Social Entrepreneurship: Develop and articulate a vision for how restoration may promote economic development and create opportunities for the local community, perhaps drawing on case studies
Social entrepreneurs are innovators in the field of social business. Social businesses refers to taking profits and investing them back into business to carry out the mission of the company instead of to investors. These entrepreneurs not only find a need and fill it but also their solution lies at the planet, profits and people as the figure below depicts.
Restoration practitioners act as social entrepreneurs because their work addresses environmental degradation, strengthens community and promotes economic development. They are agents of change who are committed to positively impacting an ecosystem and residents who live in the surrounding area. Restoration work specifically restores socioeconomic value by creating economic opportunities for the local community as illustrated by the subtropical restoration project in South Africa. The objectives of this project were:
- to raise social capital
- to create a sustainable rural economy
- to restore the subtropical thicket
The main strategy was to plant a native plant, Spekboom which has many ecosystem services. It improves soil stability as well as increases soil water retention and flood attenuation. Outcomes included providing job training, decreasing temperatures, improving infiltration and retaining soil moisture. The goals and outcomes reflect how restoration can be social entrepreneurship because they fill the community’s need for the ecosystem services of Spekboom and need for job training since the communities are among the most impoverished in South Africa.