global corporate diplomacy outreach, addressed, “Training, education and co-operative communities in Mondragón and possibilities for collaboration between Preston and Mondragon”.  Participating via SKYPE, Mondragon’s North America delegate and co-founder/executive director of 1worker1vote, Michael Alden Peck, shared the 1worker1vote.org movement’s project-based experiences in localizing Mondragon practices and values starting with the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative’s Mondragon-inspired union-coop ecosystem.  The attached documents picture Matthew Brown, Julian Manley, Martin Rawlinson and other Preston colleagues visiting MONDRAGON in December 2016 where they met with Maria Ubarretxena, Mayor of Arrasate/Mondragón, and signed a collaborative Letter of Intent (LOI) between both cities.”

The day culminated in breakout groups discussing thoughts, reflections and actions emerging from the day which was organized by Dr Julian Manley of the University of Central Lancashire.

Download the Powerpoint Preston Meets Mondragon PPT file.

Check out this article from the Lancashire Post, December 2016.