2012 BALLE Conference

The 10th annual BALLE Business Conference, Real Prosperity Starts Here, in Grand Rapids, Michigan was a shining example of Localism in action. Browse our examples and stories from conference speakers, excursions to local businesses and more. Our second Accelerating Community Capital Day was a tremendous success with full-day sessions on the latest financing tools and ideas. Cash mobs, crowd funding, local financing and many other innovative advancements in raising local capital were shared.
 
The 2012 Conference brought 96 total speakers, offered 18 Vision Session Speakers, 18 Interactive Track Sessions, 5 Collaborative Sessions and 3 Living Economy Tours over four days of learning on everything from local supply chains to what a sharing economy is, how to create a gift economy and lessons on collaborating with media, and many, many other topics. View the conference program.
 
This is the place where hundreds of local leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners, economic and community development professionals, investors, funders and philanthropists, as well as pioneering policymakers come to find the best ideas on the ground.
 
As home to nationally acclaimed BALLE network and conference cohost, Local First West Michigan, Grand Rapids was inspiring, rejuvenating, and packed with proven strategies, tools, and new supportive relationships. And as we’ve heard in years past, attendees told us it was more than just a conference: it was a life-changing gathering of deeply values-aligned innovators, peers and collaborators.

Speaker Spotlight

Charles Eisenstein

Author, Sacred Economics
Charles Eisenstein is the author of Sacred Economics, The Ascent of Humanity, and numerous articles in print and on line. He writes and speaks worldwide on themes of transition, money, and social... [Read More]

Maggie Anderson

Author of Our Black Year; Founder and CEO, The Empowerment Experiment and The Empowerment Experiment Foundation, Inc.
Margarita Anderson and her family made history and dominated headlines as national media covered their real-life case study in self-help economics. The Anderson family lived exclusively off Black... [Read More]

Ben Cohen

Cofounder, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
Ben Cohen, along with childhood friend Jerry Greenfield, started Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream in 1978 in an old gas station on an investment of $8,000. Ben and Jerry's developed a unique values-... [Read More]

Rha Goddess

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Move The Crowd
A world renowned performance artist, activist and social entrepreneur who uses her artistic and motivational talents to heal, transform and inspire. Goddess’ work has been featured in... [Read More]

Marjorie Kelly

Author; Fellow at the Tellus Institute; Director of Ownership at, Cutting Edge Capital
Marjorie Kelly is a fellow with the Tellus Institute, a 35-year-old nonprofit research and consulting organization in Boston. She is also director of ownership strategy with Cutting Edge Capital... [Read More]