Short Summary

Enspiral is a network and collective organization of freelance professionals and companies aiming to empower and support social entrepreneurship and meaningful work. Although Enspiral might be regarded as a mere network of like-minded entrepreneurs, it has grander ambitions to spur transformational social change through innovative open-source software platforms, new organizational forms and participatory social practices. Enspiral's tagline as a community of businesses and social activists is: "More people working on stuff that matters," followed by the words "collaboration, autonomy, transparency, diversity, entrepreneurialism, non-hierarchy."

Website address: enspiral.com

Location: Wellington & Auckland, New Zealand (note: has a transnational network of contributors)

Logo. source


Enspiral was founded by freelance computer programmer Joshua Vial as a collective of individuals doing contract work together. What began in 2010 as "a vision to make the world a better place through meaningful work" soon became a large network of diverse professionals drawn together by shared values. Its early participants showed a deep commitment to an ethic of experimentalism and social change. By 2015, it had 300 contributors and, a year later, more than 15 "social purpose companies" (Enspiral, 2016a).

As participation in Enspiral grew, its members formed independent, collaborative teams which operate with significant agility and low transaction costs. It developed legal and administrative structures -- the Enspiral Foundation, Enspiral Ventures, Enspiral Services, and the software Loomio and CoBudget -- to enable a blend of group collaboration and individual autonomy.

The shared vision in the founding of Enspiral was for everybody involved—mostly part-time, freelance professionals in various fields—to provide social and work support to each other while contributing part of their income to the group. The aggregated resources would allow the group to devote time to socially oriented projects. Enspiral teams provide a wide range of services, including custom development of websites and applications, project management and creative services, all specialized for projects that aim to create social value.

Enspiral's four "intended impacts" (source):

  1. "systemic solutions to critical social and environmental problems"
  2. "increased resources devoted to building social and environmental value"
  3. "work rehumanised"
  4. "a network-native model for business"

Enspiral is legally a limited liability company; the Enspiral Foundation is an umbrella organization that guides the work of Enspiral Ventures and Enspiral Services.

Although it would be easy to see Enspiral as a system for sharing finances and administration, it is functionally a social system that cultivates social solidarity, cooperation and trust among its participants. Social ties and collaborations are strengthened through daily contact in a shared co-working space in Wellington, New Zealand; periodic retreats; and online tools like Loomio and CoBudget. (Many Enspiral contributors live and work around the world.)

YOUTUBE ZDzLSRAo5ME Brief video describing the nature of Enspiral

YOUTUBE 5O1B5vuOocU Longer video explaining Enspiral's mission and practices via interviews with participants


Enspiral is especially known for developing Loomio, an open-source tool for group deliberation and decision-making, and CoBudget, a platform for participatory budgeting.

A list of Enspiral's other projects.

Friends & Partners

  • Living the Dream, an on-campus accelerator program that fosters new social entrepreneurs and is run by Inspiring Stories
  • Lifehack Labs, for which Enspiral partners with the Ministry of Social Development to lead a 5-week bootcamp to kickstart impact projects focused on the wellbeing of youth


Enspiral Services is a freelancer and contractor collective that became the first and largest Enspiral company. It collects a percentage of a freelancer's payments from external clients, usually 20%, but variable based on a worker's choice), which is then put into a collective pool. The rest is put into an individual's account that is entirely under his or her control. An internal virtual banking system operating as a limited liability company allows people to do business with each other and contribute to collective projects proposed by Enspiral members.

Monetary contributions to the Foundation are usually in the form of flexible revenue shares. These constitute the Foundation’s budget, which is collectively managed through CoBudget, a collaborative tool that allows members to direct specific projects that their contributions will support.

The Foundation serves as the legal entity of the network as a whole and has a charitable constitution mandating its nonprofit purpose and the reinvestment of all income for its social mission.

See Also

  • Other commons categories that are related to this one's, or specific similar examples