Community Wealth Building

Jeff Mowatt
2 min readJun 8, 2020

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we face the task of rebuilding local economies. The Centre for Local Economic Studies, advocate a people-centred approach to regeneration:

“Traditional economic development practice and developer-led regeneration are failing to address the economic challenges of our time. Community wealth building is a new people-centred approach to local economic development, which redirects wealth back into the local economy, and places control and benefits into the hands of local people.”

The Preston model is an example of this approach.

The people-centered approach was described in a free-to-use paper published in 1996, which made the case for a business model , using its profit to stimulate local economic conditions rather than maximise shareholder returns:

“At first glance, it might seem redundant to emphasize people as the central focus of economics. After all, isn’t the purpose of economics, as well as business, people? Aren’t people automatically the central focus of business and economic activities? Yes and no.”

In 1999 it was applied in a proof of concept project in Russia, known as the Tomsk Regional Initiative which led to the creation of several thousand microenterprises, with more than 80% started by women:

Introduced to the UK in 2004, founder Terry Hallman described how it began with his voluntary role on Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign:

It was introduced to the Forest of Dean in 2004 with a business plan to tackle poverty. A network of community broadband installations , directing 50% of their profit to community development funds:

In 2007 a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine described how this approach could be deployed on a national level to resolve a broad range of social problems:

A national scale approach may now be needed here.

Further reading:

Reinagining Capitalism: The New ‘Bottom Line’

CMI: The what, why and how of purpose

The Blueprint for Better Business; A purpose that serves society

The British Academy: Principles for Purposeful Business

The Business Roundtable redefines the Purpose of the Corporation

The Financial Times: Capitalism needs a reset to deliver more profit with purpose



Jeff Mowatt

Putting people above profit, a profit-for-purpose business #socent #poverty #compassion #peoplecentered #humaneconomy