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What is an Activist Business?

" An impact-first, post-capitalist oriented enterprise that attracts and enlists a variety of resources and engages in political action in order to advance, serve, support and create safe spaces for movement adherents and movement curious folks".--pk mutch, founder, publisher of LiisBeth Media, managing member, Highwire Collective. 

 

"Business can be a powerful form of activism"--Melanie Riebeck, CEO/Co-founder of Radically Open Security, Netherlands,  the world's first non-profit computer security consultancy company, and founder of a Post Growth Entrepreneurship accelerator program (Amsterdam).

"Activist entrepreneurs try to use the market to advance and promote social, political, environmental and economic movements. They tend to reject capitalism and employ more humane, democratic and community-oriented business models. They prioritize impact over scale and profit" --Joshua Clark, American scholar, historian and author, From Headshops to Whole Foods. 

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Feminist Activist Enterprises

As noted by Joshua Davis's research, enterprises created to advance movements or political points of view are not new. Feminist businesses are also not new, however they are distinct from other forms of activist enterprise work in that they worked harder to scrutinize and debate the idea of feminists, as anti-capitalists, leveraging the marketplace to advance the goals of the movement.  Feminist enterprises also took a wide variety of forms from bookstores, restaurants, health centres, publishing houses, credit unions and more. 

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Activist Enterprises Are Unique

Activist businesses are unique and typical startup dogma does not apply.  They don't start with identifying a market opportunity.  They start with the desire to dismantle existing systems. They don't start with product or service design.  They start with community. They don't serve customers, they serve a movement. They are unapologetically political. Their founders, staff participant in movement work-along side managing the business. And yes, despite working in mostly anti-capitalist ways, they are as sustainable as any other type of business on the planet.   

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