The BALLE Local Economy Fellowship is a two-year program designed for leaders who are advancing the development of healthy and equitable economies. Local Economy Fellows are selected based on their vision, their leadership, and their role as strategic connectors, supporters, and influencers of local entrepreneurs and their businesses. Whether leading entrepreneur networks, community business incubators, or regional economic development initiatives, they are practical champions of new ways of doing business and organizing economies that work for all.

The immersive program connects Localist leaders with their peers, equips them with new skills, perspectives, and resources to help advance their work, and provides a platform to share experiments and working models so that other regions can learn from them.

Through the Local Economy Fellowship and its other communities of practice, BALLE plans to connect, nourish, and illuminate 250 communities across North America that are investing in the people and businesses in their place to grow local economies from within, and who are doing so with an explicit focus on values like racial equity, economic justice, public health, and environmental sustainability.

About Our Fellows

BALLE Local Economy Fellows.

BALLE Local Economy Fellows.

BALLE Local Economy Fellows are natural leaders. They come from all walks of life, are skilled conveners, and have tremendous pride in the places where they live and work. They employ hands-on strategies to grow healthier and more equitable local economies and to bring this kind of “new economy” into the mainstream.

Prior to joining the program, BALLE Fellows are already exceptional leaders in their own right. In the fellowship, leaders reflect on, share, and advance their work alongside like-minded peers, and weave a network of mutual support and collaboration. Upon completion, Fellows emerge stronger, more supported, and more impactful.

Collective Reach

As of the launch of our fourth cohort of Fellows in May 2016, 76 BALLE Fellows (2011-2016) represent communities in 34 states and provinces, and directly serve 87,500 small businesses. We estimate that they impact an additional 1.5 million small businesses through related work in policy and that in total they reach more than two million people through their communications channels.

Given what we know about the power of small businesses in North America – they are proven to increase local civic engagement, create 60-90 percent of net new jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and represent about half of U.S. and Canadian GDP (about $9.5 trillion) – it is no exaggeration to say that these leaders are transforming the bedrock of our economy.

“We need to fundamentally rethink our economic system. That’s why our partnership with BALLE to identify, connect, nourish, and illuminate today’s top local economy leaders is a key part of our strategy.”
—Jennifer Buffett, NoVo Foundation

Interested in the BALLE Local Economy Fellowship or know someone who’d make a great Fellow?

Learn more about how to apply for our next cohort launching in Spring 2018, and get answers to frequently asked questions. If you have suggestions for folks who would make great fellows, please email us at fellowship@bealocalist.org.

“The value the BALLE Fellowship brings is immeasurable.” – James Johnson-Piett, BALLE Fellow

Recruitment is now open for our next cohort, starting in Spring 2018. Learn more and apply here.