2018 Community of Dragons May 10th!

This is the 7th year of the Local Entrepreneur Forum, where members of the community come together to connect, support local entrepreneurs and raise up enterprises that are doing good.  It’s like a barn raising. It’s like how during the March blizzard, people delighted in the snow and looked out for one another, helping neighbours, helping strangers.  We’re all in this together.

This year’s Community of Dragons is Thursday, May 10th, at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel Ballroom. Bar opens at 6pm and programme starts at 7pm.  We’ll have the Leader of South Hams District Council, John Tucker, offering some remarks to get things started. Yes – Cllr Tucker has been a keen supporter of the REconomy Centre and this project and we’re delighted he’s supporting the Community of Dragons.

But of course, it’s all about the pitchers and this year we have four amazing enterprises:

Rachel Musson

ThoughtBox Educationwww.thoughtboxeducation.com –  ThoughtBox programmes develop critical thinking, empathy & connection, helping our children learn to make sense of the world.


Anna Thomson

Nourishing Familiesnourishingfamilies.weebly.com – A social enterprise in the making, Nourishing Families is dedicated to supporting parents and children get maximum benefit and enjoyment from food and meals times.


Rebecca Cheshire

Revolutionary Womenwww.revolutionary-women.org.uk – Our mission is to connect women who are looking for opportunities to change their lives, and the world around them, with women who can help them to achieve their goals.


Yvonne Scepanik

Fieldgrassjuicefieldgrassjuice.com – Organic fieldgrown WHEATGRASS harvested traditionally, freshly pressed and frozen. ‘Nestled on the slopes of fertile Devon, near the coast at Beeson,  our WINTER WHEAT has weathered wild storms, grey blue ocean coloured clouds watering the earth seemingly endlessly…’


Everyone is invited and everyone can play the role of ‘dragon’ for the evening.  Investments include offers of help, support, money, hugs – it’s all good!  These enterprises will be lifted up by whatever we can ‘invest’. Come along – it’s fun and fulfilling. And help spread the word!




Project Design Hackathon

Methodist Church Hall, Totnes
April 19th 5:30pm – 9:30 pm
Cost – sliding scale at the door

Present your project idea to a small group of friendly faces. Teams of local designers, business heads and creative problem solvers apply their collective genius, working with you to help make it real. Maybe even get it ready to pitch to the Community of Dragons! It’s that simple.

But slots for proposed projects are limited – if you’re interested in having your project idea ‘hacked’, send an email to reconomycentre@gmail.com

And if you’re interested in being a ‘hacker’ please come and share your experience, creative thinking, and support for some projects that could benefit the community.

Here’s a short video of last year’s Hackathon: https://youtu.be/W8kZ3uhzvVk

This is part of the 7th Local Entrepreneur Forum programme for 2018.  See you, soon!

REconomy Centre Festive Season Party

Tuesday, Dec 12, 5pm-7pm
REconomy Centre

Join us for a fun evening, connecting, laughing, imbibing – a good ole office party. Speed dating? Yes, of course. Everyone is welcome. Bring a little something to share and your business cards. Followed by Totnes Late Night Shopping madness. Good times. 🙂

We’ll also share information about:

  • the April Project Design Hackathon and how to get involved
  • the May Community of Dragons and how you can apply to pitch
  • upcoming workshops
  • co-working at the REconomy Centre

Workshop – Pull together an engaging ‘personal brand’ and CV

Date: Thursday 23rd November (10am-1pm)
Venue: Reconomy Centre, Totnes
To book: wmurtha2@gmail.com

Pull together an engaging ‘personal brand’ and CV to create more impact with HR, influencers and recruiters.

You may have spent countless hours editing and re-editing your CV, but how do you know if it’s still what recruiters are looking for? Are you often left frustrated and confused, curios of how the national job-boards like Monster and Reed actually work? Do you know what your personal statement should really say about you to make maximum impact? Too many skilled and gifted candidates are throwing away great opportunities for new roles-and all because they have little idea of what a compelling and engaging CV should like.

Please join coaching and recruiting professional for a 3 hour workshop where you’ll learn how to structure a compelling CV, one that truly reflects who you are, and what you have to offer, so that you can increase your chances of finding much better opportunities.

“Go to my latest article on LinkedIn…Getting CV savvy www.linkedin.com/in/william-murtha

Booking is essential – email wmurtha2@gmail.com for details.

Totnes Community of Dragons Flips “Dragons’ Den”!

Community gathers to invest in local enterprises in party atmosphere

If you have watched the Dragons’ Den on TV, you may have already figured out the twist behind the May 11th Community of Dragons event in Totnes – everyone’s an investor. For the past six years, the people of Totnes and District have come

Katie ‘Mama’ Tokus

together to help local entrepreneurs lift off, or a young business grow, with financial and non-financial investments of thousands of Pounds Sterling, offers of business advice – and even child minding and home-cooked meals.

This year’s event is at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel Ballroom and will be co-hosted by Katie ‘Mama’ Tokus, singer of sassy, self-penned blues and soul songs, and a spoken word performer. The evening promises to be fun, lively and productive.

Five local projects will be pitching for funds, advice, and help of all kinds to get their businesses to the next level: food growers the Apricot Centre, at Huxhams Cross Biodynamic Farm, led by Bob Mehew; Potting Shed

Bob Mehew

Studio 45, led by Richenda Macgregor; Yew Media, led by Jay Jacoby; Black Bee Combe, led by Emily Reed and Woodland Presents CIC, led by AL Tempist. All five enterprises operate within sectors identified in the Local Economic Blueprint as essential for the vitality of the South Devon economy.

Richenda Macgregor

Jay Jacoby of Yew Media, a bespoke biographical and personal legacy film company, says, “I’m SO grateful, excited, honoured, scared and happy!!! Thank you for this opportunity! I can’t wait to ‘get stuck in’!” Bob Mehew says, “We at The Apricot Centre are delighted to be presenting to the Community of Dragons this year. With public help we can invest in and share our tractor and other machinery to enable us and other small scale land-workers to improve their efficiency and go further.”  Emily Reed of Black Bee Combe says, “We seek to demonstrate ethical beekeeping, by using hives which support honeybees natural preferences,

Jay Jacoby

practicing minimal intervention beekeeping and reestablishing a locally adapted strain of the nationally threatened native honeybee. I hope the Dragons can help us develop new income streams to support the project.

Emily Reed

The way it works is that everyone can participate and be a ‘dragon’, just like in the ‘Dragon’s Den’ TV show, except we’re all friendly dragons,” says Jay Tompt, coordinator of the Totnes REconomy Project, one of the co-organisers of the event. “We can support our local entrepreneurs with money or time or skills or experience or neighbourly encouragement. Past investments have included hugs and home-cooked meals, for example.

Al Tempest

The 2017 Community of Dragons has been timed to take place during Global Divestment Week (May 5th-13th), when campaigning groups synchronised by climate safety charity 350.org will be persuading individuals and institutions all over the world to move their money out of climate damaging fossil fuel investments. But moving one’s money is only the first step; the Community of Dragons creates investment opportunities, the second and key part of Divest/Invest. Here is where people can move their money closer to home and put it to work creating a vibrant, healthy economy that can grow for the benefit of everyone, providing opportunities for young people and new life for the Devon economy.

The event has supported a wide range of businesses in the last six years. Last year, Ambios Ltd – an educational farm project – and local caterer The Kitchen Table pitched, alongside theatre designer Iola and horse trainer Horse & Heart. In prior years, enterprises have included the food processor Grown in Totnes, New Lion Brewery, GroCycle mushroom farm, and Argand Solutions, a technology company. Last Saturday, April 29th, saw The Kitchen Table providing local-grain-based catering for Grown In Totnes’ processing unit launch on the Totnes Industrial Estate. Both these enterprises are dedicated to promoting local food, and such mutual support is what the Community of Dragons is all about.

I never thought I could be an investor but always wanted to support the kinds of businesses I’d really like to have in my community,” says 2016 participant Jane Brady. “It felt so good when I ‘invested’ in Ambios last year with my promise to take part in their ‘share in a sheep’ scheme. It was the most delicious investment I’ve ever made in my life!

John Elford of the Totnes Pound says, “We will be be making the annual Totnes Pound award of t£100 to the enterprise project that best embodies the spirit of Totnes innovation, and t£21 to all the other pitchers.In every community there are people with experience in business, people with a little bit of money in the bank, and people who value the neighbourliness in the places they live. The idea behind the Community of Dragons and other ‘reconomy’ projects is that when local people come together like this, a vibrant, healthy economy can grow, providing opportunities for young people and new life for our High Streets.

Everyone is warmly invited to join the fun at the Community of Dragon’s event, May 11th, Royal Seven Stars Ballroom, Totnes – networking starts at 6pm, programme at 7pm. Further information are available on the REconomy Centre website at www.bit.ly/lef2017

Rethinking Waste into Resources

Rethinking Waste into Resources

January 26 @ 6:30 pm8:30 pm at REconomy Centre

Sickened by the piles of ‘rubbish’ and recycling bags you accumulated over Christmas? Despairing of the mountains of waste in the streets waiting to be taken away for incineration? Ben Bryant of the Devon Community Recycling Network will be hosting this meeting to explore how we can turn more of our household and business ‘waste’ into useful resources. This could be the start of a ‘circular economy’ group.

Email Ben, here:  info at dcrn.org.uk for more information.

Back by popular demand! Finding the Right Work

Saturday 26 November 2016, 10.00am – 4.30pm

Cost: pay what you feel

This one day workshop is for you if you want to find work that is aligned with your skills and passions, or to make your current working life more fulfilling. Everyone has unique qualities and skills to offer – but in today’s highly commercialised and individualistic society, many find themselves in work they don’t enjoy, or doesn’t fit their values. Through discussion, creative activity and individual reflection, you’ll gain greater clarity about how your life at work could develop. You’ll create a plan to take these insights back into your daily life, launching you gently towards realising your vision.

Gill Coombs
Gill Coombs

Gill Coombs’ role is to match people’s skills and passions with the needs of the world, through workshops and 1:1 sessions. Author of Hearing our Calling, she brings a diverse work history, many years of coaching and group facilitation, a relaxed, friendly, compassionate approach and a deep commitment to the importance of finding our calling in the world.

To book: gillcoombs@gillcoombs.co.uk


Open Marketing Surgery with Karen Hunt

July 15th, 1pm-4pm  at the REconomy Centre
What is an Open Marketing Surgery? 

  • A flexible approach to getting the help you need to grow your business
  • A 1 – 3 hours session depending on the number of participants – Min. 2 Max. 12
  • A hybrid workshop/1:1/group session
  • No set agenda – YOU and YOUR NEEDS set the agenda
  • No useless jargon or business/marketing speak to learn
  • Learn what you need to do, how to do it and get feedback on it

What can you expect? 

  • Join other wonderful heart-centered business owners who are ready to transform their business
  • Get your specific questions answered like you would in a 1:1 session without the high price tag
  • Actually do the work during the session so you can walk away with it done!
  • No more wasting time guessing what you should do or what will work – get help from your peers and a marketing expert who understands your business approach

What could you do in the session?

  • Decide what to focus on to get your business started
  • Create a 1 page marketing plan
  • Finally choose which social media channel to use
  • Create an advert
  • Write copy for your website
  • Clarify who your customers are
  • Gain more confidence so you can step up and be seen without fear
  • Learn how to sell without feeling sleazy
  • The list is endless!!!
Karen HuntKaren Hunt – A bit about me…
I have set up and facilitated several initiatives in Totnes to help small sustainable businesses improve their marketing, These include the Marketing Surgery and the Marketing Club at the REconomy Centre. I have many years experience in sales and marketing working with sole traders to Blue Chip companies; set up my own small businesses including a social enterprise and helped launch the new notes and electronic Totnes Pound. I’m the creator of the Transformational Marketing Method™ and How to Get More Clients™ designed specifically for healers/therapists.

Pitching to the ‘Community of Dragons’

This is proving to be an interesting year for a very young, but growing, ‘new economy’ emerging in this region.  A new economy, we say, because the key value drivers are fairness, ecological integrity, resilience, wellbeing, and earning a ‘regenerative profit’. And growing, because young, new enterprises are launching and expanding all around us.

On May 12th, Totnes and the 5th annual Local Entrepreneur Forum become the focal point, with a full-day agenda designed to help new economy entrepreneurs, organisers, activists, supporters, investors, catalysts – and everyone in the community – connect, share, learn, collaborate, support and invest.  Four very worthy entrepreneurs will pitch their projects to the ‘Community of Dragons’, (that means everyone – we can all be investors!)

Pitching this year:

Iola WeirIola – iolaweir.co.uk – a start up led by Iola Weir in the theatre arts space with a vision to create local livelihoods and be catalyst for a flourishing regional arts and culture scene.

Sima CuttingThe Kitchen Table – thekitchentable.org.uk – an expanding sustainable catering company led by Sima Cutting, supporting local producers and raising awareness of important food system issues.

marieHorse and Heart – www.horse-and-heart.com – Marie Franco leads this expanding horsemanship training practice offering a range of services supporting the use of horses in agriculture and health & care.

Jack SkuseAmbios – www.ambios.net – an expanding farm and educational project led by Jack Skuse, producing organic food and serving the land-based educational needs of young people.

Each of these projects is looking to contribute positive impacts to our community in a range of ways – please stay tuned for more information about them and their pitches. And please plan to attend the LEF, May 12 at the Totnes Civic Hall, where you can hear their stories first hand and invest your support, it whatever way you’d like. In the meantime, please don’t be shy about rallying the support of your friends and neighbours, and cheerleading for these hardworking change makers on social media.


Book now for LEF5 and get ‘early bird’ discount

Create you own future. Pitch at LEF5This is the 5th annual Local Entrepreneur Forum in Totnes is on and it is going to be smashing. If that’s enough for you, we’re now accepting ‘early bird’ discounted bookings, through Sunday April 10th. Go on, click it!

Want more details? Read on, or check out the full programme.

Timing – This year we’re starting the day at 2pm and will go to 10pm, which means more people can participate, especially for the Community of Dragons bit. We’re mixing a few other things up, such as more time for networking and collaborating, and a more fun evening After Party.

Rhodri Samuel, the new CEO Dartington Hall Trust, will have some very interesting things to say during his short ‘afternoon keynote’, perhaps offering a glimpse of an emerging new vision for Dartington Hall.

Invest at Local Entrepreneur ForumJonny Gordon-Farleigh, founder of Stir to Action – publisher, entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, catalyst for change, new economy organiser – all that while still in his 20s! He’s also co-founding member of the Young Cooperators Network and will share his experience during his ‘evening keynote’ as an emerging ‘new economy’ leader in the Southwest.

Pedal powered coffee from the BeanBug, lovingly prepared locally sourced cuisine from The Kitchen Table, and community supporting craft brewed ales from New Lion Brewery.

We’ll have the Needs & Offers wall and Be Like a Bee, just as we always do, so you’ll meet who you need to meet and learn what you need to learn.

The Community Dragons – we’ll have four or five projects pitch. Could it be yours? And we’re also on the lookout for projects led by young people and ready to offer a little extra support. Our deadline is April 1, so act sharpish.

After party – we’ll have NLB brews flowing and special DJ set by the Sea Change Festival.

Click here for the full programme.

** Book now and get early bird pricing for **