Local Entrepreneur Forum
The REconomy Project 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.
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 this blog post, "How to transform your local economy in one day"
2014 Local Entrepreneur Forum - Wrap Up
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-Project - http://vimeo.com/101401822
See images on our Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/rpleft
See you next year!
Programme for the LEF 2014
9:30 - Welcome and speakers
- Julie Carthy, Unltd. - Unltd. offers support and funds for social enterprises!
- Fiona Ward, REconomy Project - innovations for local economic resilience
10:30 - Be like a Bee
- This innovative networking session creates opportunities for everyone to learn what they need to learn and meet who they need to meet. Super valuable part of the day!
- What can you expect? Sessions on with Unltd on funding social enterprises, The Fruit Tree on starting up cooperatives, how to use Linked In to build your business, locating your business at Atmos, and more.
1:00 - Fabulous Local Lunch
- Acclaimed local culinary artists The Kitchen Table craft our delicious lunch from locally sourced ingredients.
2:00 - Local Leaders in the Circular Economy
- We check in with local innovators Food in Community, Fungi Futures, REstore, Tresoc, and special guest.
2:30 - Community of Dragons
- Five excellent ventures looking for community support - financial resources, non-financial assets of various description, mentor help, expert skills, 'well being support'. Here's our opportunity to invest what we can in locally grown innovation. See below for information on the projects which are pitching this year.
4:00 - Networking reception hosted by New Lion Brewery
- The New Lion Brewery pitched at the very first Local Entrepreneur Forum and promised then to offer its locally-brewed beer at this year's event. And here they are right on schedule. And what a fitting way to wrap up what will be a fantastic day.
Pitching to the Community of Dragons
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
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
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.
Run Your Own Local Entrepreneur Forum
In Totnes, the Local Entrepreneur Forum is helping to create the conditions for new social and sustainable enterprises to form, launch, and thrive, all with growing support from the community. It's becoming a big part of our work and is having an increasingly positive impact. Can this work in other communities? We think so. We're developing a handbook and support trainings so that we can help your group benefit from our experience. If you're interested, please get in touch: email@example.com
In the meantime, please have a look at the information on this page, including the links to blog posts and videos.
REconomics Totnes Style - pre-LEF study tour
A special one-day immersive programme: "REconomics - Totnes Style”
A unique insight into how we are shifting the local economy in Totnes and District, mixed with dashes of inspiration and heavy doses of practical tips on how to do this at home. We'll be based mainly at the REconomy Centre but we will be out and about in town during the day.
This is a one day programme, designed to precede the Local Entrepreneur Forum the very next day, entry for which is included in the programme price. But it can be run anytime throughout the year for your group.
Some of the things we will cover:
- Getting local - an introduction to Totnes, why and how it is here. Understanding how the ecology and geology of our river basin has informed the development of our communities and economy throughout history.
- What is Transition? A very quick introduction to Transition Network & Transition Town Totnes
- The Local Economic Blueprint - a shared vision for our local economy, and some facts and figures to indicate its potential.
- What do we really need? A practical workshop to help us understand our fundamental needs, and that you can take out into your community.
- Lunch - using local ingredients and beer from new community brewery.
- Our story through food, from awareness raising to social enterprise.
- Making it real! Some key learnings and ideas on:
Education, awareness raising and outreach
Fostering entrepreneurial culture: Reconomy Centre & Local Entrepreneur Forum
Further details on enquiry, please contact: info (at) biggreencanoe.org
LEF testimonials & previous LEF ventures
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
Read about the 2012 event in Jay Tompt's blog
What people 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”
Ventures who pitched in past events:
Fungi Futures - Fungi Futures CIC is an award winning social enterprise pioneering the growing of Oyster mushrooms from waste coffee grounds.
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.
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.
The Land Society - We support people in housing need in towns and villages to self build their own affordable home.
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.
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.
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.
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 day is designed so that everyone benefits. To be considered, please send an email to Jay Tompt - firstname.lastname@example.org