Democratic Business Summit

A one-day event to advance democracy in workplaces and communities

1 November 2023
10.30am - 4.30pm
Stretford Public Hall

Deepen our understanding of each other’s efforts, challenges, and successes

Develop a more collective identity as an emerging business movement that is promoting democratic rights in workplaces and communities

Explore how we can have a stronger influence on communities, business, and government

Summit Programme


Panel & Discussion

Why does business ownership matter?

Workshop 1

Where’s the evidence? Building the case for democratic business

Workshop 2

Business Support: Developing national & regional infrastructure


Workshop 3

Capital Gap: Financing the transition to a democratic economy

Workshop 4

Policy Asks: Framing the value of business ownership to government

Closing session

Building a democratic business movement – where next?

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What is democratic business?

If we really want to be serious about changing business, we have to confront the fundamental structure of ownership. The term ‘democratic business’ is not about the promotion of a single model, but a description of the powers that can exist in almost any legal structure. A really simple test for any government, funder, or development body is to focus on the basic characteristics of business – who owns it? who benefits from its value? and who makes the decisions?

As a wider business movement that promotes workplace democracy, there is an opportunity for more strategic partnerships between federations, think tanks, and funders that can shift the focus away from benign campaigns – such as ‘a better way of doing business’ – towards more confidently asserting the benefits and value of democratic ownership models.

Jonny Gordon-Farleigh, Stir to Action

Our publishing series

Centre for Democratic Business

The summit will see the launch of Stir to Action’s Centre for Democratic Business, a new progressive platform supporting democratic ownership and control of UK businesses and assets, as a structural response to major social challenges such as inequality and climate change.

The Centre will be a home for our continuing work with partners including local and regional government bodies, foundations, and membership associations on democratic business related collaborations, including:

  • Direct support of Democratic Business development in different industries, through provision of advice, finance, and infrastructure, for example developing new democratically owned startups addressing food insecurity in Greater Manchester.
  • Research & analysis to strengthen the case for Democratic Business, for example working with London Borough of Hackney to understand the most effective ecosystem of business support in a metropolitan context.
  • Raising awareness and understanding of the role Democratic Business can play with key audiences such as public government, civil society, and the wider business community, through strategic interventions like this National Summit.

Over the coming months we will be further developing our plans for the Centre for Democratic Business - if you would like more information on this, or to discuss a collaboration, get in touch.

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Venue Details

Stretford Public Hall, Chester Rd, Manchester M32 0LG

Stretford Public Hall is a multi-purpose venue, run by Friends of Stretford Public Hall, a charitable community benefit society and we operate on co-operative principles. Our aim is to create space for good things to happen in Stretford.

Getting here

Bus  |  There is a bus stop just outside the Hall on Chester Rd which is serviced by several local bus routes (79, 253, 255, 256, 263, 272 and 277).

Tram  |  The Hall is a 5 minute walk from the Stretford tram stop.

Taxi  |  Drivers can pull up alongside the Hall on Dorset St or can use the Hall’s car park for drop-off / collection.

Driving  |  The hall has a car park just off Dorset St with 48 spaces and disabled parking bays that are free to use for visitors on a first come first served basis. There are two disabled parking spaces adjacent to the Hall on Dorset St.

From outside Manchester  |  If you’re travelling from outside Manchester, visit the Trainline website for information about rail travel. Trains connect with the tram at Manchester Piccadilly station.

Arrival/Departures  |  Wednesday 1 November - Check-in from 9.45, Sessions 10.30 - 16.30

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