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New App-Based Booking Could Revolutionize Housecleaning Worker Co-ops


[A group of Si Se Puede’s 65 worker-owners pose for a recent photo.]
Founded in Brooklyn, New York in 2006, Si Se Puede! Women’s Cooperative brings together immigrant women to create a women-run, women-owned, eco-friendly housecleaning business that provides living wage jobs in safe environments. Now 65-members strong, Si Se Puede! has partnered with a group of researchers from Cornell Tech to plug into the digital-sharing economy. Co-operative News published this report:

In New York, a new mobile app could revolutionize business growth for worker co-ops in low-income industries.

An initiative between the housecleaning co-op Si Se Puede! (We can do it!) and a group of researchers from Cornell Tech Graduate School aims to allow them to offer home-cleaning services to a wider spectrum of clients, connecting workers to the ‘digital sharing economy’.

The Coopify app was unveiled at the Platform Cooperativism event in New York last November. Clients can easily request house cleaning through the app, which is owned by the worker-owners themselves.

Melina Diaconis, an MBA candidate who helped develop the app, said the businesses could grow and “won’t have to rely on the bottleneck of office managers for bookings.” She also said that “the money is going to the worker, not the business of the Coopify platform.”

This partnership has been in the works for two years. The developers from Cornell and worker-owners from Si Se Puede! connected via Robin Hood, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty in New York.

Together, the developers and worker-owners have been collaborating to create unique features on the app such as multiple languages, ease of use—they believe ordering a house clean should be as easy as booking an Uber—and a connection with Facebook to allow people to easily spread the word.

Emma Yorra, the co-director of the cooperative development program at the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn, works with Si Se Puede! and also presented at the Platform Cooperativism event. She says Coopify should “bring a face and a sense of community to the app-based booking world.”

Coopify will be unveiled in beta form in spring 2016, before a full release in the autumn.

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