The Local Entrepreneur Forum is a powerful catalyst for a vibrant, bustling, and abundant new economy in the Totnes area. Every year, we bring 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.
What’s up for this year’s Local Entrepreneur Forum? It’s grown into two productive events:
Community of Dragons
Thursday, 7pm, Seven Stars Hotel
Cost – sliding scale on the door
Have you seen Dragons’ Den on TV? The Totnes version is different – everyone’s a dragon! Come along and ‘invest’ money, expertise, neighbourliness and hugs to support your favourite local enterprise. Last year, over 60 offers of support were promised to 4 enterprises. This year…? Want to pitch your enterprise? Apply now, DEADLINE is April 21! There’s tons of support available at the REconomy Centre and the Project Design Hack-a-thon. Register your interest by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Design Hack-a-thon
Saturday, 10am-4pm, Totnes Methodist Hall,
Cost – sliding scale on 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 make it real. Maybe even get it ready to pitch to the Community of Dragons! It’s that simple.
Projects getting ‘hacked’:
- beer bottle reuse scheme
- play-based consultancy
- health and care service
- community composting and biochar
- parents and kid-friendly hub
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? Check out these blog posts: “The LEF – REconomy’s Killer App?”; “How to transform your local economy in one day”; “A Taste of the Future in the Community of Dragons”.
And check out this short film about the LEF in 2014, from Emilio Mula and Nu-Project – https://youtu.be/EnDiDxYFRXo
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”