Why policy-makers don’t see the next local economic revolution coming

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New Weather has published a book including eight important narratives to explain the next local economic revolution. Instead of waiting for economic salvation by outside investors or Whitehall grants, local people are beginning to innovate themselves.

The trouble is, Whitehall can’t see it, policy-makers don’t track it or support it, and the high street banks have no interest in providing for their needs.

The book Prosperity Parade is funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and provides eight in-depth stories of the new entrepreneurs on the front line. The book is available for free here or from Amazon.

We realised that one reason national politicians have not grasped what is happening is that they don’t hear the stories. Stories are the stock-in-trade of politicians. Without them, they don’t see things. So we have been to meet the new entrepreneurs so we could tell their stories – of big ideas and hurdles and re-thought plans and the difference they can make.

The book was supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust. Stories include:

  • The story behind the success of the Bristol Pound, the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter, and the Wessex Reinvestment Trust.
  • How two towns analysed where local money was flowing to and made it flow better – by tracking down entrepreneurs (Totnes) or by investing local pension money (Preston).
  • How they wired up Bath to earn money from its own energy.
  • How a small group of growers are turning Manchester’s food system inside out.

The new entrepreneurial revolution is still a cloud no bigger than a man’s hand. It is below the radar of policy-makers. What holds policy-makers back from noticing this slow upsurge of local entrepreneurialism isn’t the Treasury, or legislation or intellectual doubts, or snobbery, or any of the other peculiarities of centralisation – it is a simple lack of stories.

So we have provided eight narratives and stories about real people doing extraordinary things with their local economy, with local banks, local energy, local purchasing, local food and a good deal else besides – demonstrating just what power the new entrepreneurial revolution might have, if only we recognised it.

The book urges the government to find ways of understanding the new entrepreneurs and their needs, of tracking their progress and launching a dialogue with them – and for them to provide for their borrowing and banking needs now that most banks have withdrawn from the SME market.

It will be available here as a pdf, on Kindle and on Amazon in paperback.

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