Latest News & Posts

Community of Dragons – Rob’s Podcast

Our Community of Dragons event last week, part of our 6th annual Local Entrepreneur Forum, was a huge love fest.  We’re still glowing and still counting up all the offers for Bob and Huxhams Cross Biodynamic Farm, Richenda and Studio 45 Creative Potter Hub, Jay Jacoby and Yew Media, Emily and Black Bee Combe, and Al and The Woodland Presents.  We’ll have a follow up report, soon.

In the meantime, Rob Hopkins has put together a nice blog post and podcast, here.  Take a look and have a listen – https://www.robhopkins.net/2017/05/15/places-of-possibility-1-the-totnes-local-entrepreneur-forum/

 

Business Planning Workshop

How do you get an enterprise up and running, and headed toward a model of financial health and development? Vision, resources, and a useful plan.  In this workshop, we’ll help you get started and, if you’ve already started, troubleshoot areas that are vexing. We’ll cover the key sections of the basic business plan, analyze business models, share tips and tricks, and offer feedback on your project.

REconomy Centre
May 25 2:30pm-5:00pm
Cost: £10
Booking:  send email to jay@transitiontowntotnes.org

Led by Jay Tompt, is a coordinator of the Totnes REconomy Project, a social enterprise consultant, and activist. Since 2011, the Totnes REconomy Project has launched innovative economic regeneration and resilience building projects, such as the Local Entrepreneur Forum and the REconomy Centre. He has been leading workshops and giving talks about this work and on community-led economics, across Europe and Japan.

Prior to moving to the UK from San Francisco, Jay spent 10 years as entrepreneur and consultant in the ‘green business movement’, after a 12-year career in Silicon Valley. Jay holds an MBA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a BA in Philosophy from San Jose State University.

Totnes Community of Dragons Flips “Dragons’ Den”!

Community gathers to invest in local enterprises in party atmosphere

If you have watched the Dragons’ Den on TV, you may have already figured out the twist behind the May 11th Community of Dragons event in Totnes – everyone’s an investor. For the past six years, the people of Totnes and District have come

Katie ‘Mama’ Tokus

together to help local entrepreneurs lift off, or a young business grow, with financial and non-financial investments of thousands of Pounds Sterling, offers of business advice – and even child minding and home-cooked meals.

This year’s event is at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel Ballroom and will be co-hosted by Katie ‘Mama’ Tokus, singer of sassy, self-penned blues and soul songs, and a spoken word performer. The evening promises to be fun, lively and productive.

Five local projects will be pitching for funds, advice, and help of all kinds to get their businesses to the next level: food growers the Apricot Centre, at Huxhams Cross Biodynamic Farm, led by Bob Mehew; Potting Shed

Bob Mehew

Studio 45, led by Richenda Macgregor; Yew Media, led by Jay Jacoby; Black Bee Combe, led by Emily Reed and Woodland Presents CIC, led by AL Tempist. All five enterprises operate within sectors identified in the Local Economic Blueprint as essential for the vitality of the South Devon economy.

Richenda Macgregor

Jay Jacoby of Yew Media, a bespoke biographical and personal legacy film company, says, “I’m SO grateful, excited, honoured, scared and happy!!! Thank you for this opportunity! I can’t wait to ‘get stuck in’!” Bob Mehew says, “We at The Apricot Centre are delighted to be presenting to the Community of Dragons this year. With public help we can invest in and share our tractor and other machinery to enable us and other small scale land-workers to improve their efficiency and go further.”  Emily Reed of Black Bee Combe says, “We seek to demonstrate ethical beekeeping, by using hives which support honeybees natural preferences,

Jay Jacoby

practicing minimal intervention beekeeping and reestablishing a locally adapted strain of the nationally threatened native honeybee. I hope the Dragons can help us develop new income streams to support the project.

Emily Reed

The way it works is that everyone can participate and be a ‘dragon’, just like in the ‘Dragon’s Den’ TV show, except we’re all friendly dragons,” says Jay Tompt, coordinator of the Totnes REconomy Project, one of the co-organisers of the event. “We can support our local entrepreneurs with money or time or skills or experience or neighbourly encouragement. Past investments have included hugs and home-cooked meals, for example.

Al Tempest

The 2017 Community of Dragons has been timed to take place during Global Divestment Week (May 5th-13th), when campaigning groups synchronised by climate safety charity 350.org will be persuading individuals and institutions all over the world to move their money out of climate damaging fossil fuel investments. But moving one’s money is only the first step; the Community of Dragons creates investment opportunities, the second and key part of Divest/Invest. Here is where people can move their money closer to home and put it to work creating a vibrant, healthy economy that can grow for the benefit of everyone, providing opportunities for young people and new life for the Devon economy.

The event has supported a wide range of businesses in the last six years. Last year, Ambios Ltd – an educational farm project – and local caterer The Kitchen Table pitched, alongside theatre designer Iola and horse trainer Horse & Heart. In prior years, enterprises have included the food processor Grown in Totnes, New Lion Brewery, GroCycle mushroom farm, and Argand Solutions, a technology company. Last Saturday, April 29th, saw The Kitchen Table providing local-grain-based catering for Grown In Totnes’ processing unit launch on the Totnes Industrial Estate. Both these enterprises are dedicated to promoting local food, and such mutual support is what the Community of Dragons is all about.

I never thought I could be an investor but always wanted to support the kinds of businesses I’d really like to have in my community,” says 2016 participant Jane Brady. “It felt so good when I ‘invested’ in Ambios last year with my promise to take part in their ‘share in a sheep’ scheme. It was the most delicious investment I’ve ever made in my life!

John Elford of the Totnes Pound says, “We will be be making the annual Totnes Pound award of t£100 to the enterprise project that best embodies the spirit of Totnes innovation, and t£21 to all the other pitchers.In every community there are people with experience in business, people with a little bit of money in the bank, and people who value the neighbourliness in the places they live. The idea behind the Community of Dragons and other ‘reconomy’ projects is that when local people come together like this, a vibrant, healthy economy can grow, providing opportunities for young people and new life for our High Streets.

Everyone is warmly invited to join the fun at the Community of Dragon’s event, May 11th, Royal Seven Stars Ballroom, Totnes – networking starts at 6pm, programme at 7pm. Further information are available on the REconomy Centre website at www.bit.ly/lef2017

Prototypes and Hacks

This year, we tried something new. Isn’t that the point?

If we know that the current economic system isn’t working for most of us, that it concentrates economic and political power into fewer and fewer hands, that it leads us to consume greater quantities of crappy stuff made in far off lands, that it’s putting too much pollution into the air and oceans, cutting down too many trees, and more – then we know we must try something else that doesn’t do those things. This means supporting local enterprises and local innovations.

So, we tried something new on April 8th, a hack-a-thon designed to help take forward 5 local projects that would, in some measure, provide better alternatives to what’s currently on offer. With the help of energetic Schumacher students, Pricilla and David, we borrowed ideas from innovation design firm IDEO and others and put together an action-packed day of tools, activities, storytelling and models. Lots of models.  Some things worked. Some things didn’t work. Failure is part of the process. Our hack-a-thon was a huge success in teaching us how we might continue to be a catalyst for a new kind of entrepreneurial culture, the kind where solutions to our challenges and alternatives to destructive business-as-usual models can emerge, take root, and thrive. We might have helped these projects along, too.

A huge thanks to Claire, Inez, Bridgette, Ben and Mat for bringing forward their projects to be hacked. And to all our hackers, about 25 local designers, consultants, old business hands, and enthusiastic new enterprise supporters.

Images can be found, here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/rpleft/photos/?tab=album&album_id=498636793593460

This event was part one of our 2017 Local Entrepreneur Forum. Part two is the Community of Dragons on May 11 at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel, networking at 6pm, presentations at 7pm. More info, here: bit.ly/lef2017

Building Personal Resilience

March 31, noon-2pm at the REconomy Centre.

Undertaking or growing your own enterprise is exciting and inspiring, but can also bring you up against self doubts, overwhelm or anxiety.  Sometimes you might struggle to get stuff done and make the most of opportunities.

HAMM Photography 
Erica Lewis, 17/11/16In this two hour workshop we’ll be exploring the understanding that takes you back into the flow of inspiration to navigate life’s ups and downs with more resilience and grace.  We’ll look at how we create our human experience and appreciate the natural resilience and well-being we naturally have.

Erica Lewis is an experienced coach, trainer and facilitator with a background in the social enterprise, housing and not for profit sector.  Erica is committed to freeing people up to make the most of their loves and gifts in contributing to a better world.

See more at www.inspiringaction.co.uk.

Cost: Pay what you feel
Bring your lunch.
To book please e-mail Erica on erica@inspiringaction.co.uk

Rethinking Waste into Resources

Rethinking Waste into Resources

January 26 @ 6:30 pm8:30 pm at REconomy Centre

Sickened by the piles of ‘rubbish’ and recycling bags you accumulated over Christmas? Despairing of the mountains of waste in the streets waiting to be taken away for incineration? Ben Bryant of the Devon Community Recycling Network will be hosting this meeting to explore how we can turn more of our household and business ‘waste’ into useful resources. This could be the start of a ‘circular economy’ group.

Email Ben, here:  info at dcrn.org.uk for more information.

Transform Your Local Economy in One Day or how to run the Local Entrepreneur Forum

Local Entrepreneur Forum or ‘How to transform your local economy in one day’

REconomy Centre
Nov 19 10am-4pm
Cost: gift
Booking:  send email to jay@transitiontowntotnes.org

Four happy local entrepreneurs.
Four happy local entrepreneurs – Iola, Marie, Jack, and Sima.

This workshop is for people interested in making economic change in their own communities and regions. Want to create a more regenerative, resilient and inclusive local economy? The Local Entrepreneur Forum can be your catalyst project.

After 5 years, the Local Entrepreneur Forum has been incredibly effective. It is the focal point of the REconomy work in Totnes, facilitating practical support for enterprising change makers, engaging and including the wider community in a powerful new economic narrative, and catalysing the emergence of an entrepreneurial culture. The event brings entrepreneurs and investors together for learning, connecting and support, where everyone is part of the ‘Community of Dragons’ and can invest in the kind of enterprises – and local economy – they want to see in their community. In this session you’ll learn:

• how it works as an event and an ongoing strategic platform for ‘REconomy work’
• about our results: financial and non-financial investments, new firms, livelihoods, etc.
• why this can model can work anywhere – it already has in London and Gothenburg
• what tools and resources are available to support you implementing the LEF in your community

Led by Jay Tompt, is a coordinator of the Totnes REconomy Project, a social enterprise consultant, and activist. Since 2011, the Totnes REconomy Project has launched innovative economic regeneration and resilience building projects, such as the Local Entrepreneur Forum and the REconomy Centre. He has been leading workshops and giving talks about this work and on community-led economics, across Europe and Japan.

Prior to moving to the UK from San Francisco, Jay spent 10 years as entrepreneur and consultant in the ‘green business movement’, after a 12-year career in Silicon Valley. Jay holds an MBA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a BA in Philosophy from San Jose State University.

Business Planning Workshop

Need help with your business plan? This workshop is for you. We’ll cover the key sections of the basic business plan, analyze business models, share tips and tricks, and offer feedback on your project and specific challenges.

REconomy Centre
Nov 16 9:30am-12:30pm
Cost: £10
Booking:  send email to jay@transitiontowntotnes.org

Library - 2252Led by Jay Tompt, is a coordinator of the Totnes REconomy Project, a social enterprise consultant, and activist. Since 2011, the Totnes REconomy Project has launched innovative economic regeneration and resilience building projects, such as the Local Entrepreneur Forum and the REconomy Centre. He has been leading workshops and giving talks about this work and on community-led economics, across Europe and Japan.

Prior to moving to the UK from San Francisco, Jay spent 10 years as entrepreneur and consultant in the ‘green business movement’, after a 12-year career in Silicon Valley. Jay holds an MBA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a BA in Philosophy from San Jose State University.

Back by popular demand! Finding the Right Work

Saturday 26 November 2016, 10.00am – 4.30pm

Cost: pay what you feel

This one day workshop is for you if you want to find work that is aligned with your skills and passions, or to make your current working life more fulfilling. Everyone has unique qualities and skills to offer – but in today’s highly commercialised and individualistic society, many find themselves in work they don’t enjoy, or doesn’t fit their values. Through discussion, creative activity and individual reflection, you’ll gain greater clarity about how your life at work could develop. You’ll create a plan to take these insights back into your daily life, launching you gently towards realising your vision.

Gill Coombs
Gill Coombs

Gill Coombs’ role is to match people’s skills and passions with the needs of the world, through workshops and 1:1 sessions. Author of Hearing our Calling, she brings a diverse work history, many years of coaching and group facilitation, a relaxed, friendly, compassionate approach and a deep commitment to the importance of finding our calling in the world.

To book: gillcoombs@gillcoombs.co.uk

www.gillcoombs.co.uk

Work – a creative act

In a world that seems increasingly polarised, all sorts of events incite people to declare for Wellbeing, Creativity and Love – or Destruction, Control and Division. It’s as if Dark Forces have been unleashed on our economics, politics and environment, and Positive Forces are rising to meet them with creative responses.

battle for earthWe are all part of this epic dance, whether or not we choose to be. How we live contributes daily in three key ways: our spending, our human interactions and our work. In this blog, I’m concerned primarily with the latter.

Work has moved a long way from the days when small groups of humans worked spontaneously and collaboratively the wellbeing of the group. For eons, work was simply a response to need: a meal to procure or prepare; shelter to be found or built; a thorn to be pulled from a foot; children to tend; celebratory or solemn songs to sing. Each individual would contribute what they could; what they did best. As in an ecosystem, everyone would have their niche. Minds and bodies were active and responsive.

Today, work is perceived and experienced as something very different. For many, it’s sitting all day at a computer, in an environment we don’t like, doing tasks we don’t enjoy, for outcomes we don’t care about, ultimately benefiting people we don’t even know. It’s making, moving or selling items that damaged people, animals or planet in their making, and end up in landfill. It’s producing or serving food that isn’t nutritious, to people we don’t care about. It’s burning fossil fuels to heat, transport or construct. It’s struggling to educate or care for others, with tiny funding, but enormous control and bureaucracy.

In a western society largely free from starvation, predation and disease, work could and should be a joyful activity: one that benefits the world in some way and draws on our best skills. Instead, many find themselves bored and under-utilised, or anxious and stressed. Today’s work culture robs too many workers of their dignity and creativity; steals their souls and uses them to feed Destruction. Life on Earth is in great need, but most people’s energy and creativity is diverted to profit-making.

Finding the RIght WorkFortunately, we can create a very different reality. There is plenty of positive work to do, and people everywhere are responding. They no longer just ‘look for a job’ but ask instead, what do I love doing? What’s my unique gift? What do I really care about? How do I want to make a difference? What’s the best way I can do that?

Healthy alternatives are arising, such as workers’ co-operatives, social enterprises and ethical businesses. Sole traders or small independent companies are networking and collaborating, building satisfying careers and rich, vibrant local economies, and when all goes well, making a decent living too. And in bigger companies, people are asking – how can we do business more ethically, equitably and sustainably?

In such turbulent times, our choice of work makes such a difference: not just to us personally, but also to our communities and to our world. Some find it hard to know what they’ve got to offer. Others know what they’d love to do, but can’t find a way to do it. Creating a life of good work is seldom seamless and straightforward; it usually requires patience, courage, support, collaboration and experimentation. But through these struggles can come great personal growth and satisfaction, strong relationships, and lives that are contributing to, or enhancing, the wellbeing of the world.

How do you want your day to be? What do you want your work to achieve? What do you want your life to mean?

These questions and others I regularly explore with people in coaching sessions, and such themes form the basis of discussion in workshops. My own work is helping others find and do work that’s good for society, good for the living world and good for their own souls. In these times of shift, such work feels more important than ever, and can also be deeply rewarding.

– Gill Coombs, gillcoombs.co.uk

Join Gill for her Finding the Right Work workshop, September 24th.  To book, email gillcoombs@gillcoombs.co.uk