The Local Entrepreneur Forum is a powerful catalyst for a new kind of economy in the Totnes area – vibrant, bustling, abundant. Every year for one jam-packed productive day, we bring entrepreneurs, investors, and other change makers together to learn from each other, form new relationships, and hopefully, to begin working together on new enterprises. It’s at the heart of what we call ‘community supported entrepreneurism’.
What kind of enterprises? Social, sustainable, regenerative, resilient – new companies that create meaningful livelihoods and contribute to the community in positive ways.
Everyone has a stake in their local economy and everyone can be an investor, too. Entrepreneurs need all kinds of support. Yes, financial capital is important, but so are other forms of support, from office space to child care. Entrepreneurs supported by the community do better. The economy does better, too. Everybody wins.
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 and interviews with past LEF pitchers, here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfo4OlxRider8YV5y3olx2Q
2017 Local Entrepreneur Forum
What’s up for this year’s Local Entrepreneur Forum? It’s evolving and developing into two productive events. First, a day to help develop good ideas using the ‘collective genius’ of the ‘reconomy community’. Next, an evening for the Community of Dragons.
Community Enterprise Design Workshop – April 8, Totnes Methodist Hall, 10am-4pm
This will be creative, productive and fun. Do you have an idea for a new enterprise that would benefit the community in some way? We’re hosting this design and prototyping event to help get your project into shape and off the ground. And maybe even get it ready to pitch at the next Community of Dragons. Interested? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org It’s part of our new Local Entrepreneur Forum programme.
Community of Dragons – May 11, Seven Stars Ballroom 7pm – 10pm, the Community of Dragons, part of the new Local Entrepreneur Forum for 2017. This event will be focused on a handful of worthy start ups and enterprises looking for community support. So, if you have a project or enterprise idea you’d like to pitch, get ready. Please see the criteria, below. There’s tons of support available at the REconomy Centre and the Community Enterprise Design Workshop event. Register your interest by sending an email to email@example.com
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
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.