"Building a Collaborative Future: The Power of Community College and Zebra Startups"



Jul 21, 20233 min read


"Building a Collaborative Future: The Power of Community College and Zebra Startups"


In a world dominated by unicorns - startups that strive for exponential growth and monopolistic control - a new approach has emerged. Zebras, as they are called, are startups that prioritize diversity, practicality, and accountability to the communities they serve. This article explores the potential of community colleges and the principles of Zebra startups, and how they intersect to create a collaborative future.

Community College: Empowering Local Communities

Community colleges have long been hailed as institutions that provide accessible education and training to individuals from diverse backgrounds. These institutions serve as a gateway to higher education, enabling students to gain practical skills and knowledge that can directly benefit their local communities. Community colleges offer a wide range of programs, including vocational training, associate degrees, and transferable credits to four-year institutions.

Meetup: A Zebra Company at the Intersection of Profit and Purpose

Meetup, a popular platform for organizing and joining local groups, embodies the essence of a Zebra company. It brings people together, fosters connections, and promotes the collective power of communities. Zebras Unite, a movement supporting Zebra startups, recognizes Meetup as an exemplary platform that aligns with their values. Meetup's success lies in its belief in the potential of humanity, mission-focused approach, and passion for serendipitous encounters.

Common Ground: Community Empowerment and Collective Power

Both community colleges and Zebra startups share a common goal: empowering individuals and communities. Community colleges empower students by providing accessible education and training, while Zebra startups empower communities by prioritizing diversity, accountability, and practical solutions. By combining the strengths of these two approaches, we can create a collaborative future that benefits all.

Actionable Advice:

1. Foster Collaboration Between Community Colleges and Zebra Startups:

Community colleges can partner with Zebra startups to provide students with real-world experiences and opportunities. This collaboration can take the form of internships, mentorship programs, or joint projects. By integrating the principles of Zebra startups into their curriculum, community colleges can equip students with the skills and mindset needed to build accountable and diverse businesses.

2. Democratize Data Ownership:

Zebra startups challenge the prevailing model of data exploitation by empowering users to own and monetize their data. Meetup, for example, could pioneer a democratic model of data ownership, allowing users to decide who can access and use their data. By building features that enable users to lease their data and receive compensation, Meetup can empower its community members and redefine the relationship between platforms and users.

3. Build Platforms for and with the Community:

Meetup, as a platform, has immense potential to build collective power within communities. By involving organizers and individual members in shaping the platform's pricing structure and providing dividends for their contributions, Meetup can strengthen its community-driven approach. By building on the collective power of its users, Meetup can create a platform that truly serves the needs and aspirations of its diverse user base.


The convergence of community colleges and Zebra startups presents a unique opportunity to build a collaborative future. By embracing the principles of accountability, diversity, and practicality, we can empower individuals and communities to shape their own destinies. By fostering collaboration, democratizing data ownership, and building platforms for and with the community, we can create a more equitable and inclusive society. Let us embrace this vision and work towards a future where the power of community is harnessed for the greater good.

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