BALLE is the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. It’s all about local businesses working together to make their local economy prosper, with a focus on locally-owned businesses, sustainability, green jobs, and thinking local first. There is a national organization, and local networks have formed in many cities, towns and regions. I’m reporting today from the BALLE Business Conference.
A local BALLE network is different from the local chamber of commerce. The chamber must support all local business development. A local business network can focus on local ownership and sustainable industries. Many reach out to local food producers and farmers. In most places, the local network works with the local chamber. A few chambers actually are their local BALLE network.
This is a way to refine local economic development, away from bulldozers and smokestacks, toward more local and sustainable businesses. If you’re interested in the economic development part of this, pick up a copy of Growing a Local Living Economy by Michael Shuman.
What it does
Local networks offer promotion of local businesses (especially when two or more businesses work together), events, education of the community on why local ownership matters, and lots more. Many offer entrepreneur training and support especially for socially responsible business.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, works with the city to give local bidders an advantage, supports sourcing locally, and does economic gardening bringing together lots of local groups to support local business. They also hold lots of events, including networking, food events and a sustainable business half-day conference.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, did a local community convening to find out what issues are pressing for local business. They also conducted workshops to help local businesses take advantage of all the movie filming that happens in New Mexico. Santa Fe also headed a farm to restaurant food project to better distribute local food to local restaurants. Training farmers to be better businesspeople, educating consumers and restaurants on how to get and use local produce also falls into their mission. They also do a lot of advocacy on legislation.
A local business alliance allows a small town or a region to tackle issues no one individual could handle alone. It focuses attention on the local economy. Each network selects the most important local issues to address.
New to SmallBizSurvival.com? Take the Guided Tour. Like what you see? Get our updates.
- How small town businesses can market to remote workers and turn them into new customers - May 15, 2023
- Survey of Rural Challenges 2023 results - May 8, 2023
- Rural and small town ideas from the OU Placemaking Conference IQC 2023 - April 5, 2023
- Rural tourism trends say small towns are still cool - March 27, 2023
- Move Your Money and Bank Local - March 22, 2023
- Using a building as a warehouse or storage in a small town? Put up a sign - March 13, 2023
- How to get customers in the door of small town and rural retail stores - February 19, 2023
- Check your small business website for outdated pandemic changes, missing info - January 31, 2023
- Rural Tourism Trend: electric vehicle chargers can drive visitors - January 15, 2023
- 2023 trends for rural and small town businesses - December 26, 2022