18 local folks will travel to the BALLE 2014 Conference: Prosperity for All

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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.

Introducing guest speaker for next Wednesday’s mixer

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.

Leanne Krueger-Braneky was the Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN Philadelphia), a 400+ member business organization working to build a just, green and thriving economy in the Greater Philadelphia region. SBN Philadelphia accomplishes this by educating and growing a broad base of local, independent businesses and educating policy makers and the public. Since 2001, SBN Philadelphia has offered support for local businesses in the Philadelphia region, becoming a key player in the quest to make Philadelphia the most sustainable city in the country.  In 2011, SBN Philadelphia was named the Economic Development Program of the Year by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

Leanne led SBN Philadelphia from 2004-2013 and helped put the organization  on the local economy map through her influence on policy, organizing government and business leaders, and connecting national resources to Philadelphia.  As a BALLE Regional Hub and BALLE Fellow, Leanne  consulted to dozens of communities across North America.  Her goal is to transform economic development practice and policy to recognize and celebrate the essential role of local business in the health of their communities. Leanne now serves as Director of Fellowship and Alumni at BALLE.


  • More than 63% of SBN Philadelphia member businesses grew jobs by 5% last year; 100% of them recycle at least one output material; 48% hire managers from previously excluded populations; and 71% are leaders who help their industry create social and environmental standards. Through its partnership with B Lab, SBN Philadelphia proves that its members are having a positive impact in their communities.
  • Trained 2,000 social entrepreneurs – specifically targeting people of color from low-income communities – via the PhiladelphiaSocial Venture Institute.
  • Attracted more federal green jobs funding to Philadelphia than any other city in the country by building relationships between diverse stakeholders through the Green Economy Task Force.
  • Published  “Taking Care of Business: Improving Philadelphia’s Small Business Climate,” a report which showed that Philadelphia’s 93,000 small businesses provide 65 percent of the jobs in the city, proving the essential role that local businesses play in job creation.
  • Capturing $20 million in public green infrastructure investments by growing local companies and the local workforce to meet the coming demand for green infrastructure products and services through the Business United for Conservation Industry Partnership.

To learn more about Leanne click here https://bealocalist.org/Leanne-Krueger-Braneky

We leave you with this years BALLE Conference Save the date! video

Social Enterprise Pitch semi-finalists selected

LNP wrote up an article about our 2014 Social Enterprise Pitch semi-finalists. To view the post, in it’s original format, click here

A youth hostel, a delivery service and several sustainable agriculture or landscaping businesses are among the 10 ideas selected for the next phase of Lancaster’s “Great Social Enterprise Pitch” this summer.

The program, a project of the Lancaster County Community Foundation and Assets Lancaster, aims at helping entrepreneurs found socially conscious businesses and nonprofits. Social enterprises are hybrids of business and charity; ideally, they make money while also advancing the social and economic wellbeing of its community.

Would-be entrepreneurs introduced their ideas at two “idea incubator sessions” held in late March and early April. A total of 32 applications were submitted, Assets Lancaster said.

Of those, 10 teams were selected for the next step, a series of training workshops. The team leaders and their ideas are as follows:

  • Chris Caldwell: Bicycle delivery service
  • Sam Fisher: Nomadic animal grazer
  • Sally Holbert: Senior transport service
  • Nancy Keeler: Clothing company
  • Sarah McGahran: Sustainable farming and café
  • Jocelyn Park: Networking and activity service
  • Jonelle Renno: Pay-what-you-can café
  • Tim Seifarth: Sustainable landscaping
  • Heidi Shirk: Youth hostel
  • Mark Walmer: Affordable expungement services for ex-offenders

On Aug. 8, participants are scheduled to present their business plans in a final “pitch,” competing for cash and in-kind prizes.