Pollinating Prosperity: Michael Shuman on how to incubate generative economies

Most local administrations are promoting start-up incubators whose very models of business development often create a huge leakage for the local economy. Michael Shuman calls for local incubators who have a generative effect on the local economy, which he explains very cogently in this video:

‘Pollinating Prosperity’, presentation by local economic development expert Michael Shuman in Adelaide, South Australia, March 2016:

Shuman delivered this talk at an event held by Economic Development Australia SA, sponsored by Green Industries SA and the Department of State Development.

A pollinator is a self-financing economic development program or company, an approach Shuman advocates over ‘attract and retain’, which diverts attention away from local economic development and is both an inefficient and ineffective use of public funding http://blogs.worldwatch.org/transformingcultures/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Relocalizing-Business-Shuman.pdf.

The workshop began with a 20-minute presentation on pollinating prosperity, which included Shuman’s four principles for building prosperity locally:

  • Maximise local ownership, the percentage of jobs in the economy in locally owned business
  • Maximise local self-reliance and import replacement, not to detach from the global economy, but to  engage with it from a position of strength rather than race to the bottom
  • Spread models of triple-bottom-line success – local business with high labour and environmental standards
  • Create an entrepreneurial ecosystem with the 6 Ps – planning (analyse and plug the economic leaks), people (support entrepreneurs who are leading), partners (make networks of local business more competitive as a group), purse (tap local savings/superannuation and put it to work in local businesses), purchasing (spearhead buy local campaigns by consumers, business, public agencies), policy (remove anti-local bias)

Michael Shuman Bio

Author, entrepreneur, and speaker Michael Shuman is a Stanford educated economist and attorney, and a leading global expert on local economics.

He is one of the architects of the crowdfunding reforms that became the ‘JOBS Act’, signed into law by President Obama in April 2012, and dozens of state laws overhauling securities regulation of crowdfunding.

Shuman is currently Director of Community Portals for Mission Markets and a Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital and Post-Carbon Institute. He’s also a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and an adjunct instructor in community economic development for Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

Shuman has authored or coauthored eight books, including Local Dollars, Local Sense:  How to Move Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity, and The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition. His most recent book is The Local Economy Solution, which is is focused on local economic development and how innovative, self-financing ‘pollinator’ enterprises can grow jobs and prosperity.

In recent years Shuman has prepared studies the on the opportunities for food localisation for New Mexico, Detroit, Cleveland, Boulder County, Denver, Michigan, Washtenaw County (MI), and Pioneer Valley (MA). He led another food study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation, analysing case studies of 24 local food businesses worldwide. (www.communityfoodenterprise.org).

He has performed “leakage analyses” and related economic-development planning for Spokane (WA), St. Lawrence County (NY), the Katahdin Region (ME), Martha’s Vineyard (MA), Appalachia, Davidson County (NC), Kootenai County (ID), Cabarrus County (NC), Wabash County (IL), Biltmore Estates (NC), Central Park (NC), and the Port of Baltimore (MD).

Photo by Edith Maracle

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