about us

A local network with global reach
A local network with global reach
A local network with global reach
our story

In 2010, Echo found its feet as a grassroots project in Hackney, East London. We met in person, creating a space for local people to start small and swap skills, an hour for an hour.

Pretty soon, businesses wanted in on the action – local theatres traded tickets for front of house support, whilst yoga teachers exchanged classes for venue space.

Twelve years on, and Echo has established itself as a local network with a global reach.

We’ve built an accessible platform designed for people to exchange time and skills in place of pounds and pence, championing a currency rooted in values of equality and reciprocity.


Listening to the needs of our community to shape our direction, we opened up the project so that businesses could join too.

In 2013 and with the support of Nesta, the London Legacy Development Corporation, and several hundred members in the network, we decided to expand our reach beyond just Hackney.

A growing community

We’re now an online network advocating for offline connections, with a diverse membership spanning corporate boardrooms to local back gardens.

Our members have exchanged thousands of hours of skills and talents, whilst our programmes have supported hundreds of budding entrepreneurs to launch and grow impactful projects and businesses.


In 2020 we joined forces with Civic, a social enterprise sharing our vision to help develop and scale civic innovations within communities.

Together, we are working on making our digital platform and methodology shareable, creating a tool that nourishes a culture of creativity, entrepreneurship, and impact.

our team

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Stuart Duncan
Managing Director

Stuart is responsible for the smooth day to day running of Echo, partnerships and fundraising. He oversees Echo's strategy as we bring Echo to new locations in the UK and globally.

Sara Kärpänen
Communications and Programmes Manager

Sara leads on all aspects of our enterprise programmes and communications. She is also a poet, journalist and author and founder of Women of the Wick.

Veronica Asenso Afriyie
Community Activator

Veronica leads on our social media and supports Echo members across East London. She is multi-disciplinary artist and social entrepreneur.

Sarah Henderson
Co-Founder and Director

Sarah has been part of the Echo team since the beginning. She supports with Echo's strategy, growth and digital product.


Echo has been recognised by a number of publications as a platform with a promise and a purpose. Working with exchanges rather than transactions has created a community, and we’re not the first to say it.

Our Purpose

We see a future of radical collaboration and grassroots community, an Echo network of innovative, supportive, and creative people and businesses connected by a new currency. It’s time.

echo news

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online community

It’s time for a change.

A new phase for Echo.

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Member Story: Ed Clark

For this month’s member story, we interviewed Edward Clark, founder of Adventure Stories – an award-winning design practice who think about brands differently.

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A new brand, website and member's platform. It's time.

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From a Community Leader to Winning Entrepreneur - Meet James Kaguima

We had a chat with James Kaguima, the founder of the skating community Skate Cabal, who took part of the YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Alliance in Stratford in 2022.

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