The Community Economy

Emergence of the Community Economy

2020 saw an acceleration of changes affecting every facet of society and the economy. Employers are now less reliant on central spaces for employees to get work done together. In-person, physical events are no longer the primary forum for businesses to engage with other businesses. Companies are more resource constrained than ever - making marketing, business development, and investment-seeking activities increasingly difficult. This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), the backbone of the economy, who have been forced to completely reassess every aspect of their operations. Creativity, speed of innovation and technology will play even bigger roles in determining business success now that 20th century business models have come to an end.

And yet, we are already seeing the short-comings of the digitally-oriented strategies driving the economy of the early 21st century. Technology innovations have created unprecedented opportunities for businesses to extend beyond their traditional markets, but in the push for globalization, we tend to overlook what is next door. This economic model ultimately weakens the communities that helped create it. We need to strike a better balance between local, regional and global economies and expand our definition of community so that technological advances don’t inevitably undermine one part of the community - like idea-rich, resource-poor small businesses - to advance another.

For the economy to recover and create opportunities for all, a new paradigm must emerge with different requirements for economic growth: strengthening and building new types of community to create the innovations and business practices that result in long-term, sustainable growth. The drivers of this Community Economy will enable all businesses to easily access information and resources and create meaningful connections with other businesses. And they will do so in ways that are effective, affordable and build community - at the local, regional and global level.

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