Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and one of the world’s leading experts on community economics. He has authored, coauthored, or edited eight books. His most recent book, just published by Chelsea Green, is Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Move Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity. His previous book, The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006), received a bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006. He helped co-found Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) which represents 22,000 local businesses in North America in 80 communities, and is now a Fellow there. At Cutting Edge Capital he manages its economic-development initiatives. A prolific speaker, Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for the past 30 years. He has lectured in almost every U.S. state and eight countries.
Michael Shuman conducted a S.W.O.T. analysis to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of Berea’s economu. A key point from his findings was that currently, there is an estimated 963 people unemployed in the city of Berea. Although this is lower than most regions in our country, it is still an issue that needs to be addressed for those 963 people. The approach that Michael Shuman takes to economic development is the focal point of the concept of “Local Living Economies,” where we supplement the current focus of attracting and retaining outside businesses by nurturing and expanding the region’s local businesses. As a starting point to figuring out the impact of localizing Berea’s economy, Shuman also conducted a simple leakage analysis, using the online calculators (designed by the author) of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. This tool allowed for us to identify in what areas the city of Berea relies on outside resources, and what resources were being sent out of the community. Five focus groups were formed as a result of the top leaky clusters that were identified, which were: Big Business, Small Business, Finance, Tourism, and Sustainability. Sustainability was split into two sectors, Energy Efficiency and Berea Locally Integrated Food Economy.