Weekly outline

  • Introducing FairShares


    This course provides an opportunity for anyone interested in the FairShares Model to explore and apply it to their work. In addition to exploring values and principles, key questions, approaches to learning (and decision-making), students will use a range of FairShares auditing and diagnostic tools to gather information needed to develop a plan for a FairShares enterprise. In the final stages of the course, students will learn how to use a FairShares Canvass to prepare for the creation of a new social enterprise and generate a draft constitution for a new FairShares company, cooperative, partnership or association.

    This course is suitable as a free self-study course for participants registered in a FairShares Lab at www.fairsharesplatform.eu or anyone else interested in setting up FairShares enterprises or FairShares Lab.  

    Upon completion, you will become a Certified FairShares Practitioner.

    It includes eight learning activities that you can study daily or weekly. By the end of the course, you will have a good overview of FairShares V3.x and be able to start the process of creating new enterprises or use your knowledge in cooperative/social enterprise education.

    Target Groups

    • Entrepreneurs seeking to (re)design a social enterprise to be more responsive to multiple stakeholders (particularly social entrepreneurs, labour, users and investors).
    • Enterprise educators wishing to develop or encourage the study of social enterprise development in their courses (to advance knowledge of the social economy, social enterprise, cooperative development and sustainable development). 

    Learning Goals:

    • Describe and explain the FairShares Model
    • Describe and explain the five building blocks of a FairShares Lab
    • Apply the FairShares Model to questions about enterprise development
    • Explore, develop and use the FairShares Canvass
    • Use a FairShares Canvass to prepare for the incorporation of a FairShares enterprise.

    Learning Methods
    Self-study (individual or group) through:

    • Exploration of FairShares videos, websites and materials
    • Use of FairShares social auditing tools and advanced diagnostics
    • Reading/critiquing short (2 – 4 page) documents
    • Structured learning activities
    • Group discussion and peer-review (face-to-face mode only).

    You can study at your own pace or join a cohort of students to study a topic a week.


    1. Navigating FairShares Websites
    2. The Meaning of Wealth
    3. FairShares Values and Principles
    4. Key Questions for Co-operative Social Enterprises
    5. Co-operative Learning and Development
    6. Legal Choices for Co-operative Social Enterprises
    7. Technology Platform to Support Development
    8. Building a FairShares Canvass

    The resources below are your pre-reading/learning activities before you start the course.

  • Navigating FairShares Websites

    This session introduces you to websites that are widely used by people interested in the FairShares Model.  You undertake a learning activity to find out information and register yourself so you can contribute to the FairShares Community Forum (https://fairshares.loomio.org) and register new ideas on the FairShares Platform (www.fairsharesplatform.eu).

    •  Learning Activity 01 Assignment
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  • The Meaning of Wealth

    This session introduces an emerging perspective on wealth based on early work by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). You read and critique a document about ‘six capitals’ to learn about the six forms of wealth recognised in the FairShares Model. To finish this session, you carry out a 'wealth audit' using a FairShares Diagnostic tool and contribution your findings to a discussion forum (if part of a cohort) or a blog (if studying on your own).

  • FairShares Values and Principles

    The third session puts you in touch with your values and principles in the context of the social economy. You take a survey to establish whether you are inclined towards co‑operation and mutuality, charitable trading activities or the notion of socially responsible business. After completing the survey, you read a document about FairShares Values and Principles, then formulate your thoughts by posting to a discussion forum (if part of a cohort) or a blog (if studying on your own).

  • Key Questions (for Cooperative Social Enterprises)

    In the fourth session, you explore six questions that need to be answered if the FairShares Model is to be successfully applied to practice. You also consider, “who can answer the key questions?” In doing so, you explore the case for building multi-stakeholder ownership, governance and management systems.

    •  Learning Activity 04 - Key Questions Assignment
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  • Cooperative Learning and Development

    In this session, you look at the learning and development techniques you can use with primary stakeholders (founders, labour, users and investors) to make decisions collectively. You review the following learning activities (Living Labs, Action Learning, Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space, World Cafe, OPERA) and plan a contribution to a general meeting (GM) about defining member roles within a co-operative social enterprise.

    •  Learning Activity 05 Assignment
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  • Legal Choices for Cooperative Social Enterprises

    Once you have answers to the ‘key questions’ using the learning and development techniques, it becomes important to consider the legal forms your enterprise may take. In this session, we examine why you might prefer to choose a company, cooperative society, partnership or association when you constitute a FairShares enterprise. When you have considered the options, you read about the FairShares Lab project and complete an activity to create draft rules for a FairShares Lab.

    •  Learning Activity 06 Assignment
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  • Technology Platforms to Support Development

    In the penultimate session, you consider the technologies that can be used to support enterprise development. From mundane tasks such as creating and sending documents (invoices, orders etc), to more complex tasks like accounting and manufacturing, this session introduces seven types of ICT platform that are combined to develop an ecosystem for enterprise development. You complete your learning by updating a Wiki about shared experiences of ICT platforms.

    •  Learning Activity 07 Assignment
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  • Building a FairShares Canvass

    The course is completed by introducing the FairShares Canvass. This document helps you transform your ideas into a viable FairShares Plan by leading you through a series of questions. Each question relates back to one of the key questions (Session 4). We link each group of questions to three types of workshop: idea workshops; incubation workshops; planning workshops. When you have answered all the questions, you complete your studies by populating a FairShares Canvass and using it draft a FairShares constitution.

    •  Learning Activity 08 Assignment
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  • Final Assessment