EUROCITIES awards 2016: Zaragoza leads peer-to-peer economy

  • economy

Zaragoza has won the category for cooperation at the EUROCITIES awards 2016.

Zaragoza, Spain’s fifth largest city, was hit hard by the economic downturn. The unemployment rate rocketed and many highly-skilled citizens found themselves out of work. Zaragoza responded to the crisis by transforming the way the city supports and strengthens entrepreneurialism. Fuelled by shared talent and values, the city is revitalising creativity, community, innovation and job creation.

One result of this revitalisation was the reinvention of an old sugar factory as the home of an entrepreneurial ecosystem of companies, people and projects known as Zaragoza Activa. After establishing services such as a knowledge lab and start-up web hosting, there was a desire to explore different ways of empowering entrepreneurs and in particular enabling them to create their own supportive community and access free services.

Inspired by the concept of a collaborative economy, based on a philosophy of collective responsibility and the sharing of human and physical resources this collaborative workspace enables members to work on their own entrepreneurial, social and creative projects and exchange ideas, services and know-how through a time banking system.

La Colaboradora is co-governed by the public administration and the collaborative community. A steering committee meets once a week and is made up of a representative from Zaragoza Activa and seven member ‘connectors’, each responsible for an area of work such as bank time organisation or dissemination of communications.

Since La Colaboradora opened its doors in 2013, more than 8,000 hours of collaborative time have been shared by 250 members, 200 projects have started or grown and 280 training and economic dynamising activities have been organised.

Among the business start-ups which owe their success to La Colaboradora are Roamgym, which enables travellers to easily access gyms around Europe to keep up their fitness routines, and Micubo, set up by a librarian to publish children’s books, the first of which is an illustrated sign language alphabet.

In developing such an innovative and impactful way of governing and organising civic community, La Colaboradora has generated interest and praise at home and abroad. The community welcomed representatives from Madrid, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Panama and Uruguay and has travelled the world extensively promoting its collaborative model.

Learn more in our latest ‘cities in action’ case study, available at the link provided.