written by Elisha Kittson, Thirve/EconoUS2017 Activator
In the bigger picture or the why of community economic development, we know communities can have much more impact in shaping their destiny by collaborating and supporting entrepreneurial solutions to build services and address community-based challenges. At the conference level, this sense of community or collaborative effort toward a common purpose has unfolded between Thrive, Calgary Economic Development, REAP, The Institute for Community Prosperity, The Calgary Regional Partnership and Momentum who are the local partner hosts for the national conference supporting the Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet).
This teamwork/collaboration has spilled over into the creation of a meaningful large-scale gathering as host partners have reached into the ecosystem here in Western Canada to bring well-aligned sponsors and thoughtful presentations, tours and workshop content on-board – including merging with REAP’s popular Food for Thought event during the kick-off celebration on Wednesday evening and incorporating Trico’s Social Enterprise awards right into the program on Thursday.
At the participant level all of the workshops for the conference are creative co-operations (meaning it’s not just one organisation delivering their message, rather, we have a topic and several organizations are collaborating on the material, and the format is participatory not panel style). Learning opportunities include the affordability gap, the gig economy, micro-lending, local investing, social finance, scaling good business, social purchasing, indigenous CED, and food security.
The conference is also encouraging diversity, inspiring marginalised or endangered voices to be included and leading and to this end, the collaboration between our keynote speakers during opening ceremonies on Wednesday, September 13 at John Dutton Theatre plays on our shared themes. Chief Robert Joseph with Reconciliation Canada and author and social entrepreneur Shaun Loney will collaborate on delivering a message exploring the link between indigenous worldview and community economic development – which I think brings us right back to that bigger picture or the why attend, why practice community-based economic development, and that CCEDNet Executive Director Mike Toye summarises when he says “We all know the economy is unfair, primitive and out of date, behind the times which is why we need to make things more sustainable. Our focus is on what we can do differently, together, to change that.”
If you are attending both the Soul of the Next Economy Forum AND EconoUS2017, use Promo Code: NEXTECONOUS on our registration page to receive a 10% discount on your tickets!