First Social Investor on 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 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 and contact Tabi at or on 0750 4524 792, for opportunities to connect with other businesses, create new partnerships, enter new markets and learn from other social entrepreneurs.

Launch of the first OASIIS Biennial Report 2018

Shining a light in the Anthropocene

The value of social entrepreneurship toward sustainable development in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves


Two years from its launch, previously unavailable data from the OASIIS platform has been collated into the first OASIIS Biennial Report, demonstrating the opportunities that exists for business to benefit from the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve world network, while enabling innovation in response to climate change, social welfare and access to investment towards the UN SDGs.

The intention of this initiative is twofold; to identify and benchmark the impact of enterprises that incorporate social and environmental benefits and to attract investment to them.





ASC is a social enterprise delivering a collective asset for the social entrepreneur and Biosphere Reserve community, we invite you to become an active supporter by donating here!

Your donation will fund the development of OASIIS, to bring the next generation of opportunity to local communities acting for sustainable development.

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UNESCO Biosphere Reserves & the Sustainable Development Goals

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and the Sustainable Development Goals

August - October 2017

191 Answers, 3 Recommendations


Download the full report here: UNESCO Biosphere Reserves & the Sustainable Development Goals

Report conclusion

Our aims were to provide a platform for citizen participation in developing UNESCO Biosphere Reserves as global models towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In order to help create resilient and sustainable communities, to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and to disseminate the gathered lessons from throughout the Biosphere Reserve global network.

This Community Insights Report has been made possible by the digital participation of 191 people from over 40 different countries. The project has reached over 50,000 people indirectly, via social media. It is therefore a truly collaborative effort and the results will be disseminated throughout our networks. We request that you also forward this Community Insights Report to raise awareness of the SDGs, the potential of SDG centric businesses and to inform decision making within UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

We are committed to the three resulting Recommendations:


UNESCO Biosphere Reserves as an enabling and inspiring space for businesses which align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. BRs acting as facilitators rather than implementers of sustainable development, catalysing and leveraging opportunities for sustainable businesses.

Linked to 140 participants


Harness the potential of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation and the skills and experience of citizens to facilitate, accelerate and incubate opportunities for local and global residents.

Linked to 133 participants


Promote and raise the profile of citizens economic activities and initiatives under UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation both locally and globally. In order to spread knowledge, access new markets, be immediately identifiable and connect with economic benefit whilst aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Linked to 138 participants

We hope that this Community Insights Report will increase opportunity for local citizens to benefit from UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation and to unlock the potential it holds for economic development.

Download the full report here: UNESCO Biosphere Reserves & the Sustainable Development Goals

with financial support from the EU

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