Masterclass – A new era for local economic development: Community Wealth Building

Posted September 20, 2022

SGS Economics and Planning Masterclass 3

In the face of an evolving climate and economic crisis, we need to reshape our local economies for people, place and planet. This masterclass held in Sydney and Melbourne explores and teaches practical actions on how this can be done.

Offering an exciting new model and practice to economic development, Community Wealth Building (CWB) is fast growing in many places across the world, including the USA, Europe, the UK and now Australia. Focusing on a rewiring of wealth and investment, CWB seeks to build an economy that is inclusive, resilient and just.

About the course

Delivered by Neil McInroy and Patrick Fensham. Neil is the key originator and global leader for CWB and will be a keynote speaker at the National Economic Development Conference on 14 October 2022 in Sydney, where he will be leading the discussion around how we can apply new economic policy and practice for people, place and planet in his talk "Economic Development in an Age of Crises". Patrick is one of Australia’s main advocates of CWB and an experienced strategic planner and economic development professional. Both are skilled masterclass and workshop facilitators with many collective years of experience and knowledge.

The course will:

  • Explore the prevailing challenges our places face and how CWB meets them
  • Introduce the conceptual underpinning of CWB
  • Explain the CWB model and its five pillars
  • Guide you through the action planning process, equipping you with the know-how and skills to get you started
  • Provide you with case studies from around the world.

Who should attend?

This Masterclass is designed for economic development and strategy professionals in local government, state government or large anchor institutions such as universities or hospitals with a focus on building inclusive and resilient places, communities and economies.

This Masterclass is being held following the National Economic Development Conference and provides an opportunity for Economic Development Australia members to extend discussions from the conference with more in-depth learning and application to their local areas.

EDA members with Australian Certified Economic Developer (ACEcD) status will receive 2.5 CPD points.

This program is for individuals wanting to:
  • Upskill on new models of economic development
  • Test ideas for their local places
  • Build an economy that is inclusive, resilient and just
  • Get equipped with knowledge, ideas and action planning framework
This masterclass will:
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    Upcoming sessions


    • Monday 17 October
    • 9.45 am - 3.30 pm
    • Suite 201, 50 Holt Street, Surry Hills NSW


    • Wednesday 19 October
    • 9.45 am - 3.30 pm
    • Level 14, 222 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC

    The fee for attendance is $950 plus GST.

    We are pleased, in partnership with Economic Development Australia, to offer a discounted rate of $800 plus GST for EDA members.

    Reserve your place today. Places are strictly limited.


    SGS Economics and Planning MC

    Neil McInroy is a Senior Fellow for the Global Advancement of Community Wealth Building at The Democracy Collaborative – A USA based Research and Development lab.

    Neil is an economics of place specialist, policy thinker, practitioner and organisational leader, and over the last 25 years has worked extensively across UK, USA and internationally (including Australia and New Zealand), and has been commissioned and collaborated with a range of international, national, local governments and agencies.

    At present Neil is driven by the perfect storm of economic, social, environmental and democratic challenges. In this, he is focussed on thinking through and applying new economic policy and practice for people, place and planet. Community Wealth Building is a key part of that, and Neil was instrumental in developing the ‘Preston model’ in the UK and was the originator of current CWB model and five pillar practice, which is currently being deployed in a number of locations across the world. This includes Neil’s direct work with the Scottish Government (where he is a CWB adviser) and his work in locations across the USA, including Chicago.

    From 2000 until 2021 Neil was the Chief Executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)- the UK national organisation for local economies.

    Patrick Fensham is a Principal and Partner at SGS. Patrick Fensham is a Principal and Partner at SGS Economics and Planning. He has practical experience in metropolitan strategic planning, economic analysis, industrial areas, retail studies and urban and regional economic development.

    Over 25 years Patrick has led numerous economic development strategies in different contexts and scales including:

    • Greater Western Sydney Economic Development Strategy for NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
    • Newcastle Job Creation Strategy for UrbanGrowth NSW
    • Wollongabba- West End Economic Development Strategy for Brisbane City Council
    • Golden Plains Shire Economic Development Strategy (rural Victoria).

    He has been a regular guest lecturer at La Trobe University in Bendigo focussing on techniques for regional economic development and has been a key member of the SGS team presenting the Economic Development Australia national education and training program since 2020.

    Patrick spent October 2019 with Neil McInroy and the CLES team in Manchester in the UK. This study visit was focused on the practice of Community Wealth Building and included meetings with Councillors and officers at Gateshead, Lewisham, Preston and Manchester Councils. On his return to Australia Patrick authored the SGS Occasional Paper: The right time for community wealth building reform in Australia

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    This masterclass is being held jointly by SGS Economics and Planning, Democracy Collaborative and Economic Development Australia.

    SGS Economics and Planning is an urban and public policy consultancy and certified B Corp, we work so that all Australians can benefit from equitable and sustainable cities and regions. Our evidence-based insights help understand how places and economies function, assess what projects and programs work, and plan future places and precincts.

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