In June, 18 local folks will travel to the BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) 2014 conference, handpicked by ASSETS staff and board from government, business, philanthropy and economic development sectors.
We see the BALLE conference as an opportunity to inspire and encourage creative, business-driven action toward a more equitable, diverse local economy through cross-sector collaboration.
The Lancaster delegation includes both long-term localists and mainstream leaders. We need allies. We can’t leave people out of the discussion, and can’t tackle poverty by ourselves. Attendees come from local businesses, Chamber of Commerce, the Lancaster City Alliance,Lancaster City Government & City Economic Development, The Lancaster County Community Foundation, and Community First Fund.
One post-conference strategy to share ideas and inspiration consists of an expanding series of “Jeffersonian-dinners” after the conference. These dinners of 12 – 15 people provide a way to discuss ideas and courses of action. Each person leaves that dinner and commits to hosting a dinner of their own with 12 – 15 new people in the coming months. Conversations lead to ideas and connections, which might lead to action, and create the context for a new wave of entrepreneurship and investment.
We hope it will become a regular tradition. Next year we’d like to send three or four folks from BALLE 2014 to serve as guides for a new group in 2015. Maybe we can make it an annual tradition for years to come in support of Lancaster’s progress around “prosperity for all. We think it’s worth it.
Last year ASSETS, Lancaster Ventures Partners along with the Community Foundation and other partners took part in creating the Judy Wicks event #LocalGood. We were thrilled to have Judy Wicks share what it took to build the White Dog Cafe and how a Local Living Economy is something we can all be a part of. Judy also mentioned that she was Co-Founder of BALLE, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE holds a yearly conference designed specifically for local economy leaders that want to connect with their peers, learn about innovations happening on the ground, and bring valuable insights back to their own communities. As we continue the theme around Business for Good and building our Local economy Lancaster County, we are beyond excited to have the Director of Fellowship and Alumni at BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) Leanne Krueger-Braneky share at our Small Business, Big Impact! Mixer next Wednesday, May 14th. We hope to see you, for more details click here!
One of the things that most excites me about this movement is that BALLE networks are succeeding in all kinds of settings across North America—urban and rural, low-income and affluent, homogeneous and diverse. As the number of people doing this work grows, we have more opportunities to learn about what works and what doesn’t work. I often tell my team that there are no models for what we are doing, that we are making the models up as we go along, but as more communities jump in, we can identify the models that work and share best practices. When we succeed, I envision an open-source, collaborative community of networks that help each other along towards our ultimate shared goal of transforming our local economies to be socially just, economically vibrant and environmentally responsible.