A commitment to sustainable development is incomplete if it is not accompanied by a questioning of the ultraliberal model centred on productivity and growth at all costs. In contrast to this model, the Knitting Factory wishes to be part of an economy that improves the living conditions of all citizens, in a perspective that is equitable and viable in the short and long term.
A cooperative and participatory model
La Tricoterie is part of the social and solidarity economy movement and is structured around the cooperative society Théodore. At the time of our New Beginning in 2021, our cooperative was joined by 300 additional co-operators, and now has nearly 350 members.
In accordance with the principles of the social economy, we attach particular importance to the participatory dynamics of our project. This is why, on the occasion of our New Start, we decided to include our co-operators in the choice of part of our socio-cultural programming, but also to increase the participation of our staff in our decisions (see "Our social commitment"). We want to continue this evolution of the project towards more horizontality, collective intelligence, and democracy.
Integration into the local economy
Our commitment to a sustainable economy also includes our integration into the local economy. Particularly, we contribute to this dynamic when purchasing our products : fruit and vegetables from Terroirist, pastries and bread from boulangeries locales, beers from Brussels breweries (Brasserie de la Senne, de l’Annexe, Brussels Beer Project or 100 PAP).
Since 2019, we also accept payments in Zinne, and have become an exchange counter for users of this new currency. The Zinne is a local currency, citizen and complementary to the Euro, which aims to circulate within a network of businesses, self-employed and citizens of Brussels linked by a set of values (equity, ecology and solidarity).
Social purpose as a priority
As a social economy project, La Tricoterie differs from the dominant economic model, which places a premium on profit and growth. For us, the, social purpose of the project and the working conditions of our team are a priority, and we systematically reinvest our revenues in them.
Thus, with our New Start in 2021, we have reinvested a large part of our equity in the development of new spaces, the improvement of our energy performance and the expansion of our cultural offer. Although the distribution of dividends to our co-operators is not excluded, it can only take place in limited proportions, and only if the conditions of remuneration for our workers and partners and the development of our social purpose are optimal.
La Tricoterie, inspired by the theory of cultural third places, relies on three sources of funding : its own income, subsidies, and private investment.
Our own income comes from our event and catering activity, , managed by our cooperative Théodore. Our cash flow is thus based on a balance between this economic and commercial aspect on the one hand, and on the other hand our cultural and social aspect, organised by La Tricoterie ASBL, which articulates a socio-cultural season which, while achieving many objectives, remains in deficit on the economic level. La Tricoterie ASBL also receives its own income from its cultural activities (ticket sales), but this only constitutes 1/6 of its budget. Find out more about our economic model and the income and expenditure of our two structures here.
Secondly, La Tricoterie ASBL receives subsidies, mainly from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the COCOF. This financial support is essential to our operation, especially since the expansion of our buildings and the new deployment of our cultural programme, including the hosting and creation of concerts and shows.
Finally, our project could not exist without the indispensable presence of our co-operators. . Thanks to their financial investment, they have enabled our cooperative Théodore to buy the buildings in 2010, to carry out important renovation works, and to undertake a New Beginning in 2021. This collective ownership of our project, beyond its meaning in our social commitment, constitutes the third pillar of the financial stability of the Knitting Factory.
This tripartite financing is an extension of the Tricoterie’s sustainable philosophy it allows us to guarantee the continuity of our social mission, but also to maximise the use of our spaces by articulating them around several complementary uses (socio-cultural, events, Horeca). This research of synergies of different roles of cultural and citizen space register at the heart of our sustainable reflexion.