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How Modern Barter Creates Social Impact


Contemporary business-to-business (B2B) barter clubs are trade exchanges, often within a region and contribute to the development of a social, public and cooperative economy and impact on the local economy and community. This leads to greater survival for local businesses and positive social impact in the region.

B2B barter clubs or trade exchanges are not one-to-one trades, but are a computerized system of “units” which makes bartering easy for its members. They typically charge membership and transaction fees and provide promotion and facilitation of sales and purchases among its members, thus forming a network among its members. They can also print their own checks, issue their own credit cards, distribute their own scrips (vouchers or gift certificates), make loans with interest, and provide other alternatives to the cash economy.

B2B barter clubs or trade exchanges have the objective of increasing trade among business members with a simple barter credit system model. An example of this is First Canadian Barter Exchange (FCBE) aka Barterfirst with over 600 members in Metro Vancouver, with many in business and trading for over 10 years. There are several reasons for the long-time loyalty of its members:

Facilitating Member to Member Trades for Over 18 Years

The owners and management of FCBE have been in business for over 18 years and that results in stability amongst its membership base. Most of the +600 business members have been with FCBE for many years because the B2B barter club acts as a trusted referral agency for trade exchanges between members and this increases the likelihood for successful business transactions.

Improving Cash-flow With FCBE Barter Dollars

One of the unique features of B2B barter clubs or trade exchanges is ability for members to spend barter credit towards personal consumption, thus raising the standard of living for its members. Liza J. Lee, a FCBE member since 2003 says, “I’ve spent FCBE barter dollars I earned from editing and marketing, on restaurant meals, designer clothing, web design and other services and products from FCBE members. This enabled me to save cash towards my other goals. “

Minimizing Business Risks for Startups With FCBE

In addition to trading on the regular goods and services of a business, a barter club or trade exchange enables its members to test out new ideas, before spending a lot of time and cash on the new business. This early market validation for a startup can help determine if the new venture will be successful. If none of the barter members (within a network which acts as a captive market), are interested in a service or product, chances are there may not be enough demand in the general economy too.

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