Accelerate US: Dispatches from the front lines of the Local Economy Revolution

Accelerate US started during the COVID-19 pandemic, but I should have started it much sooner. 


For years, I have been learning from some of the best on-the-ground soldiers of the Local Economy Revolution — watching them do everything from leading panicked small businesses, to coaching young creators on emotional intelligence, to creating data analytic tools that allow us to replace top-down, machine-model economic growth with the kind of network-leveraging, asset-based, resilient local economies we need, more than ever.  


These are the folks who are making the Local Economy Revolution happen. 


And I’m glad to share what I’m learning from them with you.  


You can find most Accelerate US installations in either video or audio format.  For video versions, follow the Wise Economy Workshop YouTube channel. For the audio podcast, check out Building a Wise Local Economy on Soundcloud, Stitcher or Spotify.  

Be sure to share your favorite episodes to your members, government leaders and partners.  And if you hear anything that you want to put into practice, contact us and we’ll design a way to help.  


Here’s a few recent installations:  

Leading in a crisis: Emotional Intelligence and the independent business with Christina Aldan

Christina Aldan head shotTrainer, speaker, coach and branding expert Christina Aldan talks with Della about why Emotional Intelligence is so important to small businesses and small organizations, and how to build EI practices into your work and communication.

Click here for the video

Click here for the audio  


What you can do, now: A conversation with Isaac Kremer on the role of local leaders in the crisis.

Isaac in front of handmade sign - part of tactical urbanism intervention
Isaac taught downtown leaders nationwide how to do tactical urbanism at Main Street Now in Milwaukee

National downtown revitalization specialist and Executive Director of the Downtown Metuchen Alliance talks with Della about five specific things he is doing to help his 365 members survive the pandemic — and four kinds of practical business pivots.  

Click here for the video

Click here for the audio  




Take the helm of your local economy: the present and future of the American Independent Business Alliance with Executive Director Derek Peebles.

Derek PeeblesIndependent local businesses are the backbone of communities nationwide, but few people realize that a resilient local economy depends on those businesses being able to thrive in a healthy business ecosystem. In this interview, Derek tells Della about AMIBA’s role as one of the founders of the Buy Local movement, and how the organization is increasing its collaboration and impact on independent business communities nationwide.  

Click here for the video

Click here for the audio  


Finding the money: new approaches to public funding post-COVID with Danielle Steinhauser, CT Consultants

danielle SAs communities re-evaluate their budgets and programs in the wake of the COVID-19 upheavals, thinking through new ways to find and deploy funding sources becomes more important than ever.  Della and Danielle Steinhauser of CT Consultants share a friendly, honest and enlightening conversation about how our local governments and partners can find and use funds and other resources for our long-term resilience.  

Click here for the video

Click here for the audio  


Intelligent Business Retention: How data makes the difference between good economic development and a waste of time with Anatalio Ubalde, CEO of SizeUp 

anatalioEconomic crises like the COVID-19 pandemic throw a harsh light on how crucial and fragile our local independent businesses are — and how inadequate most traditional economic development methods are for meeting those needs.  Anatalio and Della dissect why conventional Business Recruitment and Expansion methods fail, and explore how powerful new data tools can transform how we help local businesses.   

Interview on May 1

Join the live audience and ask questions here


What We’re Missing: the unique challenges facing Black and low-income entrepreneurs and independent businesses, and what we can do to help them. 

With Willie Hill, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative

willie hillBeing an entrepreneur or business owner is hard, and being a Black entrepreneur or business owner can be even harder.  And if you come from a background with little income or family wealth, even seemingly small challenges can derail you.   We will explore the outsized importance of coaching and training, what microlending requires and why that’s so neccessary and so hard for conventional banks to do, and more. You don’t want to miss this conversation with one of the few organizations in the US that provides business training and coaching and microfinance lending for low-income entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Interview May 08

Join the live audience and ask questions here


Density of trust and clarity of  purpose: building the independent business communities of tomorrow, today

With Enoch Elwell, Founder, Co.Starters

Aviary-Photo_132081080717477823-600x400It’s no secret that the world facing independent businesses was changing fast before we ever heard of a COVID — and the pandemic has accelerated those changes.  But there’s more to thriving in the coming era than setting up an Instagram page.  As one of the leaders of the entrepreneurship ecosystem groundswell nationwide, Enoch has a deep and wide perspective on how the fundamentals of business, and business in community, is changing.  You will not want to miss this insightful and encouraging conversation.

Interview May 15

Join the live audience and ask questions here


Technology FTW: practical ways to communicate with your community and promote your businesses without making everyone crazy

With Theodora Skeadas, Cambridge Local First 

Theo SkeadasPeople who run economic development and local business organizations know that they have to get good, useful, reliable information out to their community — and do it NOW.  But too many of the resource guides and directories coming out since the pandemic consist of small-text laundry lists that give the overwhelmed user a headache before they get to anything they can use.  Which isn’t surprising, since “User Interface Expert” and “Tech Genius” isn’t on most of our resumes.

But Cambridge Local First didn’t let that stop them.

You won’t want to miss this deep dive into the technologies, tools, design strategies and more that Cambridge Local First and its partners have been using to make it easy for businesses and residents to find the foods, services, and resources that they want.  Join us as we explore the tech that’s not only possible, but being used right now!

Interview May 22

Join the live audience and ask questions here



Building A Bridge to Impact: Developing & leveraging public sector relationships

Colin Murray speakingCommunity nonprofits often struggle to develop the kinds of collaborative relationships with local governments that lead officials to trust you in times of crisis.  But that’s exactly what Dane Buy Local did — and it has resulted in over $10 million that they are distributing to businesses that need it on behalf of Dane County, Wisconsin.  We will talk with Colin Murray, Executive Director of Dane Buy Local, about how that relationships developed, what that required of the nonprofit and how that is impacting the community and Dane Buy Local today.

Interview May 29.