Municipalities, businesses large and small, people everywhere, including the poor and unemployed, are beginning to establish partnerships to save, revitalize and ensure the sustainability of our communities. As groups work together, they inevitably reveal the enmeshment of a community's economic and environmental health -- to strengthen the economic sustainability of a community, its environmental sustainability must also be improved. So in developing local business, they often favour those with strong environmental enhancement, preservation and stewardship elements.
Our experience at West End Community Ventures was typical of such community economic development work. In the first years of venture development we designed, incubated and supported many "green" community businesses. These businesses faced common challenges, particularly those related to marketing their products. How could they encourage more people to buy and use the greener alternatives they provided?
We came to see that we shared these challenges with many other kinds of organizations and programs. We all needed to understand what would motivate people, and how to trigger that motivation. We had to uncover what was getting in the way of their taking action, and how to reduce those obstacles. We needed to gain a piece of the public's heart. And, in order to support our efforts to build a better future, most of us needed to make money in the process.
It was our need for answers that led to the development of this website, which is an on-line toolbox of practical ideas, skills and experiences for facing these challenges. We commend it to you and encourage you to join with your neighbours and invest your time and creativity in building the health and wealth of your community.