Now in its 10th big year in Totnes, the Local Entrepreneur Forum is a powerful catalyst for a vibrant, bustling, and abundant new economy in the Totnes area. Just what we need now! Every year, we bring the community together – entrepreneurs, investors, and other change makers together to learn from each other, form new relationships, and begin enterprising collaborations. Social, sustainable, regenerative, resilient, innovative – new enterprises creating meaningful livelihoods and contributing to the community in positive ways. This is the beating heart of what we call ‘community supported entrepreneurism’.
Everyone has a stake in their local economy and everyone can be an investor, too. Entrepreneurs need all kinds of support. Financial capital is important, but so are other forms of support, from expert mentoring to child care. Entrepreneurs supported by the community do better. The economy does better, too. It’s part of what make this place a nice place to live and raise a family.
If you’d like to get involved in helping to organise this year’s activities, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 Local Entrepreneur Forum –
At New Lion Brewery, Dartington
Thursday 3pm – 8pm
May 19th, 2022
It’s the 10th one! Yes, 10 years we’ve been running this amazing community gathering aimed at bringing into being a resilient, ecological, just, convivial local economy. To date, 40 projects have pitched! Over 250 people have played the role of ‘community dragon’ and have made over 1000 ‘investments’. Join us May 19th at New Lion Brewery, who pitched at the very first LEF in 2012, and participate in this annual gathering full of solidarity, reciprocity, and positive change. Celebration will be part of the entire afternoon and evening. We’ll have networking, ‘open space’, breakouts, and lots of opportunity for new entrepreneurs – and old – to connect, build relationships with peers, supporters, investors. And then pizza and beer. And then pitching to the Community of Dragons!
3pm – assemble at the New Lion Brewery. They pitched at the very first Local Entrepreneur Forum in 2012, you know.
and then … Bee Like a Bee – with Hal Gillmore of Canoe Adventures – it’s our special blend of getting acquainted (networking) and open space (breakout sessions) on important questions like how can we get social and impact finance? What’s our community response to climate change? How to create prosperity for our young people? And when will we pedestrianise the High Street?!?!
5:30 – Order some amazing Pizzalogica pizza and locally brewed beer by New Lion Brewery and others, and enjoy yourself.
6:30 – The Community of Dragons session, with the amazing Katie Tokus, aka jazz artist Mama Tokus, co-hosting – we’ll celebrate 10 years of this event and many of the people who have been part of the story. Four amazing social, green and local entrepreneurs will pitch for the support of their community – all of us!
8:30 and on… music, friends, and more good times!
Ruth and Jon Rae
As a family run business, we believe that enterprise can help nourish a vibrant local culture, economy and habitat. Wherever possible, we work with local nature-friendly farmers and horticulturalists, and those that add real value to primary produce. As we grow, we want to give those that work with us or buy from us to have a stake in the enterprise, and we will innovate to do this.
Here at the Fresh Flour company, we partner with organic farmers and pay them a decent amount for their grain – four to five times the market rate – so they can tend the soil and environment, without fear of survival. We mill this grain using one of our stone mills. We then take this product, within a short amount of time, and make it into Pasta, Noodles, Crackers, Digestives and Bran Flakes, capturing a greater amount of nutritional value. We use Ancient and heritage and interesting wheats, as they are better for us and for the biodiversity.
Lizzie Woodall and Rob Hill
Totnes Bike Hub
Located at the Mansion House, the Totnes Bike Hub is a friendly space aimed to help you get on your bike and pedal towards a better future. Get your bike repaired, learn how to maintain it, meet others on our social bike rides or find your perfect pre-loved bike.
Changing lives and communities through meaningful occupation, supportive relationships and positive action. At Resilient Lives we help people help people. We started Pizza Pirates, a successful local enterprise that provides training and real living wage employment in a non-hierarchical environment. We call this a therapeutic workplace, and want it to be a model for the future of work and how we give meaningful end-goals to our training programmes.
Directions & Parking
Getting there – please be green. Walk, ride, bus, and/or lift share to get there. In fact, maybe ride together from Totnes Bike Hub! Park your vehicle at Meadowbrook carpark. This is where you will find New Lion Brewery – Meadowbrook Community Centre, Shinners Bridge, Dartington, TQ9 6JD.
Pitching to the Community of Dragons – Criteria
Each year, we have slots for 4 or 5 entrepreneurs to pitch their projects to the Community of Dragons. This is a great opportunity to raise the profile of your venture, as well as to gain financial and or/non-financial investment and support. Our criteria for choosing which ventures pitch:
- enterprise is ethical, sustainable and appropriately local
- demonstrates competence through business plan and/or track record
- business model does not rely on donations or grant funding
- ‘investment’ required would allow venture to ‘get to the next level’ – investment could be financial and/or non-financial.
- ideally would operate in one or more of the sectors identified in the Local Economic Blueprint – food, renewable energy, housing, health & care
- contributes to the long-term resilience of the community
- one slot is reserved for a youth-led enterprise.
Whether projects get to pitch or don’t, the LEF is designed so that everyone benefits.
LEF in depth
Want a more in-depth view on the Local Entrepreneur Forum, where it came from, and how it fits into the broader strategy behind the Totnes REconomy Project? Read our new Totnes REconomy Project Impact Report. And check out these blog posts: “The LEF – REconomy’s Killer App?”; “Citizen-led Economic Transition”; “A Taste of the Future in the Community of Dragons”.
You can also download the full 32-page 2017 Impact Report detailing some of the outcomes from the LEF, REconomy Centre and Local Economic Blueprint projects:
Rob Hopkins calls it one of the ten innovations coming out the Transition Movement that could begin to turn the crisis around. Ways With Words, July 13, 2013
What attendees have been saying:
“people lead such atomised lives. It’s a wonderful way of bringing people together.”
“Its not just about money. you get a double return from investing in our community”
“small acorns…you never know where things are going to lead”
“we are all investors”
What past pitchers have said about the experience (video):
- Holly Tiffen, Grown in Totnes
- Zav Bowden, Dart Valley Timber
- Doug King-Smith, HillyField CIC
- Fraser Durham, Argand Solutions
- Adam Sayner and Eric Jong, GroCycle
- Rob Hopkins, New Lion Brewery
- Mark Burton, Plough & Share Credit Union
- Chris Bird, Transition Homes
- Laura Creen, School Farm CSA
Please help us cover the costs!
This year’s event is coming together through the generously invested time and knowhow of a small group of people. Yay! We’ll have some expenses amounting to about £500. Please help us cover the costs and continue to organise these amazing gatherings.