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Economy of Hours - B2B timebank

Just heard Matthew McStravick today talking about Economy of Hours, his widening of timebanking to include local businesses.

Running the Timber Wharf Timebank in Hackney, London, he was frustrated by the limited scope of the project which, following donor priorities, had to focus a single social problem. But donors (usually the government) fail to appreciate that the essence of marketplace is that everyone brings something different and needs something different.

Matthew considered the wider needs of his organisation, and of other nonprofits and believed he could broker exchanges between local nonprofits and local businesses, and was lucky to be supported in his experiment with a grant.

So two years down the road, he is running what amounts to a Timebank with 600 organisations and 800 people. He says the organisations alone are exchanging 400 hours a month. 600 orgs and 800 peeps- orgs alone trading 400 hours Pcm

I'm not aware that this has ever happened before. The business barter sector trades surplus capacity using the dollar as a unit of account, but Echo's proposition is quite different, Using hours implies that skills and resources will be shared rather than surplus inventory shifted. Matthew counters the Fintech babble about frictionless transactions by saying that Echo is about creating friction - opportunities for people to encounter each other and build trust.

It seems to me that ECHO offers a genuinely new model that gives small businesses a way to engage with their local communities and a way for nonprofits (and through them, vulnerable people) to engage in meaningful and economic activity. I'll be keeping an eye on it.

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