Local Entrepreneur Forum: Killer App for the New Economy

The 'new economy' movement offers many models, projects and activities for motivated community groups, whether they call themselves REconomy, or not – cooperatives and social enterprises, complementary currencies and community exchange schemes, local economy studies and reports. Each of these nudge us forward. But the central issue is this: if we want to see a new kind of economy, one that's ecologically sustainable, inclusive, fair and resilient, we must create the conditions for new economic actors and relationships to emerge, take root and thrive. ­The project here is one of catalysing and nurturing economic culture change. This requires something holistic and foundational, engaging and inclusive. And it requires something that regular people can do with modest resources.

The REconomy stream of Transition has yet to find its killer app, but I'd like to make the case that the Local Entrepreneur Forum could be it.

We've just run our fourth Local Entrepreneur Forum, (LEF), in Totnes and over the years have developed it from a day-long event into a model that sets the context for our broader economic relocalisation agenda. It is inexpensive to run and requires no specially trained economists, consultants or MBAs. It creates space for a new story about how economic activity fits into the context of the kind of society and community we really want, including the roles we can all play. It's inclusive and convivial. It's a community builder. The model delivers on many fronts – it's a 'synergistic satisfier' that 'stacks functions' like a good permaculture project should. And it's easily replicable. With the right approach and 'well-prepared soil', regular people with modest resources can implement the LEF almost anywhere and get good results.

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