Keeping dollars spent by consumers in the local community is a challenge and a goal for the economic well-being of communities such as Ashland.
Two programs in February will focus on local entrepreneurship development and how it benefits the local economy and the community.
“Slow Money” is a term that denotes keeping local money working in the local economy. These “slow money” programs should be of interest to anyone who wants to support existing local businesses or is thinking about starting a new business.
The first program will show what has been done in southeastern Ohio with the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, while the second program will focus on the possibilities of Ashland Main Street and will feature a panel of Ashland area entrepreneurs.
The first program, “Slow the Money; Invigorate the Economy” will feature Leslie Schaller, director of programming for the Food Ventures program, a business incubation project of the Athens-area Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet).
The presentation will be Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room of the Dauch College of Business and Economics on the Ashland University campus.
Schaller’s presentation will use her work with specialty food firms as an example of local business development. She provides assistance for start-up assessments and for the actual start-up process. She also provides technical assistance and coordinates the expertise of the Food Ventures team to provide innovative product ideas, marketing strategies, business plans and financial management systems to businesses already in existence.
Local food and farm businesses can play a significant role in improving the social, environmental and economic well-being of our community economies.
Yet the majority of food and farm entrepreneurs say lack of access to capital impedes them from expanding, reaching more customers and hiring additional employees.
Schaller will share replicable Slow Food, Slow Money strategies from Appalachia Ohio and other national innovators reinventing approaches to community investing in local food enterprises.
The second program, set for Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m., also in the Ridenour Room, will feature a panel of local entrepreneurs led by Sandra Tunnell, executive director of Ashland Main Street, who will discuss “The Ashland Project: How Local Merchants Can Work Together to Slow the Money in Ashland.”
The local business owners will talk about what it takes to develop a successful local business in Ashland and how the community provides support for their efforts.
Tunnell has been involved in downtown revitalization in Ashland since it was a task force objective in the 2010 county-wide strategic plan.
When that group decided to join the national Main Street organization in 2011, Tunnell became the director of Ashland Main Street.
Ashland Main Street recently announced that downtown Ashland has been accepted to the National Register of Historic Places, which provides an opportunity for downtown building owners to apply for 45 percent tax credits for qualified renovations to their buildings.
Ashland Main Street also has helped coordinate the CDBG Tier 1 planning grant with the city of Ashland, whose results in June will help guide the downtown in a comprehensive plan for growth and redevelopment.
These programs are sponsored by The Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University, located on the AU campus.
The Center seeks a world in which human conflict at all levels can be resolved without resorting to violence and in which social justice can be realized.
For more information about these events, or to learn more about the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, call 419-289-5313 or visit the website at www.ashland.edu/acn.