COS Facebook bannersNow in it’s 9th 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:

2021 Local Entrepreneur Forum

Screenshot 2021-07-23 at 09.58.41At The Glade, Dartington
Sunday 2pm – 6pm
September 5th, 2021

Plans are afoot for our post-lockdown Local Entrepreneur Forum and Community of Dragons. We’re thinking lazy celebratory Sunday afternoon in the woodland. Music, chilled networking and huge community spirit to help lift and support our local solutionary entrepreneurs and local business people. If you have a stall, would like to offer some music or organisational help, please get in touch. This is how we pull together as a community and ‘build back better’. Join us!

  • food and drinks
  • fun and banter
  • music and laughter
  • relationship building and meeting new people
  • sessions for under 30s, food producers, climate champions

And, of course, pitching to the Community of Dragons!

Our projects this year…

Alana BloomThe Living Projects
Alana Bloom
Founded in 2014 by local young people who wanted to see more opportunities for their generation, Pondfield has grown into a thriving hub for our community. We grow food, we explore pioneering techniques to help ecosystems and biodiversity through regenerative land management. We offer space for volunteering and learning about various horticulture approaches whilst we continue to support the local community through providing opportunities for connection to the land, social health and true wellbeing.

Cat HeratyIMG_2321
The Mend Assembly

Cat Heraty & Padouk Fielding
Mend Assembly is a unique blend of grassroots maker space, local production, sustainability expertise, innovation and good old fashioned clothing services. We believe that when clothing becomes aligned with local practice so many of the problematic elements of the global commercial model fall away. From reduced carbon and transport to deeper connection, respect and care for the clothes that we own and wear.

AdamBrewhaha Craft Kombucha
Andy and Rose
We are a 2 (and a ½) person family enterprise making kombucha (a fermented tea drink) along similar lines to a craft or micro brewery. We have developed our business after being unsatisfied with the alternatives to beer and wine when out socialising and have developed the tag line ‘a new kind of drinking culture’ to convey this, and its probiotic qualities. We are now on taps at the New Lion Brewery on a regular basis. Who’d have thought it – a healthy drink in the pub?!

Screenshot 2021-08-12 at 18.36.50Common Flora
Jane Acton
Everywhere and under our noses, some plants seem common to us and yet, like us, they are in fact extraordinary, humble, powerful and resilient. Our work with people most adversely affected by the pandemic is starting. Qualified therapists and play workers have joined us. We are certified organic with BDA Certification, providing habitat for the local wildlife, rooted in the local community and economy. We use the principles of regenerative agroecology, permaculture and local economy. We are members of the Landworkers Alliance. 

Sacha JeffayMontreal Style Bagels

Sacha Jeffay
Montreal style bagels were brought to North America by Jewish immigrants from Poland and other Eastern European countries in the early 1900s. In contrast to the New York-style, the Montreal-style bagel is smaller, thinner, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole. We are committed to producing outstanding quality bagels in an eco friendly way. This involves overall consideration of how ingredients are grown, sourced, the energy used to prepare them, and how they are packaged/delivered.


2:00 pm – gather and be welcomed to the woodland Glade by Al Tempest, The Woodland Presents

2:15 pm – enjoy the live music flowing from the guitar of Izzi Bard of Kuki and the Bard; the drink from the bar serving Barnaby’s Brewhouse pilsner and ale, and Brewhaha Kombucha; the food prepared exquisitely by Sima Cutting of The Kitchen Table and Sacha Jeffray of Montreal Style Bagels  – and of course, enjoy the company of friends and neighbours

2:45 pm – hear from speakers Guy Downing, Transition Town Totnes; Inez Aponte, Crazy Beautiful World; Chris Smith, New Futures Academy; Sophie Patterson, Devon Food Partnership

3:00 pm – learn, share and connect in one of the focused sessions on Local Prosperity for Young People;   Local Responses to Climate Emergency;   Weaving a Resilient Local Food Economy

4:00 pm – become part of the Community of Dragons and help lift 5 deserving and amazing local enterprises. What’s the Community of Dragons all about? Read this: So, what’s the ‘community of dragons’ all about?

5:30 pm – celebrate each other and be full of good spirits

6:00 pm – we tidy up the forest and leave no trace

Directions and Parking

The Glade is an amazing outdoor venue in the woods behind Schumacher College. It’s part of The Woodland Presents, founded by a human named Al. (Incidentally, Al pitched at the LEF6 2017 Community of Dragons.) Directions.

Getting there – please be green.  Walk, ride, bus, and/or lift share to get there. Park at Meadowbrook carpark, Dartington. (Incidentally, this is where you will find New Lion Brewery, so plan on a pint and pizza on your way home. Rob pitched NLB at the very first Local Entrepreneur Forum in 2012!)

Please help us cover the costs

This year’s event has come together through the generously invested time and knowhow of a small group of people. Yay!  We also had some expenses amounting to about £500. We hope the event delivered a fun, community-building, and solutionary experience. Please help us cover the costs and continue to organise these amazing gatherings.

Click here for our DonationBox

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”.

And check out this short film about the LEF in 2014, from Emilio Mula and Nu-Frame

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:

LEF testimonials

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):