First Social Investor on OASIIS

WHAT IF…GIRVAN GOES GLOBAL WITH OASIIS

Ayrshire social enterprise programme What if…Girvan is to become the first social investor on the OASIIS platform, which connects UNESCO Biospheres worldwide.

What If… Girvan, delivered by Firstport, Scotland’s social enterprise development agency, is also a “Proud Supporter” of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.

Girvan and South Carrick villages, which are covered by the What If…Girvan social enterprise development programme, sit within the biosphere’s transition zone. It is one of a network of 669 Biosphere Reserves spread across 120 countries throughout the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBRs). There are six Biosphere Reserves in the UK two of which are in Scotland – Galloway and Southern Ayrshire and Wester Ross.

What If... Girvan is the first social investor to partner with OASIIS (Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams), an online platform designed to promote sustainable development in and around UNESCO biosphere reserves. Developed by Scottish social enterprise ASC, an early beneficiary of Firstport, the platform aims to engage social entrepreneurs and local businesses that are delivering social and environmental benefits and provide them with an opportunity to connect with other like-minded businesses via the OASIIS platform – locally, nationally and internationally - to share information and provide access to new markets and investment opportunities.

The What If programme’s online presence on OASIIS goes live today (Friday 23 March), coinciding with the two year anniversary of the OASIIS platform and the launch of the first ever OASIIS Biennial Report, which sheds light on the potential of social entrepreneurship for sustainable development.  

See: What If...Girvan's OASIIS profile

 

 

Sally Johnston, What If…Girvan programme manager, said: “Biosphere Reserves such as Galloway and Southern Ayrshire are a perfect fit for social enterprises, which invest in people and the environment and help create flourishing and robust communities.

“The OASIIS/What If…Girvan partnership will link individuals and social enterprises to activity and opportunities within the global network of biospheres. Having a digital presence on OASIIS will enable them to make their impacts internationally visible and connect with new markets and partners worldwide. What If.. Girvan offers opportunities to individuals starting up and looking to develop social enterprises in the biosphere area.’’

Colin Campbell, ASC and OASIIS founder, said: “We are delighted to welcome What If… Girvan onto the OASIIS platform as the first social investor. This opens up a fantastic opportunity for social entrepreneurs to access investment that can support them to contribute to making their communities more resilient and sustainable while working in harmony with the values of their local Biosphere.

“The OASIIS platform currently hosts 16 UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, just 2% of the WNBRs, yet records US$ 11million turnover and over 500 employment and training opportunities being created by social entrepreneurs within these areas. OASIIS is also recording, and probably underestimating, 395 direct actions towards the UN SDGs from organisations on OASIIS.

“We want to connect these social entrepreneurs with supportive UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and with markets, partnerships, ideas, knowledge, and inspiration across our collective WNBRs. The recently published first OASIIS Biennial Report also brings together case studies from across the world, including several from Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. The potential of social entrepreneurship for sustainable development within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves is tremendous. Our partnership with What If…Girvan will allow us to help continue to connect Girvan and the South Carrick villages with opportunities across the international OASIIS membership.”

 

 

Anyone who has a business idea that could make a positive difference in Girvan and the South Carrick villages can contact Sally at sally@firstport.org.uk or on 07501 950 413. Firstport offers one to one business support to develop ideas, up to £3000 in funding to test it, along with training, leadership development, mentoring and peer support. 

Any social enterprises or local businesses delivering on social and environmental benefits based within the Biosphere are welcome to register on the OASIIS platform at www.oasiis-br.org and contact Tabi at tabi@social-capital.net or on 0750 4524 792, for opportunities to connect with other businesses, create new partnerships, enter new markets and learn from other social entrepreneurs.

Cletwr Event Report

Visit to Appennino Tosco Emiliano Biosphere Reserve (19-21 October 2017) Cletwr Event Report

Photo Credit: ASC

I attended a 2-day event which was organised jointly by the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano Biosphere and OASIIS (Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams). The latter is an online platform that is managed by ‘Assist Social Capital’, a Scotland based social enterprise. OASIIS is set up to collect information as evidence of the contribution of social enterprises and SDG businesses in contributing to the development of a sustainable economy in biosphere reserves across the world.

“Social enterprises and social entrepreneurs are keys to unlock the future and create sustainable change”

Cletwr has registered on OASIIS (thanks to work from Suzanne), so Cletwr is out there in that particular international dimension. We will probably need to up-date the information that we have given them as our business develops and our impact within Dyfi Biosphere Reserve grows.

I was invited to Italy to talk about Cletwr as an example of a successful social enterprise within a biosphere reserve. I presented at the main ‘talking’ event and then more informally at a workshop that was going on in a village called Succiso. The latter was attended by people from all over Italy and was about developing community enterprises.

This event was the first ever international biosphere event to only focus on economic and sustainable development rather than the natural environment. A central purpose of the whole workshop was to look at how social/community led enterprises had developed in the Appennino Tosco Emiliano and to discuss the issue of branding. There are problems about creating a biosphere brand because this would have to be regulated and monitored. Also UNESCO has issues with the use of their logo to promote business activities. I CARE APPENNINO is thought to be a good phrase to indicate that a product/activity has the biosphere values at its core but is not strictly a brand.

Photo Credit: Erk Concari

We heard about and visited a variety of types of communitarian enterprise. Some agri-co-operatives had been established for several decades. These drew agri-producers together to help in producing and marketing. We also heard about businesses that had resulted from people coming into the area or returning when they combined farming and another activity e.g. tourism/outdoor activities. One impressive project had resulted in the restoration of a nearly deserted mountain village so that it is now a holiday village but which also has a high class restaurant, a honey farm and chestnut products. The project most similar to Cletwr was the community project at Succiso. This village had been destroyed by an earthquake/landslide and had been given new life and restart when the community took over the existing bar. From that a shop, café, community meeting place and other activities had developed.

Local produce is very important in the Appennino area and in Italy generally. They have a ‘zero kilometre’ accreditation, which indicates the use of local food in restaurants.

Messages for Dyfi Biosphere and Cletwr

Photo Credit: Cletwr

  1. Make reference to being in the Dyfi Biosphere on all our literature. See the good example of the Dyfi Distillery leaflet
  2. Act as an information hub for the Dyfi Biosphere. Suggest that we give Biosphere more space in the Interpretation Hub; that we fly a Biosphere Flag; that we have events when we promote biosphere products.
  3. Continue to contribute to the Biosphere Food Cluster and OASIIS international network
  4. Continue to make contacts with similar businesses in other biosphere reserves.
  5. Host regular ‘Get to Know the Dyfi Biosphere’ action days when our customers can be introduced to the biosphere.
  6. Share the benefits of being on OASIIS to other enterprises in Dyfi Biosphere Reserve.

 

Thanks to Shelagh Hourahane for contributing this piece

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Event programme

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with financial support from the EU

Bridging the SDGs: Citizens towards Sustainable Development

We’re pleased to be partnering with Insights US on an exciting new project aimed at generating action-led advice from citizens, to support sustainable economic development within UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

A bit about Insights US… Insights was founded to help decision makers make better decisions that advance our collective welfare. They believe that governments, businesses, local authorities, NGOs and communities require more inclusive decision-making to solve problems and deliver change. The Insights online platform enables communities to promote their collective well-being through their collective wisdom and participation. 

And we aim to do just that – by bridging citizens with the high profile but often intangible UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we will collate activities, ideas, and the collective wisdom of citizens and other key stakeholders on how they can be supported to take an effective role in progress towards the UN SDGs.

We’ll be inviting participants to offer their thoughts and ideas on a specific question (officially released with the launch on the 31st August). We are focusing this engagement on UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, areas dedicated to testing new approaches towards sustainable development where people and the environment co-exist in harmony. 

UNESCO Biospheres welcome local community participation and involvement. They promote innovative approaches to sustainable economic development that fit within diverse social cultural contexts. They celebrate ecological and cultural diversity through collaboration, research and education. The Lima Action Plan, which sets out a global agenda for UNESCO Biospheres for the next ten years, recognises the contribution of entrepreneurs and social enterprises to the Biosphere (C6). With over 600 Biosphere Reserves worldwide, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to showcase sustainable living around the world.

We will be reaching out to local people, social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, business owners, to biosphere managers, and local authorities. The insights generated will then be collated into a Community Insights Report for decision-makers and citizens and will be available on the open-access OASIIS Platform.

 

Bridging the SDGs launches on August 31st; watch this space!

 

With the financial support of the EU

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Opening Access (OASIIS) for Innovate4Climate

BARCELONA, 24-25 May 2017. This week the innovate4climate summit takes place in Barcelona and we will be joining the event. Innovate4climate aims at addressing the Paris Agreement calling for global economic transformation by bringing together

(...) the sectors driving the future of climate finance and markets, (...) leading experts, technology and financing providers, institutions and corporations to explore potential partnership and emerging business opportunities within the next economic revolution towards low-carbon and climate resilient development

This is closely related to the work we are doing around Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserves as Assist Social Capital has been working actively around establishing Social Enterprise as part of the strategy in Biosphere Reserves towards Sustainable Development based on a social capital approach. The two main areas we work on at the moment are: 

  1. OASIIS ... Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams - is an easy-to-use online platform gathering socio-economic data showcasing the real and positive impact of local sustainable businesses who are delivering social and environmental benefits in and around Biosphere Reserves. 
  2. Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Development Framework - is a development framework based on a social capital approach towards sustainability focusing on four main pillars of social enterprise, social investment, sustainable public procurement and public participation.

#OASIIS #innovate4climate

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Related pages

Social Enterprise – Unlocking Potential

Last week the Scottish Government published the new 'Building a Sustainable Social Enterprise Sector in Scotland - Action Plan 2017-20'  which includes a £3million investment for social entrepreneurs. It is aimed at boosting the sector by offering support to people and communities.

"...the plan will ensure that social enterprises play a central role in business and community life for many years to come."

 

 

The plan also  includes 92 commitments to realise its aims with some focusing on demonstrating the social value and impact of the social enterprise sector in Scotland.  One key actions will involve the Scottish Government supporting Assist Social Capital to pilot our Unlocking Potential social capital evaluation tool  for social enterprises in partnership with some Social Enterprise Networks.

OASIIS Launch!

O of OASIIS logoToday we are launching the OASIIS platform Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams.

The OASIIS showcases the real and positive impact of local sustainable businesses. OASIIS wishes to engage businesses in and around Biosphere Reserves who are delivering social and environmental benefits, and provide them an opportunity to connect with other like-minded businesses (locally & beyond) to share information and provide access to new markets and investment opportunities.

OASIIS presents socio-economic data, gathered from businesses in and around BRs working in harmony with the BRs aims and objectives, in simple, easy-to-understand graphics, the value that businesses (including social enterprises) bring to the local economies through sustainable development can be more clearly demonstrated.

Man and the Biopshere - OASIIS Platform launch 2016 from Assist Social Capital CIC on Vimeo.

A very special thanks to the SLG team, our software experts mentors, Lex Holt from Skyscanner, Sarah Rauchas from University of London and George Christelis from SimpleHelp Ltd, for their support over the last year with the OASIIS software platform. Support that has been and is invaluable in a field that till recently was unknown to us.

4th World Conference on Biosphere Reserves

Today the 4th World Conference for Biosphere Reserves on ‘A new vision for the Decade 2016-2025 – UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Sustainable Development’ starts in Lima, Peru.

At this four day event Colin Campbell, the executive director of Assist Social Capital (ASC), will be hosting the official workshop on ‘Economics in and around Biosphere Reserves’. Colin’s involvement in the workshop came as direct outcome of the work ASC is doing on the role and opportunities of Social Enterprise in Biosphere Reserves towards sustainable economic development – specifically from the international conference hosted in October last year 2015. Previously, ASC also has developed a Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Development Framework.

We will also be launching our new online platform OASIIS during the workshop on Wednesday on ‘Opening Access for Sustainable Independent Income Streams’. (Look out for more information on the day)

About the WCBR

At the conference UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and representatives from all over the world who work directly in and with Biosphere Reserves including from the biosphere reserves, government, community members and other related organisations/ institutions will address

  • A post-2015 Development Agenda for Biosphere Reserves
  • Issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Discuss progress & challenges related to Biosphere Reserves issues
  • Develop a new Vision for the future

The congress will also discuss topics around sustainable economic development, the economic viability of nature conservation systems as well as the protection and sustainable use of natural resources amongst others.

2016 - Napier Alumni Blog on Colin Campbell and Sustainable Development

Read the full blog here >>

Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland – Featured BR: Lake Vänern

Lake Vänern Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, Sweden

As part of our Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland at the end of the month, we are featuring some of the attendees biosphere reserves who are already working with this approach. As mentioned in our first article, the event is hosted by Assist Social Capital and co-facilitated by Colin Campbell (Assist Social Capital) and Johanna MacTaggart who is the coordinator of MAB Sweden and the Lake Vänern Archipelago Biosphere Reserve.

Lake Vanern BR -Sweden- LogoAbout the Biosphere Reserve

The Archipelago and Mount Kinekulle became an UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve in 2010. It is covers part of the Lake Vänern drainage basin and involves three local municipalities encompassing an area of ca. 278.600 hectare with about 75.000 inhabitants. The Biosphere Reserve itself is run as a non-profit organisation.

(get more info on the BR here)

A socio-environmentally responsive business model

As one of the largest inland lakes and fresh water reserves within Europe, Lake Vänern also has one of the largest fishing fleets. The sustainability of this ecosystem is crucial for the region to ensure clean water, a healthy fish population and food quality. This aspect of sustainable livelihoods alongside maintaining biodiversity provides a common ground for collaboration from  industries as differing as Ecotourism and Fisheries. Along the same line Social entrepreneurship provides the local economy with a business model directly deriving from social as well as environmental challenges. This provides an innovative and entrepreneurial approach responsive to socio-environmental as well as socio-economic needs in the region.

Additionally, stakeholder collaboration has been encouraged in the region to ensure that local decision-makers, businesses and civil society can overcome issues through taking joint responsibility on developing, ensuring and maintaining the Lake Vänern Biosphere.

 

Social Media Icons - Commons PictureYou can also contribute to and/or follow our conversations on the event and the related issues on Facebook and Twitter @AssistSocCap under #SEBRScotland #Biosphere Reserves #WCBRLima #Social Enterprise

 

Our Development Framework

Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserves Event in Scotland II

Towards a World MAB Social Enterprise Strategy (2016-2025)

SCOTLAND, as announced a few weeks ago Assist Social Capital will be hosting a conference on social enterprise and biosphere reserves at the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve. The meeting is aimed at bringing national as well as international participants from biosphere reserves together to contribute to the MAB Action Plan 2016-2015 which will be launched in Lima next year.

UNESCO 4th WCBR LimaA new Action Plan for the WNBR

The aim of the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves is to create a post-2015 agenda for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Therefore, the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves (2008-2013) as well as the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework (1995) will be reviewed to identify and discuss progress made, lessons learnt and old as well as new challenges for the WNBR. The expected outcome of the congress is to create the Lima Declaration and the Lima Action Plan for 2016-2025 which will outline the role of biosphere reserves for sustainable development over the next decade.

Including Social Enterprise in the new Action Plan

As sustainable development aims at achieving a balance between social, economic as well as environmental factors, social enterprise provide a valuable solution as they are value-based businesses which reinvest their profits in social and environmental benefits to their local as well as wider communities. Therefore, we already have developed the Social Enterprise & Biosphere Reserves Development Framework as part of our work with a EuroMAB working group aiming at introducing the concept of social enterprise into biosphere reserves. Together with our partners in Europe but also further abroad in Canada and Asia, we have worked on bringing this idea into the WNBRs.

Social Media Icons - Commons PictureYou can also contribute to and/or follow our conversations on the event and the related issues on Facebook and Twitter @AssistSocCap under #SEBRScotland #Biosphere Reserves #WCBRLima #Social Enterprise

 

Our Development Framework

Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland

Network Meeting on Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserves

23/09/2015

Assist Social Capital - Man and the Biosphere Event - ASCSCOTLAND, from the 28th – 30th October Assist Social Capital CIC (ASC) will facilitate this event to bring together various national and international stakeholders from biosphere reserves to discuss the topic of social enterprise and biosphere reserves. The meeting is aimed at supporting a new vision for Biosphere Reserves for inclusive Sustainable Development for the upcoming 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru, 14th – 17th March 2016.

The event will be co-hosted by Colin Campbell (ASC, Scotland) and Johanna MacTaggart (Swedish National BR Coordinator) at the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve with representatives from Scotland, England, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Vietnam and South Korea attending. Among the topics discussed will be on how to create an open and collective response to introducing social enterprises in biosphere reserves to support sustainable economic and social development.

Another main aim is to establish and further develop north-south bridges between the different biosphere reserves and to create a thematic network on social enterprise in the biosphere reserve context where participants can exchange knowledge and learn from each other’s experiences on active involvement of local businesses and communities in the biosphere reserve.

To further explore some of the topics and aspects relevant to the meeting, we will publish a short news article every week until the event in October.

 

Social Media Icons - Commons PictureYou can also follow our conversation about the event and on related topics on Facebook and Twitter @AssistSocCap   under  #SEBRScotland #BiosphereReserves #WCBRLima  #SocialEnterprise   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Biosphere Reserves

Our Development Framework

SEBR Framework Document - Cover Page

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