Informal minutes from the Founding Members committee meeting on 21 October 2010.
2. Progress so far
Have secured £40k grant from Ideaspace which will be used for bootstrapping.
Discussed the various types of cost:
Space, OPEX. Could be borrowed or sublet. Paid for by sponsorship and/or membership. Setup, CAPEX. Paid for by sponsorship and/or membership + Ideaspace grant Kit. CAPEX Paid for by sponsorship and/or membership + Ideaspace grant Maintenance, OPEX (eg insurance (public liability), legal and accounting costs). Materials, OPEX, Paid by member purchase.
Consumables should be centrally provided and shared without formal controls. Eg honesty box for non-costly materials (not necessarily demanding payment at time-of-use).
We noted that the FabLab structure, of a formal set of kit and the various rules for operation, would be a subset of the overall Makespace. We also want a community space which doesn't fall within the FabLab model; hence the overall Makespace brand. This means we get a balance of the franchise/brand/support of FabLab, together with some independence and potential for growth.
We will start with a subset of the FabLab kit and build up. Maintaining both brand identities and functions.
3. committee and executive structure
We discussed an indicative structure only, there are no fixed decisions yet. This was an active topic and in the end left open as the questions around item 4, legal entity, tie in to it. The following is a record of the discussion, and doesn't indicate final positions:
We initially spoke of a Board of Trustees (or Advisory Board), which includes some/all of the Directors. The Directors might also sit on the Executive Committee (made up of volunteer members, in the main).
We discussed the value of a paid person, perhaps part time, as a Facilities Manager. This would facilitate events such as paid corporate training days. Perhaps a semi-retired person to maintain the kit.
We said there should be at least 3 directors, and ideally an odd number, to facilitate decision making.
The distinction between the paid person and volunteers on a committee would need to be clear.
Question over the ease of recruiting committee members, especially if the "top 3" roles were held by Directors. What liability would the committee hold?
We talked about how the board and the committee might communicate. Eg. "N executive committee members must attend the trustee meetings, these will most commonly be the directors"
We need to be careful over the legal meaning of Trustee and how that might differ from an Advisory Board.
Trustees/Advisors may represent major sponsors.
How do the Advisors/Trustees direct the work of the committee?
Perhaps Advisory board meetings would be rarer, with Board meetings being the required formal meetings.
4. Legal entity
This was an active topic and in the end left open; the following is a record of the discussion, and doesn't indicate final positions:
CIC or charity or both (with CIC as operating company and Charity as holder of the aims)
Charity: can gift aid membership (check what NT and other big societies do)
Charity: slower start due to formal registration being slow
CIC is a company, limited, with an asset lock (on dissolution) and potential tax breaks.
Need to be clear that a charity would never financially benefit a Trustee. This might be hard given our conception of Makespace.
Can we switch between entity types later? (need to find out)
What does Windhorse do?
Donating kit to makespace might be a tax break to the donating company.
Action: Tim, Stu, Simon and Jonny to investigate further.
Simon and Jonny will gather a shortlist of spaces and then consult the larger group for final decisions. Everyone should feed leads for spaces to S&J directly.
Want space which is acceptable for schools, corporates, and sponsorship (ie not too tatty). Mostly ground floor with loading bay for access. Car parking and drop off space (inc for coaches.minibus) would be valued. Space should be family-friendly/inclusive, eg not down unlit alleyway.
6. Web presence
Need: mailing list, wiki, IRC. Perhaps google or yahoo groups would easily provide the first. Already own makespace.org (static page on that is fine)
google groups: question over accessibility for some email systems, Lee/Tim to test.
Space should eventually have virtual servers associated with it as part of makespace offering.
Action: Jim to provide basic wiki.
7 & 8. Funding and sponsorship
With the grant funding and membership pledges we are in a better position to seek both more funding and sponsorship. Leads are important., please contact Simon/Jonny/Laura if you have any ideas.
Ingenious Grant from Royal Academy of Engineering, deadline 29 Oct. (action: Laura/Stu/Jonny)
Sponsors could sponsor memberships, eg for students/unwaged.
There were no objections to the idea of corporate sponsorship.
Unlimited may also be offering money at present. Also, Stu meeting NESTA on MOnday.
9. Finding more members
Another event - maybe a weekend hacking event. Get media in.
Need to improve social media presence first if possible - twitter, facebook, linkedin. Already haev @cammakespace on twitter.
Looking for another 16 founding members at the moment.
10. Item skipped as it depends on items 3+4 being more resolved first
11. Implementation plan, timeline
Unlikely to be ready for November. Time line depends on space being found.
Critical path: Need to incorporate to get a bank account, then can get Ideaspace grant money, then can buy things or rent space.
The meeting was happy to proceed on whatever CIC/Charity/other basis was decided by the subcommittee actioned in item 4.
The finances need to be kept reasonably open (even if the publication is somewhat after the fact, eg after formal reporting). major descisions should be opened to the committee.
Simon and Jonny are likely to wish to be Directors; anyone else interested in this commitment is invited to contact them. 12. Next meeting, Weds 3rd, 7:30pm.