What is bHive?

The bHive Cooperative is a community owned person-to-person sharing economy platform being developed for Bendigo by a team of five local entrepreneurs.
bHive is the future of work.

The MAV Future of Local Government National Conference

“… your presentation received the highest level of positive feedback of any speaker at the event. Certainly a ‘wow’ for all concerned. We would love to work with you in the future”

John Hennessy, Municipal Association of Victoria

How might bHive work in with local government? What is the future of local economic development? Smart Cities or Sharing Cities? How should local government position itself in the fast approaching digital economy?

Meet Nicole, a bHive user

How does bHive work for a member? The first in a short series of videos that describe bHive.

A World First

bHive is a world first, place based sharing economy cooperative, receiving global interest through the ‘Platform Cooperative’ network. bHive is featured in this infographic.  bHive featured at the third Platform Cooperatives conference in New York in November 2017.

Why Now and Why Bendigo?

In 2013, the sharing economy globally was worth $13b, and by 2025 Forbes expects it to be worth $335b. That might be an underestimation. Uber and Airbnb are currently worth $90b and $75b as they spread through capital cities around the world. We believe that we have a three year window to establish an alternative here before these global platforms arrive in Bendigo by force. bHive will help Bendigo develop as a digital innovation hub. We can shape this economy locally, or have it happen to us.

In direct contrast to the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world who destroy local jobs, create precarious work and take profits and tax overseas, bHive is being built in Bendigo from the ground up. Bendigo people will build, operate and own the platform that will build over time to provides skill sharing, car sharing, lifts, food sharing, logistics, house sharing, crowdfunding, insurance and lots more.

Here is our EO and cofounder Ian McBurney on why bHive at our first public event in 2016:

The bHive Platform

  • The City Hive will enable the sharing of local events, create engaged citizens and develop applications for participatory democracy. It could also be the launch pad for local online news.
  • The Village Hive will build real relationships between neighbours and will enable the free or commons economy to flourish in Bendigo.
  • The Sharing Hive is the economic engine of bHive. It is the marketplace where local cooperatives are formed to deliver innovative peer to peer services in Bendigo across energy, money, transport, food, logistics and more economic sectors. Bendigo people will cooperatively build, operate and own these services.
  • The Giving Hive: a percentage of all spending in the Sharing Hive will to local charitable projects. This could help to fund the ecological restoration of Bendigo creek, local parks, bike infrastructure and more, especially to assist the welfare of Bendigo residents.

bHive Cooperative CoFounders

  • Julie Miller Markoff – Governance Guru
  • Ian McBurney – Cooperative Secretary
  • Marcus Turnbull – Technology
  • Clare Fountain – Business Development

More about the Founders here.

Current bHive Cooperative Directors

  • Ian McBurney – Chair and Community Leadership
  • Darrin Ray – Organisation and Governance
  • Paul Macartney – Technological Wiz
  • Scott Bryant – Brilliant Eye for Detail
  • Kathryn Stanislawski – Advocacy and Support

More about the Directors here.

Where We’ve Been

  • An amazing idea was formed and a team created to make it happen.
  • Donations were raised from some amazing humans.
  • A Strategic Plan created and Operations Plan were put in place.
  • The Cooperative entity was established and registered to form bHive.
  • Further wisely invested donations, along with grants and philanthropy enabled the web-based bHive “Villages” platform to be developed.
  • With much excitement, Villages was launched in 2019 and we began to gather momentum.
  • But then, upon the arrival of a global pandemic our world shifted and changed dramatically in many ways – focus shifted to day-to-day survival though endless bad news, lock downs and home schooling.
  • Some of our Board members took this opportunity to reflect, and we saw the departure of some founding Directors and the arrival of new Directors with different skills ready to take on the bHive vision.
  • Also through Covid, a wider sector of the community were obliged to become familiar with the use of mobile device App’s, and we realised that operating Villages as a web-based platform wouldn’t suit our modern lifestyle.
  • At our “Villages Reboot Workshop”, held in September 2022 at the Old Church on the Hill, we met with some of our wonderful members to discuss our progress to date and how our future might look.
  • We confirmed the need for bHive and Villages, and cannot wait to get the new App up and running and out there for everyone to use.

Where Next?

  • Finalise development of the Villages App, including some testing with a smaller group of users to get it right.
  • Get the App out there, being used by as many people, groups, businesses, everyone and everyone, as possible to localise our spending and create that epidemic of belonging that we all really need!
  • Plus, bHive are still investigating car sharing for Bendigo and are open to other ideas to support our community too.

Ongoing Financials

$2.5b is spent in Bendigo annually and most of that leaves town. bHive is about keeping that money flowing here.

In ten years, with 20,000 members, bHive turnover will pass $10m/year, with an additional $2.5m/year raised for charity and $34m/year being generated by our member sharing services, creating local work, local income and local profit for thousands of local people. bHive is the future of work.

Open Source Future

The plan is that bHive starts in Bendigo and spreads to other places, but given the right support it could easily start in other places first. The future economy is decentralised and bHive will be as well. We plan to help other towns build their own coop to run their own bHives.