Now in it’s 8th year in Totnes, 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.

If you’d like to get involved in helping to organise this year’s activities, please get in touch:

2019 Local Entrepreneur Forum

Community of Dragons

Thursday, May 16,
6pm networking
7pm presentations

Seven Stars Hotel Ballroom, Totnes
Cost – sliding scale on the door


May 16, Royal Seven Stars Hotel Ballroom

6pm – The bar opens! Get yourself a New Lion ale and mingle with interesting people doing interesting things, just like you. Some people call this networking. 😉

7pm – We kick things off.  Katie Tokus will play the role
of compere extraordinare. We’ll catchup with a few past LEF enterprises and a few other friendly folks.

And then… We’ll have our four amazing local entrepreneurs pitching their hearts out for our support. Yes, we can all play the role of ‘dragon,’ investing our skills, talents, extra stuff, Tweets and warm wishes, baked cakes and hugs, and, yes, money, too. We will hear people say, ‘wow, there’s a lot of love in the room.’ The Totnes Pound will make a special award. Tears of joy may be shed. It will all be fantastic. 🙂

And then… perhaps another half pint, another warm conversation or two, hugs, farewells.

Who’s Pitching?



New Futures Academy
Chris Smith
The New Futures Academy is a new educational initiative aiming to provide an enriching  education for 16 – 19 yr olds, focused on equipping young people with the practical skills and personal attributes to reach their potential to lead fulfilling lives and meet the challenges of a rapidly changing society.




Apricot Centre CIC
Rachel Phillips & Mark O’Connell

There is a fundamental link between the wellbeing of the soil, food and habitat and the mental and physical health of the people in and around the farm, making for a wonderful environment for an effective mental health/ wellbeing service for children and families. A range of services connect young people with mental health issues to the woodland on the farm, and more.


Melbee Artworks
Melissa Milne
Melissa is a local artist and craftsperson who’s launching an artisan studio focused on handmade signs, upcycled and bespoke furniture, sculpture, and sharing her knowledge through running upcycling workshops.



Dartington Mill
Dan Mifsud
A new venture led by Dan Mifsud, (The Almond Thief), Bob Mehew, (Huxhams Cross Biodynamic Farm), and Jon Perkins, (Old Parsonage Farm & Dartington Dairy) taking the mill business previously known as Grown in Totnes to a new level. It will create a virtuous circle, milling heritage and population wheat from the farms, baking award winning local bread with the flour.


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?”; “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 –

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):