Are you passionate about connecting the dots of supply and demand through local manufacturing or food systems? Are you working to spur economic development and support sustainable business values at the same time? Do you see small, strong, local business as a force for change and a way to revive entire communities?
When you attend a BALLE conference, you learn from pioneering entrepreneurs what business ideas are transforming the local – and national – landscape.
- Network with the nation's local movement founders and visionaries
- Witness how the latest community capital techniques are transforming the local economy landscape
- Catch the latest local business developments in public policy and economic development
- Be inspired by local, community-supported everything: food, finance, manufacturing, energy, retail, and more.
To draw on Margaret Mead’s famous quote, Buffalo, New York, is living proof that a few committed citizens can, indeed, change the world. A few short years ago the city was struggling. Long standing area manufacturers had turned their gaze globally and simply abandoned the city. In an instant, Buffalo went from having one of the highest factory wages in the country to being one of country’s poorest cities.
Enter a small group of residents and neighbors who decided to dig-in and address local needs with their own solutions. Seemingly overnight organizations took action—organizations like Grassroots Gardens, the Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH Buffalo, the Coalition for Economic Justice, the Clean Air Coalition, GO Bike Buffalo, and Buffalo Carshare and the city simply hasn’t been the same—in fact it is in the midst of a Localist renaissance. An article in The Economist recently declared Buffalo, officially, “back in business” and it is undeniable that localists played a key role in the city’s rebirth. In 2006 the BALLE network, Buffalo First, began raising awareness about turning inward to overcome local economic challenges.
Buffalo First used localism to fix a broken economy—they focused on strengthening the locally-owned businesses that made Buffalo great in the first place. They launched a “Think Local First” campaign encouraging people to grow and buy local produce, to support local independent businesses and artisans, and to seek out socially responsible businesses. This message resonated with folks so much that, at times, is was nearly impossible to drive down a Main Street without seeing Buffalo First’s signature blue and white “Buy Local” poster in a shop window. Buffalo gets Localism.
Healthy economies start from the ground-up. They start with us—people who are committed to place and who are empowered through taking ownership whether of a business, a farm, a community garden or simply the dollars in one’s own wallet. Buffalo is a testament to this and if it can happen in a humble Rust Belt city, it can happen in your city too.
Who Should Attend?
Entrepreneurs and Business Owners: BALLE spends the year gathering the best examples from the most successful Localist businesses across North America to share at the conference. From innovative strategies and hard skills to bold visions for changing how business works, the BALLE Conference offers enterprises in every sector the resources to take their work to the next level.
Network Builders: If you are working in your community to build networks of businesses that are cooperating to build a strong local economy, then the BALLE Conference is an essential part of your year. Building networks is what BALLE does, and the BALLE Conference features the newest and most exciting approaches as well as time-tested structures and campaigns that have proven results.
Funders, Philanthropists, Investors and Lenders: BALLE has emerged as North America’s leader in the development of Community Capital work. With its finger on the pulse of strategies for mobilizing capital in all forms to support local businesses, entrepreneurs, and local economy support structures, BALLE brings together the most cutting-edge Community Capital practitioners, programs, strategies, and success stories.
Public Policy Advocates, Economic Development Professionals, and Elected Officials: Business doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and there is at least as much creativity happening on the government and policy side of the equation as there is in the private sector. The Localist community has embraced the crucial role played by the public sector, and BALLE conference will be presenting the best examples of successful Localist interplay between government and local economies.
Localists of All Kinds: Whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever you are, if you are a Localist, then there is simply no other place to be June 12-14 than Buffalo, NY for the 2013 BALLE Conference. You cannot find all this information anywhere else.