the last several days have been inspired. presenting to two sustainability classes have reminded me how deeply important mentoring is to me. accelerator/institute seems good fit. without my even asking, three young folks/students have asked to intern with us. thinking how best to utilize their talent and ensure that they recieve benefit in exchange.

canvassing and sharing our concepts with existing programs/accelerators getting input from established area economic development folks and change-makers. also asking for their thoughts on businesses that meet our vertical sectors and with capacity to receive support from the symbiotic fund, perhaps seed fund, perhaps candidate or mentor for institute.

Met with Wendy Cagle, the director of the Small Business Development Center for Western Carolina, based at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC (west of Asheville 45 minutes)  She’s deeply inspired by our three-pillared symbiotic fund/seed fund/ and social enterprise accelerator and especially concurs that our vertical focus is right on par with the place-based skills, ecology and ethics of the mountain region. She wants to connect and  collaborate. In her 20+ years working with entrepreneurs and job seekers in WNC, she feels the focus of farm/ag/forestry/indigenous culture are a better fit for the rural people of this place that want to stay in this place. Further, she was truly excited to connect us to a very unique branding that WCU is considering as a one-of it’s kind world-class patented medicinal herb program for local growers. The NIH and FDA have asked them to develop patents for a long list of local herbs, so that those herbs can actually be prescribed as medicine. Wendy identified that their would be a gap and need for businesses that will manufacture the herbs to make available for consumption. I think a good area for our fund and institute to consider supporting and developing those medicinal herb distillers and medicine makers.

Meeting with Pam Lewis, Asheville-Buncombe Economic Development Director for Entrepreneurship today to get her take on our concept. I know she’s already into it, but going to flesh out more thoroughly how we can support one another.

another beautiful indicator as i talk with established, institutional folks, they want to be on board, to help, to join us in some form or fashion. signs that our path is lighted:)

Sustainability Initiatives at the Tribal Colleges.

there are no shortage of “target sectors” being singled out by economic development organizations (in asheville, the 5×5 campaign used to market and support the following five local job sectors: advanced manufacturing, healthcare, arts and culture, science and technology, and knowledge-based entrepreneurs), accelerators, funders, incubators, networking events, co-working. not  dissing any of that activity, it is good work. there is a world of gifting and bartering and sharing that is not painted into those sectors. a picture, a map, a painting – the art of economy, for lack of better expression for now. in getting there, the artist has an instinct to which it must be true, but wanting it’s selfish vision to be collaborative. staying true to instinct, collaboratively, collectively, and wary of sectoring too soon, siloing shutting off the hive mind. <as soon as you choose a language, and jargon in particular, you leave someone behind>. but staying with insticts – it’s a dance with vision by the artist in a collective realm, which artists are not wont to do. in this dance, it wants to paint a picture, with completion by the collective. the artist realizes she must be clear, because vague-booking the vision has stirred up scorn, directives, arrogance, guidelines, turfism, excitement, honor, and intrigue. so artist, do not feel guilty of your selfish vision, the collective has their own selfish visions as well (as evidenced by their reactions), even as they arc toward collective, it is a bumpy re-programming for this hard-scrabble appalachian-american culture. the instinct wants to see a picture, a complex web and hive of the humanity of gifting, bartering, mentoring, mining, fees, wages, connecting, bridging, pollinating. how huge and beautiful and complex and human is our economy.

Me, Myself and I – The Role of Ego in Social Entrepreneurship (Part 1).