SFU Community Economic Development hosted a webinar called, "Does local ownership matter?”  presented by Michael Shuman, author of a new book called, “Local Dollars, Local Sense”.  Here are some highlights:

Economic development as practiced today has three dubious characteristics.  It focuses on nonlocal business.  It lacks a coherent framework for assisting local business.  And it is a top-down enterprise.  There is an alternative set of principles and practices—a “local living economies” (LLE) approach to economic development that focuses on local business, creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports them, and invites grassroots participation. 

Starting in 1970s, the objective of most economic developers became to attract or retain global businesses.  Indeed, one of the most common phrases in the professional literature, even today, is “to attract and retain.”  What this formulation misses is locally owned businesses.  A locally owned business cannot, by definition, be attracted.  And most locally owned businesses, because they have deep relationships to a community through its managers, employees, owners, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, usually do not require special efforts to retain them. The focus on “attraction and retention” suggests that economic developers have increasingly focused on global big business.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a community prospers when it follows three other simple rules: 

Rule #1:  Maximize the percentage of jobs in your local economy that exist in businesses that are locally-owned. 

Rule #2:  Maximize the diversity of your businesses in your community, so that your economy is as self-reliant and resilient as possible.

 Rule #3:  Prioritize spreading and replicating local business models with outstanding labor and environmental practices.

An alternative framework for economic development can be created around six P’s:  planning, people, purse, purchasing, partners and public policy. 

Here’s what we mean by each: 

·         Planning – The starting place for LLE economic development should be community planning. What are the most plausible opportunities for new or expanded local businesses given your vision, your goals, your assets and your markets? 

·         People – Realization of local business opportunities requires entrepreneurs and employees who can lead new or expanded local firms. How can people already living in the community be mobilized for these roles?

 ·         Purse – Most local businesses, whether startups or expansions, require both lending and equity capital.  How can existing financial resources, whether savings accounts or pension funds, be tapped to support local businesses?

 ·         Purchasing – Once established, local businesses flourish with concerted Buy Local efforts by consumers, businesses and government agencies.  What are the best strategies for promoting these efforts? 

·         Partners – Local businesses can improve their competitiveness by working together as partners, either in a local business alliance or as part of a sector-specific network in food, energy or finance.

·         Public Policy – Laws, regulations and rules at all levels of government —local, state, national and global — should be calibrated to maximize the probability of local businesses succeeding. 

Michael Shuman will be elaborating on these concepts in his two day course, Locanomics, as part of the SFU CED program. 

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MetamorFest is September 20.  Join CCEC member, Carolyn Bell, in celebration of the harvest and the Mt. Pleasant community. Carolyn is helping in many capacities to organize the event.  She is also a member of the East Broadway Art Walk committee and was on the mural jury for MPNHouse.  Save the Date!  It's going to be fun!

MetamorFest is an all age event with music and arts.  Mingle and meet your neighbours as we celebrate the end of summer.  Centred on the Neighbourhood House with one or more streets blocked off, listen to live bands, watch local talent representing the community’s ethnic diversity, games for the kids, eat and more!  

This is a day to bring the kids, granny, friends, neighbours, relatives and more importantly - you.
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July 31 the van with a fully operational ATM is scheduled to visit CCEC!

Beginning Monday, July 29 the ding free sea to sea road trip will kick off in Victoria, BC and make it's way across Canada throughout the month of August, wrapping up in Halifax in early September.

The road trip will follow two seasoned improv comedians on a quest to share surcharge-free ATM banking with the masses; revealing some of Canada’s strangest roadside attractions and a host of colourful characters along the way.  Spearheaded by an alliance of Canadian credit unions, the road trip is the latest stunt in our year-long campaign to raise awareness of the thousands of ding free ATMs available to credit union members across the country.  Our goal: to spare even more people from the millions of dollars lost to ATM surcharge fees each year.

Armed with their wits and a camera crew, our comedic duo will travel from Victoria to Halifax over the course of 32 days. They will be chronicling their exploits through a series of online videos and social media content. Canadians can follow the team at, as well as via Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and at various locations along the way.


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Hundreds of activists, including a CCEC member, join First Nations elders to bear witness to environmental destruction in Fort McMurray.

Christina Wild, CCEC member for over 25 years, attended this years' Healing Walk.  She believes that the risk to our basic human rights are too great to continue the destruction caused by our demand for petroleum products.

Christina urges us all to help stop the pipelines.She says that we can't live without air, water and food; 

but we can live without oil and must develop alternative power sources.  She encourages fellow members to reduce their use of oil products to help slow the overall demand.  

Background on the Walk:  Over 500 activists from around the world joined First Nations

 and Metis elders in Fort McMurray for the fourth annual Healing Walk. The walk has been organized to witness to the impact of the tar sands development on the local communities.  learn more

Get involved! Learn more from our member,
The Wilderness Committee. 

Other links of interest include:   Lead Now    and   Amnesty International


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Vancouver Folk Music Festival

will be naming the Mainstage Sound Booth "Garberville" in honour of Simon Garber, who manned the board from the early 1980s until last year. Si had hoped to make it to the inauguration of Garberville but sadly passed away from liver cancer in May 2013. 

There will be a short tribute and unveiling at 4:45 pm on Friday, July 19, 2013, just before the start of the Mainstage Performance.

Those attending will need to purchase a ticket to the Friday Evening Concert. Entrance to the Friday evening concert will be $50 at the Gate or $45 before 9 pm on Thursday, July 18. Go to for more information.

We hope you can attend the unveiling, enjoy the Friday evening concert and support the Vancouver Folk Music Festival which was near and dear to Simon's heart even to his last days.


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BC may provide locals with a new way to fund novel social initiatives. An article in the online mag SOCIAL identifies BC as unique in North America insofar as securities legislation requirements.  While further research is likely needed, the evolution of crowd sourcing as a base for social innovation almost certainly will generate some great projects. 

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Recent European research confirms an implicit strength of the credit union, or co-op, ownership model for a financial services intermediary.  In essence, the basic saving and loan paradigm of a credit union insulates credit unions from many of the larger risks that have gripped large banks. Credit unions do not speculate in aggregated 'financial' risks.    Consumer ownership, as opposed to investor ownership, has proven to be less fickle, and committed to local needs.  For a good overview check out this article at, or you can read the paper, Resilience in a downturn, The power of financial cooperatives.

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As a credit union trying to serve our community and membership, we are beset with increasing regulatory pressures and expectations; all because some investment bankers in New York misbehaved (and some deranged fundamentalists made use of commercial banking services, another story altogether).  But are these 'regulatory' and monetary policy tactics having the desired impact? In short, no. 

In the minds of politicians, stimulus is the answer, but a large proportion of the resources being pushed out into the economy are not making any difference, the so called recovery is stalled.  The principle reason for this is that the key 'intermediaries' are stuck - large banks and public companies.  A culture of risk aversion is now present, rooted, first, in weak indicators and, second, a fear of another banking calamity.  

For a great overview check out this post at Pieria.  The upshot for credit unions is paradoxical; the new regulatory practices (largely fashioned for international banks) insist on 'reducing' lending risks at a time when local businesses and social entrepreneurs are eager to create jobs and resuscitate local economic activity.  In the end, the financial system is not working.    

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Cafe Rooster Logo

A café that is the heart of the community is a hidden gem, for now!  Three long time CCEC Members who have lived in the Commercial Street neighbourhood for years, partnered with another friend to open café.   Meet  Chris Richmond, Pete Tuepah, Nadene Rehnby and Margot Skelhorn.

“CCEC made it possible.   
CCEC is more than just a bank.” 

Offering Matchstick locally roasted coffee, you can now stay in the hood and don’t need to go to The Drive.  Serving up fresh baked muffins daily, vegan and light fare (not a diner), they source local and organic ingredients as much as possible.   

The Commercial Street Cafe opened in November 2012 in the heritage building Gow Block. Some people may remember when it used to be Ernie’s Grocery and more recently a store/café. When the space was up for sale, the four friends knew they wanted a great café in the neighbourhood and worked through the steps to make it a reality. While opening a café was not on their bucket list, according to Nadene, they were pleasantly surprised when their bid for the cafe went through and CCEC approved the business loan.

They renovated in nine days to create an open concept space that spans two rooms.  They have Pete as head chef in the kitchen, Chris running the day-to-day as the general manager and Nadene busing tables in between her job as a graphic designer.  Margot as coffee manager setup the coffee bar and is now on sabbatical back home in Nova Scotia.  Tracy Thorn of the Cake Conspiracy, whose cake-decorating business needed more space,  uses their kitchen in exchange for baking.  It is a great partnership where the food and atmosphere is wonderful.

Commercial Street Café is truly a neighbourhood coffee shop.  When I visited on a mid-week morning, there was a steady stream of moms and dads with young kids stopping in for a coffee and baked treat.  The owners can walk to work and feel that as they are community based, they have more at stake in running a successful cafe.  They haven’t done much advertising and are focused on the day to day operations.  They are learning a lot and have plans to grow their business and neighbourhood connections in the years ahead.

“The credit union has been with me through all stages in my life, from my first home, to services related to my graphic design business and now, a commercial mortgage for the café.  CCEC is more than a bank. It is about personal relationships where, for example,  Shelly provided tips on using our ATM card in Mexico and Nikki sharing tips on visiting Disneyland.”   Nadene

“CCEC cares about you.  They know you and I’m not lost in the shuffle.”  Chris



3599 Commercial Street at East 20th Avenue, Vancouver





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"I love and admire CCEC as much as any organization in this neighbourhood.  I have always had my professional accounts here (Eastside Learning Centre, Car Free Days, the Purple Thistle, Groundswell as examples). CCEC is personal.  It is a living example of the best of alternative economic thinking - generous, hospitable, friendly and at the heart of the neighbourhood."

Most of you have heard about or participated in Vancouver’s Car Free Days.   Did you know that Matt Hern, CCEC Member is the person who initiated these festivals?  He opened an account at CCEC in the early 90’s for a project called Eastside Learning Centre.  He has lived in East Vancouver for his whole adult life and has long experience starting and running independent businesses.  Currently, in addition to teaching Urban Studies at SFU, Education at UBC and Community Economic Development in the Masters Program at Cape Breton University, he is launching a new project called, Groundswell Grassroots Economic Alternatives.

Groundswell is an alternative-to-business-as-usual school where 25 people under 35 years old spend eight months learning how to build cooperatives, collectives, non-profits, social businesses and a different way of doing business.   Matt says he was inspired by the good, smart young people in his neighbourhood that want to make an impact on the world with their projects, but are not sure of the route to take or have yet to see their projects come to full fruition.   After completing the 8 month Groundswell program, he sees the graduates emerging with a project that has been well researched and validated, a business plan and the personal confidence carry it through.   Matt feels there is a gap in the education system that will be filled by this program as these participants need to learn, in a cost-effective way, how to successfully launch a project where the primary impact is social, cultural or ecological.

Matt is looking forward to seeing what happens when the graduates are in the field with a different way of thinking and part of a larger collaborative network.   He says that in talking with people about his program, he is met both with skepticism and support.    The first program starts in September, 2013.   It is filling quickly so if you are interested, be sure to contact him.

CCEC is collaborating with Groundswell on this project providing loans to the students for their tuition which is on a sliding scale from $1,500 - $3,000.   Matt is inspired by the Bologna co-ops, the recovered factory movement in Argentina, Mondragon and the example of how a trade school and a bank are working together will help guide his partnership with CCEC.

For more information visit: or contact Matt at; 778.840.7055

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