SM'ART MODEL CONSULTANTS
Homeshores Direct: a Festival of World Cultures 365
Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years countless Questions and Answers have been exchanged, and below are the most frequently asked Questions together with VoxLabs Answers. Please visit Contacts
page to contact VoxLabs directly:
- Q. What is a Business Model? A. It has been described by KMLab, Inc., a consulting firm, as:
"… a Business model is a description of how your company intends to create value in the marketplace. It includes that unique combination of products, services, image, and distribution that your company carries forward. It also includes the underlying organization of people, and the operational infrastructure that they use to accomplish their work". We agree with that description.
- Q. Who owns VoxLabs? A. The concept was created by Founder in 1991 as a Social Innovator, after some years of international consulting and in particular following active participation in International Trade Fairs as a Divisional Managing Director of a UK Plc Marketing Services provider. There he saw a major and virtually untapped gap in marketplace for M-SME Packaging originally. He left to develop his own ideas and registered many Packaging ideas as patents. The first of these Patents, D412800, was granted in USA in 1999 and is central today in its application for Community Co-ops. Originally this and his other Packaging formats formed the bedrock of a global rollout of globally branded Accessories & Laces in 40 countries simultaneously from Ireland. He went on to develop a complete a Virtual E-Business Model for dedication to Community Co-ops. In 2003 he registered VoxLabs® and VoxFranchise® in Ireland and is now forming VoxLabs LLP to act as custodian for this eModel now published together with a VoxLabs Foundation to oversee its global implementation.
- What is VoxLabs? A.The VoxLabs new business model on which VWC functions was founded in 1991, created and market tested/ trialled at enterprise level in over 40 countries since and continues to be operated through its custodian and founder-owner, Richard O'Farrell at: www.labs.voxworld.coop. It was developed in Ireland under the oversight of VoxLabs and will be implemented under stewardship of VoxFranchise - both business names registered in Ireland from where all entities will continue to be operated. Today its activities are primarily involved in identifying VoxLabs Licensees to implement the model for primary benefit of Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Communities.
- Q. Who owns VoxWorld.Coop? A. While based on the principles of the Cooperative movement, VoxWorld.Coop (VWC) is designed for 100% ownership by its Community Brand member organisations and for exclusive application to the Communities they represent. It is dedicated to Underserved Communities worldwide, and specifically, people who are best known as the 4 billion inhabitants of the Bottom of the Pyramid who have to survive on a few dollars a day. Each Community Brand will be owned by its Local VWC Chapter. Each Local VWC Chapter will become a member of each Regional VWC Chapter. Each Regional VWC Chapter will become a member of the Global VoxWorld.Coop - an international community cooperative organisation, with HQ in Ireland. Each local, regional and global organisation will be implemented and operated by elected representatives of registered Community-based Organisations. Its Corporate arm is a collaborative Consumer Service Provider with three Divisions - VoxFranchise, VoxStudios and VoxMobile; acting as one collage of corporate service providers who are ideally developed Co-operatives, often Workers Co-ops, and who are independently owned by their founders, funders, contributors and partners as multiple stakeholders.
- Q. What is VoxWorld.Coop? A. It is a new International Community Cooperative Organisation being created for Virtual Communities in Social Marketplace. It is open for membership by any Community-based organisation representing or interfacing through their members with Diaspora Orgs, Social Causes & Social Movements - especially Cooperatives, TeleCentres, Social Enterprise Centres, Self Help Groups and Culture-driven Communities. You may apply for membership and learn more about VoxWorld.Coop or simply meet and exchange experiences and views with other Community members at www.voxworld-coop.ning.com.
- Q. How does VoxWorld.Coop differ from other Community organisations? A. VoxWorld.Coop is a Top Level Domain with dotCoop Directory, on the .coop domain, the only domain name created specifically for the use of co-ops and co-op organizations. It has a co-promotional agreement with dotCoop to provide VoxWorld.Coop branded services to Co-op Communities worldwide. VoxWorld.Coop has exclusive rights for customisation, productisation and servitisation with VoxFranchise, VoxStudios and VoxMobile future entities - together designed to deliver the VoxLabs virtual E-Business model licensed services, created for and dedicated to the advancement of Community-driven Co-op trading. It is a three dimensional model - Enterprise, Digital and Social. It's Catalogue and Storefronts uniquely features Education, Innovation and Microfinance services. The Social Marketplace Outlets are located at WorkPlace, MeetingPlace and HomePlace locations - in collaboration with Co-ops, Colleges and Corps - where members can learn, earn, shop and save. The model supports Social Purchasing, Culture Showcase-ing Exchanges and Online Opportunities to Work at Home. All product and service Programmes support fundraising for the creation and operation of Community Development Hubs - with Investment administration and oversight through the VoxLabs-authorised Foundation. VoxWorld.Coop will manage Community Outlets as metamediary, providing a Visitor Centre with weekly promotional activities and deep discounts for bulk purchasing as enabled by creation of your own interactive Community Brand- aggregated at VoxLabs Smartshops in cross-border Social Enterprise Centres locations.
- Q. Does my Community have to register as a Cooperative and what are the criteria for eligibility? A. You do not need to be a Co-op to register at VoxWorld.Coop Social Marketplace (refer above), but Co-operative membership is required for your Community to begin trading at VoxWorld.Coop Community Outlets. If not already a registered Co-op - to be approved, you need to first be registered for use a .coop domain name at www.coop, and where you need to qualify under at least one of the following criteria, seen at http://www.coop/Buy/EligibilityCriteria.aspx. In short, only cooperatives, cooperative service organizations and subsidiaries of cooperatives are eligible to register a .coop domain unless specific exception is made by application to dotCoop, the sponsor of the .coop TLD. DotCoop will review your eligibility at no charge to ensure your eligibility for a .coop domain prior to registration.
- Q. Can you share with us your experience in partnering with Diaspora Orgs, Social Causes & Social Movements.? A.This is an entirely new idea from VoxWorld.Coop, this next stage development being the creation of Community Development Hubs at Home, Locally, in a link up with Smart Traders and then cross-border typically to the global Smart Outlets via Local Affiliated Orgs and Community-based Orgs. VoxLabs has traded the enterprise dimension of the model in retail outlets across 40 countries, under private label.
- Q. What is the Goal of VoxWorld.Coop? A.VoxWorld.Coop promotes education, innovation and microfinance with the ultimate goal being creation of Culture-driven Homeshores-direct jobs, or culture-driven Sm'art Jobs, sustained through cultural differentiation and involvement of Diaspora communities.
- Q. How is this going to be achieved? A.We are currently introducing the VoxWorld.Coop Sm'art Wallet, in three versions; firstly, to leverage money transfers (remittances) with Diaspora organisations for increased microfinance availability; secondly, to assist in creation of a community Social Brand with digital culture products and services like Culture Travel; thirdly, to promote Co-op TeleTraded-services in support of job creation at home like TeleTeach, TeleCare & other TeleServices
- Q. As regards Remittances in first version of VoxWorld.Coop Smart Wallet, there are plenty of options now available, both traditional and innovative models, including those of Western Union and local and international commercial banks - so are there comparative studies available that would serve as guide? A. We do promote a very good comparative chart on our web site homepage: Compare Remittances Prices Worldwide (source: World Bank) http://remittanceprices.worldbank.org/RemittanceCosts/?from=197&.... It shows how latest rates vary from (for example) US to Philippines on $200 transfers from 2.8% to 14.25%, where Western Union best rate is 8.81% and overall average is 6.44%. And that cost is the total cost, including exchange rate margin. Transfer speeds, origination convenience and destination coverage vary radically of course. For $500 transfers that cost range drops - from 1.3% to 12.15%, WU drops to best rate 5.21% and overall average to 4.02%. And yes indeed, the same information is indeed available and true of other countries as that comparison website also shows. Users can choose based on all the facts. As for VoxWorld.Coop - we in fact support and aim to add value rather than to compete with MTO's, Banks & CU's - any of which can equally avail of and be part of our Sm'art Wallets concepts and Package Deals in primary the origination markets. We have actively promoted the idea of introducing lower cost Community based transfer rates to support local community development at MTO's like Western Union, FedACHi, NAFCU, MoneyGram, Citibank, etc; as well as promoting 'payroll direct to CU's' incentivisation ideas to USA Employers and Credit Unions.
- Q. I wonder how your eCommerce model fares in the competitive domestic and global marketplaces - how does VoxWorld.Coop change things? A. We differ in a number of very important ways from MTOs, Banks & Credit Unions - we first help provide access to better financial Education (online, offline or mobile) as an Alliance member of FDIC Money Smart in USA; we provide up-to-the-minute information on comparative rates, mobile transfers and convenience factors from World Bank online; and on how remitters could leverage money transfers to support wide scale first/dual accounts, microcredit, debitcards, smartcards, ATM's, MSME finance etc. Above all, we propose innovation in how OFW's/ Diaspora can create Sm'art Jobs at home (effectively-and without having to become emigrants or returnees) for their families and Community in online opportunities to work at home - through driving Culture Travel, TeleCare, ICT services etc. We introduced and continue to promote the idea of Social Purchasing to generate seed capital for same through Diaspora, Social Movements and Causes Programmes featuring fund-raising to create and operate Community Development Hubs in support of Sm'art Traders.
Q. What makes it different from the rest that could bring about client shift - how does it differentiate from Brand providers and create added value? A.We bring all these elements together in triple Sm'art Wallet Concepts. So in the final analysis- we are not competitors with MTO's, Banks, Post Offices and CU's but instead support them based on best providers- those offering the best rates but also those set within broad based community package deals. We are exclusively interested in leveraging Money Transfers for Community Development instead. VoxWorld.Coop also acts as a go-between to build the best package deals for Communities, for re-presentation in format of today's Smart Wallets & Smart Culture Showcases, all from multiple marketplace providers that include one or all of three domensions (online, offline and mobile) - education, microfinance and innovation for Sm'art Traders. In short, VoxWorld.Coop supports with customisable and servitised Smart Wallets the development of global Community Social Brands for products and services within Community Development Hubs, as enabled by Sm'art Culture Showcases Outlets offered in cultural exchanges across global communities at homeplace, workplace and meeting places worldwide. That is how VoxWorld.Coop's differentiates and added value creation and am happy to assist further if or when this process can generate added value for your people.
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