Rakesh Rootsman Rak was our speaker this Tuesday at the weekly enterprise club (9.12.12). He gave a rousing call to start-ups to run our businesses using permaculture principles. This means that we run our business to meet our needs PLUS the needs of the community and everyone around, a bit like a rich and symbiotic eco system. He gave his business credentials (comes from a business family, has run several successful businesses) before presenting these interesting and inspiring challenges!
He asked us to assess our inputs and outputs. We looked at our basic needs for our business, and what we just can’t do without. He then proposed that we consider the balance between what level of our incomings and outgoings are financial and what level is from the ‘gift’ economy. He tries to run his business on 40% money, 60% gift economy. He asked us to look at how we could work together in the community to find most of the resources we need for our business at minimal cost, using the Timebank, gift exchange… as much as possible. With this in mind we can dramatically reduce our financial needs and increase our resilience.
He also challenged us to consider the balance between our use of local and non local resources. How can we run our business so that we can get our raw materials locally so that, for instance, we will not have rising costs as price of oil increases?
His third challenge was to share our knowledge and services with other members of the community and not to see other businesses or people as competition. (Rishi said the same thing last week!) This stems from permaculture concept that each community member (and business) is unique and has their own set of skills and understanding of things and so therefore there is a place for everyone equally. He ended with the image of the rich eco system at the edge of a forest and this can also apply to humans with their businesses in the local community.
I found this inspiring. I am going to make sure that my jerk chicken shop also becomes a community meeting space and hub and helps with training and experience for young people. (Elsworth Molyneau)
I can see that it makes sense for my chutneys to have a higher proportion of local apples and less of exotic fruits from oversees. (Lynette St Cyr Ceasar)