Michael Sauvante

Michael Sauvante brings over 40 years of experience in founding and running more than a half dozen companies and non-profit organizations. He is an expert in new venture creation, also within mature companies including pioneering work at HP Labs, and has long been a progressive thinker in the field of sustainability, corporate social and environmental behavior, and corporate responsibility. Michael also has a deep understanding of general corporate law, corporate securities law, banking and tax law and more.

Recent Activities

For the past decade, Michael has conducted extensive research into economic development issues pertaining primarily to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and their critical role in the economic vitality of their communities.  That research has focused on getting money into the hands of SMEs through capital formation (investments) and credit facilitation (loans). It also focused on how current laws and structures often impede rather than facilitate those functions, and how disruptive new vehicles and approaches can provide the breakthroughs necessary to lift up those businesses and their local communities. Some of that work helped contribute to the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012.

Michael’s research into local economic development issues has resulted in his writing and publishing an extensive number of articles on banking, securities, currencies and related topics  found here, here and under his full bio linked below. This effort led to an in-depth exploration of the use of alternative currencies for economic development, resulting in his article Money – A Time for Change, exploring how such currencies can serve as the overall mechanism that can be used to comprehensively bootstrap local economies, especially stressed economies.

From that knowledge he developed a system called the Sustainable Communities Framework (SCF) for harnessing those ideas into a coherent and integrated regional economic development program. And as this intro document explains, the SCF program very closely maps to all the elements of the Green New Deal (GND), including job creation; small business growth and development; income and wealth disparities; climate change and other environmental issues; infrastructure, housing and energy issues; local farming and food; municipalities, schools, hospitals and other not-for-profit service organizations. The one key exception is that the SCF can be implemented locally now, without waiting for Congress and massive federal funding.

The SCF uses several new entities Michael created starting with a non-profit structure called Commonwealth Development Organizations (CDOs) designed to organize and carry out the overall SCF program in any one region. He and his colleagues at National Commonwealth Group are launching a pilot project based on that SCF strategy on the island of Puerto Rico, introduced in this document and in greater detail here. That effort has attracted attention elsewhere and a number of other regions are already looking to replicate the Puerto Rican SCF model.

This effort has also attracted the attention of leadership with the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), at Middlesex University in London. Middlesex hosts a top tier business school, of which CEEDR is the leading research centre specializing in local economic development, small business financing and support policy, and social enterprise. CEEDR has awarded Michael an Honorary Research Fellowship in recognition of his pioneering work in the field of local economic development and business financing with National Commonwealth Group, to go along with his recent enrollment in the capstone professional doctorate program (DProf) at Middlesex based on his 10 years of research and work in this field.

Summary of Previous Activities

For Michael’s full bio and comprehensive list of his other writings, visit


Scott McIntyre, Managing Director

Founder and Chief Architect of Commonwealth’s entrepreneurship development practice, Scott is a lifelong entrepreneur and venture catalyst. He founded strategy/media/capital firm Phabriq Development in 1997 and recently launched COventures, a platform guiding aspiring entrepreneurs, academic institutions and growing companies in community partnerships driving sustainable innovation.

As a volunteer, Scott is a founding executive currently serving his 3rd term on the Board of Directors as President/Chair of the Crowdfunding Professional Association, the leading 501(c)6 trade group formed by the change agents responsible for Crowdfunding’s inclusion in the JOBS Act of 2012. Scott is an active speaker in the U.S. and abroad, has counseled  European Union Finance Ministers, and delivered keynote speeches to crowds numbering over 13,000 at national conferences in China, Australia and India. He maintains an active network of leading foreign alternative finance bodies with associates in over 20 countries.

Scott has been a recognized pioneer in Education Technology since his role as a founding executive of REAL Education in 1994, the startup that built the first online education platform, launching worldwide as eCollege at IPO in 1999. eCollege is now a cornerstone product of Education market leader Pearson, having acquired eCollege for $477 million in 2007. Scott recently concluded his directorship at The University of Toledo, where he envisioned, implemented and managed the school’s first Office of Student Entrepreneurship & Engagement. Scott recently completed an interim appointment as CEO of Weeshing Inc, a Chilean investment bank using its Crowdfinance platform to bring live event investment opportunities to fans and investors of all sizes across the western hemisphere.

Whether helping student entrepreneurs, transitioning workers or small business owners, Scott is passionate about sustainable economic development.


Vari MacNeil, Director, Communications & Creative

Vari MacNeil’s professional experience spans more than 30 years in online and offline content strategy and development, brand strategy, and communications. She consults on content issues for large international companies, primarily in the automotive, healthcare and pharmaceutical, financial services, construction and home improvement, entertainment, government and economic development sectors.

Vari was previously with Azina Communications, a publishing and Internet consulting firm she co-founded in 2003. Before that she was Executive Director of Member Media for USAA, an international financial services company, where she was responsible for mass communications to 1.4 million member-customers. As Director of Content at marchFIRST/divine, an international Internet consultancy, Vari developed content and brand strategy for multinational companies. She was previously executive editor of The Health Network channel and executive editor of WebMD. Vari started her career as a newspaper and magazine editor.

Vari brings an international background, having grown up in Scotland and worked for many years in Germany, mostly in Munich, Stuttgart and the Bavarian Alps. As a co-founder of Commonwealth Group, Vari has helped develop programs around small business capital and credit issues, and the sustainable development of local economies. She is the recipient of multiple awards for print and online content.


Patricia Carlson, Director, Administration

Patricia Carlson has a successful track record in the administration of startup and growth companies. She brings over 30 years experience in founding and running more than a half dozen enterprises. She has managed all administrative functions, including accounting, taxes, personnel, inventory and facilities, as well as all the administrative functions of the boards of directors. She is an ABA certified paralegal and has completed the first year of law school for a JD.