The REconomy Project is running a training soon on how to do an Economic Evaluation for your community.
We’ve written before here about Economic Blueprints/Evaluations, and their potential for really refocusing on the possibilities of a more resilient and local economy.
REconomy’s Fiona Ward takes up the story:
If you don’t know what we mean by an Economic Evaluation (sometimes called an Economic Blueprint), then we suggest you read this first. If you know what it is, and you think you want to do one for your own place, then we have developed an online course that can help you.
Why do an Economic Evaluation?
A successful EE process will help you do the following things:
- Engage your local economic leaders and organisations e.g. local councils, businesses, colleges etc.
- Develop a deeper understanding of your local economy.
- Identify opportunities for new Transition-oriented enterprises.
- Begin to build networks of existing businesses, by sector.
- Support the growth of key resilience-building sectors, such as food, renewable energy, retrofitting.
- Broaden the reach and impact of your Transition Initiative.
The webinar will cover:
- Why do an Economic Evaluation (EE)
- What are the main activities and outputs?
- What does the online course cover, and what’s involved?
- What needs to be in place before starting your EE work/the course?
- What help is available to get these things in place, e.g. fundraising?
- Other questions
The webinar will be delivered by Jay Tompt (EE course co-ordinator) and Fiona Ward (REconomy project manager).
Background to the course
Several Transition Initiatives have already conducted an Economic Evaluation activity (called an Economic Blueprint in some places), and more are in the process of doing so. It’s early days, but so far the results have been very positive, and we’re learning quite a lot from this experience as well.
We are seeing growing interest from TIs around the world who want to do their own Economic Evaluation (EE). So we have assembled the processes, experiences and learnings into a course that provides support and training to TIs (and similar community groups) who want to do their own EE.
This course is designed to support a small number of TIs (called the cohort) as they actually do the local Economic Evaluation work in their own community. Most of the work is self-directed activity over roughly a 6 month period (though the best timing is still being established).
The participants attend monthly skype sessions with the cohort and those with experience of doing an EE, and support each other. One on one support from those with experience is also available, and a step-by-step handbook is provided with examples and templates. Each cohort then becomes part of a growing network of local REconomy change-makers.
Here’s an overview of the course. It’s currently in its pilot phase, and we hope to launch the first public course in Q1 or Q2 of 2014.
Transition is based on community-led change. The EE process is designed to be facilitated by a community group such as a Transition Initiative, and other community groups with similar aims are welcome to apply. It is not suitable for an individual.
We strongly suggest that your group should have sufficient funding in place to undertake the Economic Evaluation process. This includes a small contribution towards the costs of the course. It can take at least 3-6 months to raise funding. The first 3 TIs to do an EE each had a budget that covered around 75 days worth of effort, plus some costs – roughly £10,000-£15,000 depending on your day rates. We don’t feel it’s viable to run this process based on volunteer effort alone.
Ideally, you have some existing relationships with key organisations in your community, and some track record of catalysing change there.
These conditions will help ensure your EE is as successful as possible – but if you don’t have these things yet, don’t worry! We are planning ways we can help you build your capacity, for example, to help you gain the skills you need to fundraise, or to build partnerships. You might need to do some of this capacity building work before you undertake an EE.