|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.
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, introduced in this document. And as this 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 were planning on launching a pilot project based on that SCF strategy on the island of Puerto Rico, introduced in this document. That effort has attracted attention elsewhere and a number of other regions are already looking to replicate the Puerto Rican SCF model. Along came the pandemic and the team at National Commonwealth Group elected to shift gears and focus on our home state, Ohio, as the place to pilot the SCF program.
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 nationalcommonwealthgroup.net/michael-sauvante.
|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 launched COventures in 2017, a platform guiding aspiring entrepreneurs, academic institutions and growing companies in community partnerships driving sustainable innovation.
As a volunteer, in addition to his work at NCG on the SCF, Scott is a founding executive recently concluding his 4th term as President & Chair of the Crowdfunding Professional Association, the leading 501(c)6 trade group formed by the change agents behind the JOBS Act of 2012 and Crowdfunding’s emergence since. Scott is active in venture communities and a frequent speaker in the U.S. and abroad, addressing audiences numbering over 13,000 in China and Russia, and delivering keynote presentations to governments and global conferences in Australia, India, and in Austria where he addressed the European Union’s Finance Ministers as the guest of the U.S. Department of Commerce. He maintains an active network of leading foreign alternative finance bodies with associates in over 20 countries, and served as Interim CEO of a unit of Groupo Venture Capital, a Chilean investment bank.
Scott is 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. At The University of Toledo, Scott envisioned, implemented and managed the school’s first Office of Student Entrepreneurship & Engagement leading to creation of several key technologies at the intersection of entrepreneurship & workforce development.
Whether helping student entrepreneurs, transitioning workers or small business owners, Scott is passionate about sustainable economic development. Details of Scott’s work history, achievements and recommendations can be viewed on his Linkedin profile.
|Jeffrey Quintero, Program Director
Over the last 20-plus years, Jeff has been engaged in research and development efforts in philosophy, science and consciousness, the lean entrepreneurship method, and blockchain technology.
He began his career in communications technology, pioneering innovations for companies like Burger King, large print and video production companies in the United States and Latin America, and portals for Latin American media companies.
He has founded several companies dedicated to identifying a new economic paradigm, formed through new value theory and powered by evolving technologies. He has assisted communities to develop purposeful strategies for achieving more widespread economic gains within a framework that is people-centered, collaborative and guided by shared values.
By combining his technological background with deep insights into the core existential constraints contributing to our current crises, he has developed a set of guiding principles that can foster a new kind of economic development better suited to rapidly changing systems, including finance, entrepreneurship and the strengthening of local economies.
Jeff graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Business Administration, Management and Operations. Born in Venezuela, Jeff speaks Portuguese in addition to English and Spanish.
|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.
|Jeff Londres, Advisor, Fintech
Jeff has accumulated more than 24 years of successful sales and leadership experience in the areas of finance, treasury, working capital management, benefits management, business process outsourcing (BPO), HR, IT technology, workforce management, human capital solutions, and Payment Processing and integration.
Jeff has led organizations providing enterprise-level consulting to global 2000 clients, driving solutions of betterment in the areas of Order to Cash and Global AR, treasury and cash management, and Procure to Pay optimization. Additionally, Jeff has held leadership roles growing commercial solutions supporting payment processing and integrated payments to ISV and software platforms.
As an entrepreneur, Jeff successfully founded and built several innovative startup companies, including a SaaS-based customer retention platform supporting the mortgage industry; a consulting company focusing on business alignment, strategy and integrated payment technologies; and most recently, a payment processing solution company enabling credit/debit card processing nationwide to the cannabis/CBD industry.
|Stephen deMeulenaere, Advisor, Digital & Complementary Currencies
For almost 30 years, Stephen DeMeulenaere has been contributing to the field of digital currencies worldwide. He has worked with development organizations to implement and strengthen complementary currencies in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and in North America has years of complementary currency system management experience.
His contributions in the field have been noted in The Future of Money by renowned economist and architect of the euro Bernard Lietaer; The End of Money and the Future of Civilization by Thomas Greco; in Healthy Money, Healthy Planet by Diedre Kent, and in Rethinking Money: How New Currencies turn Scarcity into Prosperity by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne. Stephen was also engaged by Princeton University Press to review their textbook “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies”.
Stephen organized the first and largest conference on Blockchain at the United Nations for UNCTAD, Blockchains for Sustainable Development, at the 2018 UN World Investment Forum at UN headquarters in Geneva.
He is a Certified Digital Currency Professional with the Digital Currency Council and graduate of the University of Nicosia Digital Currency Course. (UNIC is a world leader in blockchain technology education and is the first university to offer a cryptocurrency course and a full academic degree in blockchain (master’s degree in Digital Currency), among other firsts.)
|Fadhel Kaboub, Economic Advisor
Fadhel Kaboub is President of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and Associate Professor of economics at Denison University where he runs a student based complementary currency program called the Denison Volunteer Dollar Program (DVD). His focuses is on the fiscal and monetary policy dimensions of job creation programs.
His research is in the Post Keynesian and Institutionalist tradition in the fields of macroeconomic theory and policy, monetary theory and policy, and economic development, with a particular emphasis on job creation programs. Building upon Modern Money Theory (MMT), Fadhel argues that the United States and other countries with sovereign monetary systems can afford to end poverty, ensure full employment and price stability, provide universal healthcare, and ameliorate ecological conditions at a fraction of the costs that society endures under fiscal austerity.
He is a widely published author and his recent work has been presented at prestigious institutions including the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School, Cornell University, Columbia University, Sorbonne University, and the National University of Singapore. Some of his recent media commentaries on employment, development, finance, and the Middle East economies have appeared in the Financial Times, Al-Ahram Weekly, Radio France Internationale, National Public Radio, New Inquiry, BBC Mundo, Carta Maior, Diwan TV, Saudi Gazette, Le Quotidien, and La Presse.
Fadhel earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Tunis, and his Master’s and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Before settling at Denison University in 2008, he taught at Simon’s Rock College of Bard (Massachusetts) and at Drew University (New Jersey) where he also directed the Wall Street Semester Program. He also held a number of research affiliations with the Levy Economics Institute (NY), the Economic Research Forum (Cairo), the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (Massachusetts), and the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability (Missouri).