In 2012, Jennifer and John found themselves collaborating on a project that captured their imaginations: non-profits and small businesses working hand in hand. Together, Jennifer and John wanted to build programs and enterprises to be fiscally sound, draw on inclusive leadership, and intentionally create a culture that is better for workers, better for communities, and better for the planet. This idea changed their lives. Working INK kicked off 2013 by growing its staff and refining its mission to reflect the passion and new direction of their work.
Working INK’s new capacity included strategic planning, fiscal and business process optimization, team development and purpose driven programming for both non-profits and small businesses. Working with small businesses perhaps being the most exciting new element, connecting their team to new resources and opportunities including Fairbanks’s first StartUp Weekend where their project, FAIRBIKES, gained unexpected traction.
FAIRBIKES, a bike share, started as a case study for a business model John and Jennifer were working with designed to lower risk and drammatically increase agility and leverage in the critical early stages of launching a business. They hoped to develop a solid strategy to support non-profits and small business in realistically pursuing a triple bottom line: planet, people, and profits while remaining competitive in the marketplace. They pitched a business structured with these elements at StartUp Weekend and rather unexpectedly won.
By October, six months of hands-on market research showed an overwhelmingly positive response from Fairbanks locals and visitors to the idea of a bike share in the community. The public offered suggestions, expressed excitement and shared their thoughts on the ways a bike share could positively impact the Fairbanks. Recognizing the opportunity to see the process from start to launch and the value that would bring to their existing work clients Working INK committed to transitioning FAIRBIKES from a case study to a corporation.
October 31, 2013, John founded FAIRBIKES which piloted Fall 2015 and Community-wide May 2016.