Would you be a friendly dragon?
Remember the great Blizzards of March and how everyone in your town came together to help one another? The Community of Dragons in Totnes, Devon, is not so different. Much like the TV show Dragon’s Den, it is a chance for local entrepreneurs to pitch their start-ups and ask for support with the local community rallying around to help them along the way.
Instead of enticing a panel of rich philanthropists, they pitch to the local community who are the dragons. And rather than offer large-sum investments, people offered their time, services and skills, not asking for anything in return - all in the name of goodness.
it is known as the Local Entrepreneur Forum, and is run each year by the REconomy Centre in Totnes, Devon.
ThoughtBox was one of four local enterprises chosen to pitch to the dragons and was overwhelmed with the public support and response, receiving pledges of financial capital, investments, business development, editorials, mentoring, even free ice-cream from the local gelateria!
One of the ‘friendly dragons’ gave us funding to start the ThoughtBox Primary curriculum and so we will be delighted to share this new strand with you in the coming months.
It was such a moving evening to be a part of – people were offering to build websites, give business advice or marketing skills, take professional photographs, lend money and machinery, donate resources, bake cakes, babysit children – whatever people had to offer, they did - from share-holder investment to £££ to hugs!
In an age where we’re being made to feel like our societies are breaking down, this was an evening that renewed that belief in the goodness that lies in us all and showed just how strong communities can be when they come together.
And we are delighted to now have our first group of ThoughtBox Patrons! Benevolent and inspired friendly people who have seen and understood the value of ThoughtBox and have pledged their support to bring our connected learning programmes into more schools. How wonderful! (Find out more about our ThoughtBox Patron scheme here).
We were also thrilled to be awarded the Totnes Innovation prize of £100 Totnes pounds (Totnes has its own currency!) – awarded to the business which best exemplifies the spirit of community engagement and development.
The ripple effects of the evening are already being felt and the feeling of support from local community has helped us to rise to the next level. A truly wonderful evening and a beautiful way to connect to the local community.
We would like to thank the REconomy Centre for organising the event and supporting ThoughtBox in stepping into our next stage of development. If you’re interested in bringing a Community of Dragons to your local area, do get in touch with the REconomy Centre, Totnes, who would be happy to help you to set up your own event.
Take a look at a few photo highlights and a video recording of our pitch below.