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 introductory webinar and an online course that can help you.
Why do an Economic Evaluation?
We think 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.
Jay Tompt (EE course co-ordinator) and Fiona Ward (REconomy project manager) recently gave a webinar that explained more about the EE process. Here’s a recording of the first 20 minutes, unfortunately the webinar system just recorded the beginning as it’s a pilot version of the software, but next time we will ensure the whole thing is recorded. Meanwhile this gives you a feel for the experience and the content. Skip to 6:30 to miss the initial technical instructions and check-in.
If you are interested in joining one of these webinars, please email Jay Tompt and we will schedule another one when there is enough demand.
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 an online 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.
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.
You also need access to the required skills including project management, data analysis, report writing, report design and people who can interact credibly with senior people from a range of organisations.
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 exploring ways we can help you build your capacity, for example, to help you gain the skills you need to fundraise. You might need to do some of this capacity building work before you undertake an EE. Our new Primer helps you start your own EE project.
To register for a webinar, find out about the course or if you have other questions, please contact Jay Tompt, the course co-ordinator.