Monday 12-16 November, 2012
Teachers: Naomi Kingsley, Chris Cook, Michael Shuman (videolink) and Jonathan Dawson
We are today seeing a resurgence of economic activity at community level as resistance grows to the encroachment of Clone Town supermarkets and box stores. Community-owned renewable energy facilities are springing up….social enterprises are proliferating….community buy-outs are multiplying. However, all of these initiatives need finance. In parallel, there is growing interest in socially-focused investment, partly due to a growing desire on the part of investors to contribute to the building of local economic resilience, partly because of the increasing volatility and vulnerability of more conventional investment markets.
In this context, we are witnessing a wave of creativity in the creation of new and innovative models for connecting investors with projects and initiatives at the community level. These include a wide range of internet-based platforms to enable small-scale investors to support initiatives in alignment with their interests and values; new partnerships in which distant investors enter into equity partnerships with community-based initiatives; and the provision of microfinance to support social entrepreneurship among marginalized groups and individuals.
This week will be an exploration of new investment platforms and models in the company of some of the leading figures in the world of community-based finance.
The week is for social investors, entrepreneurs, those engaged in community-level initiatives and anyone interested in creating or growing innovative mutual finance platforms and models.
Naomi Kingsley is founder and CEO of London Rebuilding Society (LRS). A lawyer and anthropologist may not seem the most appropriate background for an alternative banker, but it led her to work in economic development for over 20 years, crossing the public, private and community sectors. It was this experience that provided her with a real understanding of the issues facing London’s disadvantaged communities, and formed the springboard of her passion for community development finance, and for LRS.
After a Harkness Fellowship spent researching Community Development Banking in the USA, Naomi returned to the UK with the ambition to establish a Community Bank in London. She ran a regeneration business, and worked with Ed Mayo and the New Economics Foundation to lobby and advocate for a policy framework for community banking in the UK, and also established a partnership of advisors who helped her to set up LRS in 2000.
Naomi is a founding member of the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA), and spent 6 years on its board, 2 of those as its chair, and is also a founding member of the Better Banking Coalition. She is also a member of the Charity Bank Credit Committee.
Chris Cook Following an early career in the UK Department of Trade & Industry, Chris was a market regulator at the Association of Futures Brokers & Dealers, and then at the International Petroleum Exchange (latterly as a Director). At the IPE, he developed successful new trading mechanisms such as Exchange of Futures for Swaps; Volatility Trades; and Settlement Trades.
Chris now works mainly in Scotland, with Nordic Enterprise Trust, to develop new partnership-based enterprise models, and related financial products and services. He is a fellow of the Institute for Security & Resilience Studies working on a new generation of networked markets – which will, in Chris’s view, necessarily be dis-intermediated, open, decentralised and, therefore, resilient.
Michael Shuman (by videolink) is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and a Fellow at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Cutting Edge Capital, and Post-Carbon Institute. He has authored, coauthored, or edited eight books. His most recent book, just published by Chelsea Green, is Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Move Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity. His previous book, The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006), received as bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006. He regularly helps communities analyze economic “leakages” and job-creation opportunities from expanded “LOIS” businesses (locally owned, import substituting). A prolific speaker, Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for the past 30 years. He has lectured in 47 U.S. states and eight countries.
For an interview with Michael Shuman by Transition’s Rob Hopkins click here
Jonathan Dawson is Head of Economics at Schumacher College, with a special interest in innovation in the social economy and the power of the internet to enable peer-to-peer investments.
A former President of the Global Ecovillage Network, Jonathan has around 20 years experience as a researcher, author, consultant and project manager in the field of small enterprise development in Africa and South Asia.
Jonathan is the principal author of the Gaia Education sustainable economy curriculum www.gaiaeducation.org, drawn from best practice within ecovillages worldwide, that has been endorsed by UNITAR and adopted by UNESCO as a valuable contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
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