When we began the Local Entrepreneur Forum in 2012, we were inspired by the idea that if we created a space for creative change makers, social and green entrepreneurs, catalysts and enablers, investors and other supporters, something good would happen. It did. We have discovered that it forms the heart of a new model of community-led economic development – one that’s inclusive, fair, regenerative, resilient and accountable.
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.
2021 Local Entrepreneur Forum
At 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…
The Living Projects
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.
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.
Brewhaha 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?!
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.
Montreal Style Bagels
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
LEF 8 Wrap Up
2019 Local Entrepreneur Forum
Read the wrap up report: Community Turns Out to Support Local Entrepreneurs
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.
New Futures Academy
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.
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.
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.
LEF 7 Wrap up
2018 Local Entrepreneur Forum
Community of Dragons
Thursday, May 10,
Seven Stars Hotel Ballroom, Totnes
Cost – sliding scale on the door
Remember the great Blizzards of March and how everyone in the town came together to help one another? The Community of Dragons is not so different. Every year, ordinary members of the community – people just like you and me – get together to support our friends and neighbours to start and grow enterprises that benefit our community. 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…?
There will be lots of productive networking, too, so local enterprisers, consultants, experts, investors – don’t miss this opportunity to get to know one another in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Who’s pitching? Four fabulous local enterprises doing good!
ThoughtBox Education – www.thoughtboxeducation.com – ThoughtBox programmes develop critical thinking, empathy & connection, helping our children learn to make sense of the world.
Nourishing Families – nourishingfamilies.co.uk – A social enterprise in the making, Nourishing Families is dedicated to supporting parents and children get maximum benefit and enjoyment from food and meals times.
Revolutionary Women – www.revolutionary-women.org.uk –
Our mission is to connect women who are looking for opportunities to change their lives, and the world around them, with women who can help them to achieve their goals.
Fieldgrassjuice – fieldgrassjuice.com – Organic fieldgrown WHEATGRASS harvested traditionally, freshly pressed and frozen. ‘Nestled on the slopes of fertile Devon, near the coast at Beeson,
our WINTER WHEAT has weathered wild storms, grey blue ocean coloured clouds watering the earth seemingly endlessly…’
** An opening presentation from Councillor John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council
** The Totnes Pound offers it’s second annual grant of t£100 to the project that best exemplifies ‘Totnes innovation’
** Delicious New Lion Brewery ales
** Post to the ‘Needs & Offe
** more to be announced…
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Project Design Hackathon
Thursday April 19, 5:50pm – 9pm – done and dusted! It was a great evening.
Methodist Church Hall, Totnes
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 help make it real. Maybe even get it ready to pitch to the Community of Dragons! It’s that simple.
But slots for proposed projects are limited – if you’re interested in having yo
ur project idea ‘hacked’, send an email to email@example.com
And if you’re interested in being a ‘hacker’ please come and share your experience, creative thinking, and support for some projects that could benefit the community.
LEF 6 Wrap up
Post event reporting – Community of Dragons – Rob’s Poscast, Prototypes and Hacks
Community of Dragons
Thursday, 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…?
We’ve just selected the five projects that are going to pitch to the Community of Dragons! They are launching, growing, looking for financial and/or non-financial ‘investment’. And they are awesome!
The Woodland Presents – Al Tempest – We’re here to make small British woodlands thrive, by connecting people with trees and timber in new and meaningful ways. We run a maker-space, courses, events and a community woodland group in Dartington, South Devon.
Black Bee Coombe – Emily Read – Re-establishing locally adapted “black” native honeybees in South Devon. Offering bees a natural lifestyle in free-living tree-inspired hives.
Yew Media – Jay Jacoby – We help people create beautiful legacy stories for the ones they will leave behind. We do this by creating safe spaces for people to tall their stories, which we turn into video and audio.
Studio 45 a Creative Pottery Hub – Richenda Macgregor – Studio 45 is an interactive learning facility with a full programme of courses and workshops and offering places for 15 budding potters wanting to further their practice. The facility will have 8 wheels and three kilns and will have a research arm, investigating the clays and materials found on or near to the Dartington Estate.
Huxham’s Cross Biodynamic Farm – Bob Mehew – We’re innovative food producers, pushing the boundaries of what is possible on a small scale. Using permaculture, biodynamics and agroforestry. We grow wheat for flour, dried beans for Grown in Totnes, unusual (and usual) fruit and vegetables, eggs that are selling out every week, supplying our Local Round customers, The Almond Thief, Dartington’s new Green Table Cafe and Schumacher College. And we offer a Wellbeing Programme!
We’ll have the witty and wonderful Katie Tokus hosting an evening full of laughs, love and celebration as we all come togther as friendly ‘Dragons’ to invest our support with our local entrepreneurs. There will be lots of productive networking, too, so local enterprisers, consultants, experts, investors – don’t miss this opportunity to get to know one another in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
** The Totnes Pound announces it’s first annual grant t£100 to project that best exemplifies ‘Totnes innovation’
** Post to the ‘Needs & Offers’ wall
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
2016 Local Entrepreneur Forum – LEF5 – wrap up
** LEF5 May 12th 2016, Totnes Civic Hall ** for a re-cap of what happened, check out this article: “Community of Dragons Spreads the Wealth”.
2pm the day begins…
- Rhodri Samuel, ceo of Dartington Trust will help us get the day started with an interesting and
inspiring talk – perhaps offering a glimpse into the emerging new vision for Dartington. Four of our past Community of Dragons pitcher are enterprises located on the estate – GroCycle, School Farm CSA, The Living Projects, and Green Funeral Company. Who’s next?
- Be Like a Bee – Super fun and super productive. Share needs and offers. Meet people you need to meet. Learn what you need to learn. A most important part of the day. It’s ‘open space’ but a few pre-organised sessions will be announced, soon.
- Delicious local supper included, prepared by The Kitchen Table. And through the afternoon, they’ll have the cafe running, offering a variety of baked morsels, tea and coffee. Meanwhile, the über green Bean Bug will be serving espresso drinks from their pedal-powered mobile cafe. And our favourite craft brewer, New Lion Brewery will open the taps. Will Circular Stout make a comeback? The Oat Mild? You’ll have to come and find out.
- Our evening keynote – we are really pleased to welcome activist and entrepreneur, Jonny Gordon-Farleigh.
He founded Stir To Action, a Bridport-based enterprise, while in his 20s. It runs workshops and short courses on the new economy, and supports new start-ups through crowdfunding, project planning and legal registration. He is also founding editor of STIR magazine, a quarterly promoting community-led change. He speaks on the new economy and is a founding member of the Young Co-operators Network.
- The Community of Dragons – Everyone is welcome to become a community dragon. Everyone can be an investor. Regular people – just like you and me – can invest their financial resources, skills, time, connections and caring to support the kinds of enterprises we want to see in our community. It’s that simple. And who’s pitching for local support and investment?
- Iola – iolaweir.co.uk – a start up led by Iola Weir in the theatre arts space with a vision to create local livelihoods and be catalyst for a flourishing regional arts and culture scene.
- The Kitchen Table – thekitchentable.org.uk – an expanding sustainable catering company led by Sima Cutting, supporting local producers and raising awareness of important food system issues.
- Horse and Heart – www.horse-and-heart.com – Marie Franco leads this expanding horsemanship training practice offering a range of services supporting the use of horses in agriculture and health & care.
- Ambios – www.ambios.net – an expanding farm and educational project led by Jack Skuse, producing organic food and serving the land-based educational needs of young people.
- LEF5 After Party – we’re really pleased to have New Lion Brewery offering their craft brew again, this year. And a very special treat – Sea Change Festival DJ Set by Drift Records. The Sea Change is an amazing new Totnes event launching in August – films, literature, talks and plenty of music across five venues.
… 10pm and we’re outta here, a littler wealthier, a little wiser.
A huge thank you to Reconnect Magazine, who has been generously supporting the LEF and local entrepreneurs since 2012.
2015 Local Entrepreneur Forum – Wrap Up
Once again, the Local Entrepreneur Forum, held this past May 2015, was a fantastically full day. We hope you came away with the knowledge you looking for, met the people you wanted to meet, and connected in ways that support you now and in the future. We’ve collected below some of the outputs and other information from the day to help you keep the momentum.
Thanks again for participating and see you next year!
– the Totnes REconomy Project team.
The fabulous pitchers: Our pitchers were great, weren’t they?
- Claire and Rupert Calendar, Green Funeral Company – http://www.thegreenfuneralcompany.co.uk/
- Myrtle Cooper and Richard Graham, Wild & Curious – https://www.facebook.com/wildcuriouspeople
- Belinda Seaward, Natalie Torr and Michelle Denton, Dartmoor Pony Training Centre – http://dptc.org.uk/
- David Irish on behalf of The Underground Chocolate Company, KEVICC – http://www.kingedwardvi.devon.sch.uk/
The Bank of Devon – if you are interested in keeping up with this very exciting project, you should attend this event: Local Banks for a Local Economy, coming up July 10 in Plymouth. More details, here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/local-banks-for-a-local-economy-tickets-17352179837
Photos – We’ve posted photos of LEF4 right here: http://tinyurl.com/nmhhev2
8:30am Breakfast Club – hosted by Grown in Totnes, who pitched at LEF3. Enjoy a hearty, stick to your ribs oat-filled breaky – only £2.
9:30am the day begins…
- The Bank of Devon? – Tony Greenham, new economics foundation – what would it mean to have a regional bank serving the interests of the community and how do we make it happen? An inspiring proposal.
- Crowdfunding the Future – Oana Neumayer, BuzzBnk Our good friends BuzzBnk are hosting the crowdfunding campaign for Grown in Totnes. Oana will talk about how crowdfunding is powering the rising ‘for community benefit’ economy.
- REconomy all over the world – Fiona Ward, REconomy Project Many innovations start in Totnes, it seems. Other local ‘REconomy Projects’, just like in Totnes, are popping up all over the world, from Japan to the US to Brazil to Portugal to Sweden – you get the idea.
- Be Like a Bee – Super fun and super productive. Share needs and offers. Meet people you need to meet. Learn what you need to learn. A most important part of the day. Sessions will include:
– Action Learning – Alison Theaker will run a taster session on ‘action learning’ in advance of the new action learning set starting up at the REconomy Centre, May 21
– Sources of Finance – Fraser Durham will share his research on close to 300 sources of finance for social/sustainable/community enterprises.
– Atmos Totnes – Want to locate your business at Atmos? Come meet Atmos reps who will be ready to discuss the possibilities.
– School for Social Entrepreneurs – SSE maven Dirk Rohwedder will offer information on their programmes
- Local lunch from the fabulous, The Kitchen Table
- Is Alternative, Democratic, Community Finance Possible? – Organisers of TRESOC, Transition Homes, and Plough & Share share their stories of challenge and success.
- The Community of Dragons – pitching for local support and investment: The Green Funeral Company, Dartmoor Pony Training Centre, Wild & Curious, Student-led project from KEVICC
4:00pm After party, hosted by New Lion Brewery, who pitched at LEF1, featuring a special craft brew.
2014 Local Entrepreneur Forum
This year’s Local Entrepreneur Forum on May 13th was a massive success. A big thank you to all who participated!
Over 130 entrepreneurs and their supporters converged on the Civic Hall for a full day of networking, learning and investing, with five plucky entrepreneurs walking away with pledges of funding, mentoring, labour, legal and marketing services, massage training, event organising, and even home-cooked meals.
Check out this short film from Emilio Mula and Nu-Frame – http://vimeo.com/101401822
See images on our Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/rpleft
- 2014 pitchers:
- Holly Tiffen, Grown in Totnes
A TTT project that seeks to broaden the range of local produce grown and sold in the local area. It’s all starting with oats! We are working with a local farmer, to develop a market for Totnes grown and processed oats. Oats grow very well in our damp climate but there is currently nowhere that you can buy oats that are both grown and processed in the South West.
- Zav Bowden, Dart Valley Timber
‘Dart Valley Timber’ is a (new) mobile sawmilling operation, suited to(or designed for) the timber available in the area. It can cut to order but will also dry and season timber, meeting the demands of local natural builders, woodworkers and craftspeople. And supply some really good firewood!
- Doug King-Smith, HillyField CIC – www.thehillyfield.co.uk
Every Drop makes a Difference! Support truly sustainable British Woodland Regeneration on Dartmoor, by harnessing energy from the river to add value to timber, provide educational opportunities, and help realise a fossil fuel free forestry & farming future at The Hillyfield.
- Fraser Durham, Argand Solutions – www.argandsolutions.com
Argand Solutions is a solutions-led energy monitoring business based in Totnes. We design and build solutions that enable commercial & industrial clients to reduce energy consumption and generate energy more effectively through smart data visualisation & analysis.
- Charlie Burls, Elliot Smith, et al., The Living Projects
The Living Projects is a youth-led initiative blazing a trail to find innovative ways to help young people access land, housing, real-life skills and purposeful work. We want to help make Totnes a town where young people have opportunities, can afford to live here, and are supported and inspired by the people in their lives. Our vision is opening up town and land-based community space, facilitating young people’s initiative to create viable and sustainable futures for themselves and their communities, and unleashing their creativity, talents and dreams along the way.
2013 Local Entrepreneur Forum
Read about the 2013 event in Rob Hopkins blog and check out what participants said in this video.
School Farm CSA – School Farm CSA is a community supported market garden on the Dartington Estate, south Devon. It was established to contribute to the high demand for local, organic, ecologically-grown vegetables and fruit in the Totnes and Dartington area. Laura talks about her experience, pitching at the 2nd LEF in 2013: https://youtu.be/yGmhZnhBnJ0
Transition Homes – Transition Homes Community Land Trust has been working now for five years to develop low impact housing for local people in housing need which demonstrates transition ideals. They’ve just applied for planning permission (circa Dec. 2015). Here’s Chris sharing his experience at LEF2: https://youtu.be/AXJ77yRhuCU
TotnesArts Hub – It’s a cooperative seeking to establish a work hub for artists and makers, including studios, workshops and messy space.
Totnes Mosaic – Mosaic aims to bring a flexible, playful, multi-use space to Totnes High St, hosting educational projects and live performance in a fresh, urban setting. Eat, drink and buy local or hold your own event and be part of the Mosaic.
2012 Local Entrepreneur Forum
Read about the 2012 event in Jay Tompt’s blog
GroCycle – GroCycle is an award winning social enterprise pioneering the growing of Oyster mushrooms from waste coffee grounds. Here, Adam and Eric talk about pitching and their phenomenal growth: https://youtu.be/HzH-7aN8mk4
New Lion Brewery – As a craft brewery, we will be an ale alchemist, mixing cutting edge technology with history. As a social enterprise, we will run the business not just for profit but also to benefit the community. Here’s Rob talking about pitching: https://youtu.be/ciOilJyjRPY
Babes in the Woods – Hen parties in the wilds of Devon.
Plough & Share Credit Union – The Mission of the Plough & Share Credit Union is to work towards the financial inclusion of all. Here’s Mark Burton, PSCU chair, talking about his experience pitching for support at the LEF: http://bit.ly/1pfPLZK
The Land Society – We support people in housing need in towns and villages to self build their own affordable home.