Compelling Keynotes, Interviews, and Panels

Book Elizabeth for your upcoming event


Elizabeth is a sought-after keynote speaker, interview subject, and panel moderator. A regular contributor to local, regional, and national events around the continent for over a decade, she is happy to consider participating at your event. Her high-impact presentations are accessible to diverse audiences, including farmers, food entrepreneurs, sustainable businesses, nonprofit organization staff, technical assistance providers, investors, lenders, philanthropists, foundations, fund managers, young people with wealth, local business networks, and students.

Don’t miss her Xero Gravity podcasts, which she co-hosts along with fellow small-business-expert Gene Marks.

BALLE-conf-wide-shortElizabeth’s speaking topics include the following:

  • Raising money for food and farm-based businesses;
  • Small business finance and bookkeeping;
  • Sustainable food systems;
  • Social enterprise development and support;
  • Impact investing for social change;
  • Finding fulfillment in work and life; and
  • Transforming our relationship with money.

Upcoming Workshops


La Cocina’s Food & Entrepreneurship Conference
November 8, 2015 in San Francisco, CA

Struggling to keep track of your COGS? Had countless late nights trying to get your bookkeeping in order? The more a business grows, the more time the owner finds themselves out of the kitchen and on their laptop & cell phone. Elizabeth will be part of a panel presenting the Tech Tools for Operations workshop, which will highlight some of the most integrated tech platforms for accepting payments, sending invoices, running payroll, etc… and give you an insight into how tech tools can help you streamline various components of your business.

 Recent Events


Food Craft Institute’s Coffee Roasting and Retail Master Course
January 24 — February 22, 2015 in the San Francisco Bay Area

As a student of the Coffee Master Course you will have the privilege of spending multiple days with uncontested leaders of the contemporary coffee world, learning hands-on techniques and practitioner skills but also personal details about their successful coffee businesses taught in their actual shops, roasteries, kitchens and warehouses. Elizabeth will be teaching the final module of this course, “Financing and Funding your Food Start-Up,” on February 22nd.

35th Annual EcoFarm Conference
January 21-24, 2015 in Asilomar, CA

On Friday, January 23rd at 1:30pm, Elizabeth co-presented a workshop on crowdfunding for farmers at this conference, Ecological Farming Association’s flagship event that brings together food system stakeholders together for education, networking and celebration. Stay tuned for an Acres USA article based on this presentation.


Listen now: Great Food, Great Business at the Commonwealth Club
Recorded live on January 12, 2015 in San Francisco, CA

Ready to turn your creative expertise with artisan foods into a thriving good food business? Listen and learn as Elizabeth Ü joins a panel of smart, innovative women entrepreneurs who have done just that. Learn how these foodie forerunners put their ideas in motion, funded their ventures, kept going through the inevitable peaks and valleys of running a business – and how they continue to balance “good” with growth. Organized by the Bay Gourmet Forum of the Commonwealth Club of California.


Feed Yourself Feeding Us: Entrepreneurial Farm Business Intensive
December 13-14, 2014 in Sebastopol, CA

Elizabeth covered financing techniques suitable for young and beginning farmers at this remarkably comprehensive weekend workshop. Hosted by the Farmers Guild, it covered just about everything you need to know about the business of farming beyond the actual farming part.


Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Partner Meeting
November 18, 2014 in Atlanta, GA

Elizabeth taught an interactive workshop on creative financing opportunities for food entrepreneurs and the dozens of partners that work with the Atlanta Community Food Bank.


National Heirloom Expo
September 9-11, 2014 in Santa Rosa, CA

Elizabeth presented a workshop on financing techniques for farmers and entrepreneurs of food-based businesses at this event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism.

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Food Craft Institute’s Chocolate Intensive Course
All 5 Saturdays in August, 2014 in Oakland, CA

This course highlighted the making of small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate and handmade confections. Participants learned hands-on techniques, tricks of the trade as well as all the nibby details of how to run a chocolate business from the pros who have tasted sweet success — including a session on identifying core values and assessing financing techniques from Elizabeth. Students of the Chocolate Intensive Course had the privilege of spending multiple days with established artisan chocolate makers, learning practitioner skills as well as personal details about their businesses taught in their actual kitchens and facilities.

Homegrown Finance
August 5, 2014 in Medford, OR

Elizabeth was the featured speaker at this evening event, which covered the range of financing available for Rogue Valley food entrepreneurs. Attendees had the opportunity to taste local artisan foods ​​and connect with local leaders in grassroots financing to learn what options are best for your business. After her presentation, Elizabeth moderated a Q&A session with panel of experts there to answer questions about business mentoring, private investors, microlending, crowdfunding, social investing, federal grants, and government loans. Hosted by ThriveOSU ExtensionSlow Money Southern OR, and Sustainable Valley. 


Fundraising Techniques for Small Businesses, from the Traditional to the Cutting Edge
July 24, 2014 in Bellingham, WA

Village Books  and Sustainable Connections hosted Elizabeth for a free presentation on financing options for entrepreneurs and those that want to support them. We were having such a good time that we ended up “workshopping” several attendees’ specific scenarios for a full hour after the scheduled event. Thanks Bellingham! More details here.


Money and Food: Making Connections
July 17, 2014 on Whidbey Island, WA

Elizabeth was the invited guest for this intimate evening that was part education session, part mixer covering the various ways to invest in — and raise money from — your local community. Community members discussed financial tools for connecting people who want to invest in their local food economy with the farmers and food entrepreneurs who need capital for their businesses, asking questions, sharing success stories, meeting, and mingling.

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Hacking the Economy: Slow Money
July 9, 2014 at the Impact Hub Oakland, CA

Elizabeth moderated a panel of food entrepreneurs and Slow Money investors at this event, part of the Impact Hub Oakland’s “Hacking the Economy” series.


Whole Foods Market’s Foodmaker Forum
June 25, 2014 – San Francisco, CA

Whole Foods Market aimed to “take local to the next level” with this event, which brought foodmakers and culinary trendsetters together to discuss the local food industry and what it takes to get on Whole Foods Market’s shelves. There were presentations on their Quality Standards, innovative marketing, financing (that’s what Elizabeth spoke to), and partnering with the right resources to grow your business.


Local Food Enterprise Summit
May 31 — June 2, 2014 in Miami, FL

Elizabeth delivered a virtual presentation to the business design teams at this event, also providing direct feedback and answering questions related to the plans they had developed over the preceding days of the workshop.


Marylhurst University, Food Systems & Society: Money in the Movement
March 10, 2014 in Marylhurst, OR

Elizabeth delivered a virtual guest lecture to the students of this course, and answered their questions about the flow of capital from funders and financiers to the non-profits and social enterprises that are part of the sustainable food movement.


PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference
February 5-8, 2014 in State College, PA

Elizabeth co-presented a pre-workshop track on financing farm and food businesses, and also delivered a workshop at the main conference, the signature event of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and its main vehicle for community building. Widely regarded as the best of its kind in the East, this event brings together an audience of over 2,000 farmers, processors, consumers, students, environmentalists and business and community leaders annually.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Annual Conference: Well Grounded
January 23-25, 2014 in Ames, IA

Elizabeth gave a farm and food-business financing workshop at this conference. The farming journey starts with the soil under our feet, and Iowa is blessed with some of the world’s best. We may be “well grounded,” but the steps we take too often let this solid foundation slip away. Attendees at this event saw how practical people build their farms, families and communities—and plant the deep roots/routes that will allow future generations to thrive.


Arizona Food & Farm Finance Forum
January 13-15, 2014 in Tucson, AZ

Elizabeth gave a keynote address at the Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum, an event designed to change the way our desert state feeds itself. The Forum was structured to help communities to envision fresh, cost-effective means to jumpstart new food micro enterprises, farms, community kitchens and hunger relief efforts to aid in the recovery of local economies by connecting these groups with possible avenues for credit and funding resources.

Past Events

You can view a list of dozens of Elizabeth’s prior speaking engagements (which she gave as Executive Director of the nonprofit Finance for Foodhere.

View Elizabeth’s 2011 TEDxManhattan talk, Money’s Many Shades of Green: