Local First Arizona's Kimber Lanning On Going Beyond Buying Local

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 10:20am
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2018 - 3:34pm
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Lauren Gilger/KJZZ
Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning.

"Buy local" is a catch phrase we’ve all heard, but you can only tell people to buy local if there are strong local businesses to buy from. That’s where the Local First Arizona Foundation comes in.

Kimber Lanning started Local First Arizona almost two decades ago and has used it to grow businesses from under-served communities through economic development. She wanted to level the playing field for locally-owned businesses who weren’t getting the same tax breaks that big chain stores were.

Today, Local First is the nation’s largest local business coalition and the businesses they've helped have become part of what’s makes modern Phoenix cool.

Lanning is making moves to grow that foundation, and the economic development work they do, with programs like business accelerator Fuerza Locale, which works to teach micro-entrepreneurs the basics of financial literacy and get them access to the capital they need to get off the ground.

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