The role SupplyDevon plays in Community Wealth Building

The term ‘Community Wealth Building’ (CWB) is one that we’re coming to hear more and more, but what exactly is it?

It’s a people-centered approach to local economic development. Community wealth building is about creating a resilient and inclusive economy for the benefit of the local area. It redirects wealth back into the local economy, and places control and benefits into the hands of local people.

There are five core principles to Community Wealth Building:

Progressive procurement – developing local supply chains of businesses likely to support local employment and keep wealth within communities.

Fair employment and just labour markets – Using anchor institutions to improve prospects of local people. Anchor organisations are large employers with a strong local presence in an area such as your local council, university, college, NHS or large local private sector employer.

Shared ownership of the local economy – supporting and growing business models that are more financially generative for the local economy.

Socially just use of land and property – developing the function and ownership of local assets held by anchor organisations, so local communities benefit from financial and social gain.

Making financial power work for local places – increase flows of investment within local economies by harnessing and recirculating the wealth that exists.

Many local authorities have implemented Community Wealth Building strategies for economic development and procurement. Preston in Lancashire has seen huge success after identifying anchor institutions, analysing spend and adjusting their strategies in partnership with CLES, the national organisation for local economies. Due to the success of the approaches in Preston, the term ‘Preston Model’ is often used in the UK, explained further in this article by Neil Young of Partnership for Procurement.

Supporting Devon with a progressive procurement strategy

Community wealth building promotes the progressive procurement of goods and services. Developing local supply chains of businesses and organisations aids local employment as well as helping retain wealth locally. Greater economic, social and environmental benefits can also be achieved this way.

SupplyDevon offers businesses in Devon the opportunity to adapt their procurement processes for the benefit of the county. The regional procurement platform matches buyer requests with local suppliers who can meet their requirements. By selling to other Devon businesses, money invested by local businesses can be reinvested into the communities they operate in.

In many anchor institutions, cost is often the determining factor in who business is awarded to and less attention is paid towards the economic and environmental impacts of procurement. Adapting to new procurement processes such as SupplyDevon not only allows businesses to compare aspects such as price and locality, but also helps businesses reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change, helping Devon reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

In addition, the AI used to match suppliers to buyer requests has been developed to balance the ethnic and gender mix of those invited to quote, promoting fairness and equality within the supply chain.

We’re passionate about supporting the local economy and helping the county build back better. Tech South West will be hosting a virtual event in early June 'Community Wealth Building in Devon and the South West'. The event will provide further detail about SupplyDevon and other initiatives and provide tools and further information about what support there is to businesses locally. To be kept updated on this event, please email us at and we'll let you know when registration becomes available. 

For further information on SupplyDevon, please email us at


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