Frequently asked questions

  1. What is conservation entrepreneurship?
  2. Why do we need more entrepreneurship in conservation?
  3. Shouldn’t I just go work for a traditional conservation organisation instead?
  4. Is conservation entrepreneurship something for me?
  5. Is conservation entrepreneurship a panacea?
  6. How can I fund my project?
  7. Are there examples I can follow?
  8. How can I help Startup for Nature?
  9. I started my own conservation venture, now what?
  10. I don’t like the profile of my startup
  11. Is Startup for Nature under copyright protection?
  12. The question I want to ask is not listed here

What is conservation entrepreneurship?

Conservation entrepreneurship is conserving nature more effectively by using innovative approaches and novel tools to overcome resource limitations.

You can read more about conservation entrepreneurship in this article in the scientific journal Conservation Biology or this poster for the 2015 International Congress for Conservation Biology.

Why do we need more entrepreneurship in conservation?

Species are currently going extinct 100 to 1000 faster than natural rates. Although dedicated and hard-working conservationists are tirelessly trying to reverse this decline, evidence suggest that their efforts are currently not enough.

Conventional conservation works, just not fast enough.

Many modern conservation problems are amenable to entrepreneurial solutions, so there is an opportunity to increase conservation efficacy using self-started initiatives. For example, the evaluation, synthesis, and summary of past conservation interventions does not need large organisational structure to be effective.

Since they are generally smaller, conservation startups can realign strategies much faster than traditional conservation organisations. This allows them implement innovative, yet untested, solutions since they are more risk tolerant.

Shouldn’t I just go work for a traditional conservation organisation instead?

Traditional conservation organisations can be great places to work.

They are, however, facing severe financial pressure, which means that they cannot afford to hire many full-time conservation scientists. This forces them to hire specialists on part-time contracts instead.

Moreover, traditional conservation organisations rely on an army of unpaid or poorly paid interns and volunteers. Sometimes these internships lead to full-time employment, but this is not guaranteed.

Is conservation entrepreneurship something for me?

You’ll never really know unless you try for yourself.

In the mean time, try this short quiz. It’s not foolproof, but it might help you get started. If you answer YES to 17 or more of these questions, then you be well-suited for conservation entrepreneurship (Source: Daniel Isenberg):

  • I don’t like being told what to do by people who are less capable than I am.
  • I like challenging myself.
  • I like to win.
  • I like being my own boss.
  • I always look for new and better ways to do things.
  • I like to question conventional wisdom.
  • I like to get people together in order to get things done.
  • People get excited by my ideas.
  • I am rarely satisfied or complacent.
  • I can’t sit still.
  • I can usually work my way out of a difficult situation.
  • I would rather fail at my own thing than succeed at someone else’s.
  • Whenever there is a problem, I am ready to jump right in.
  • I think old dogs can learn — even invent — new tricks.
  • Members of my family run their own businesses.
  • I have friends who run their own businesses.
  • I worked after school and during vacations when I was growing up.
  • I get an adrenaline rush from selling things.
  • I am exhilarated by achieving results.
  • I could have written a better test than this.

Is conservation entrepreneurship a panacea?

No, of course not!

The world will not magically improve once everyone creates their own conservation startup. We firmly believe that self-started conservation entrepreneurship should aim to complement traditional conservation organisations, not to replace them.

Some conservation projects, such as designing protected area networks, should still be tackled by traditional conservation organisations. Centralisation and coordination minimise needless duplication of efforts, increases cost-effectiveness due to economies of scale and reduces destructive competition between independent organisations.

We believe that because traditional conservation agencies are most effective at solving these types of problems, they should focus almost exclusively on them.

This means that conservation startups should focus on problems currently ignored by traditional organisations due to resource constraints.

How can I fund my project?

Like commercial entrepreneurship, most conservation startups will be self-funded. However, the number of new and exciting funding tools is increasing.

One such tool is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding uses online platforms like Indiegogo or Kickstarter to make donor-driven fundraising more accessible to small startups.

There are also opportunities to attract funds from social investment platforms such as Ashoka or UnLtd.

Alternatively, you can try and approach funding organisations that are specifically designed for conservation entrepreneurs. The Wildlife Conservation Network, for example, acts as a conservation venture capital fund by targeting conservation entrepreneurs.

Another example is Discover Conservation, a social enterprise launched to help those interested in starting their own conservation projects.

These are just a handful of potential funding sources and we have little doubt that new opportunities are on the way. Unlike traditional conservation organisations, your startup is not limited to being a non-profit entity, which means you can potentially generate profits and attract private investors.

Are there examples I can follow?

Yes! Once you start looking, you’ll find that there are fantastic examples of self-started conservation ventures all around you.

We’ve tried to summarise some of the best case studies on Startup for Nature

How can I help Startup for Nature?

You can help us by letting all your friends know about us. Please use the social media buttons to your left to spread the word about Startup for Nature

I started my own conservation venture, now what?

Congratulations!

If you would like us to profile your venture on Startup for Nature, please send us a brief email describing what you’ve been up to. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

I don’t like the profile of my startup

That’s not exactly a question, but we’re sorry to hear this nonetheless. Our mission is to showcase the most innovative and inspiring conservation startups, not to alienate any conservation pioneers.

If you have a minor issue with the way we portray your startup, feel free to correct us by leaving a comment at the end of your profile.

If the issue is a bit more serious, please contact us as soon as possible and we’ll fix the problem immediately.

In the case that you are still completely furious, don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can remove your profile completely.

No, the contents on Startup for Nature are not protected under copyright. However, the names, slogans and logos of the self-started conservation ventures profiled on this site might be. If you want to use information from any of the ventures profiled on Startup for Nature, we recommend that you contact the owners directly.

Startup for Nature uses the names, slogans and logos of profiled conservation ventures under Nominative Fair Use of trademarks, which permits the use of another’s trademark to refer to the trademark owner’s actual goods and services associated with the mark.

This does not imply that Startup for Nature is affiliated with these ventures in any way.

If you are the owner of a trademark, and believe that Startup for Nature has used your tradmark in an unfair manner, please contact us so that we can fix it immediately.

The question I want to ask is not listed here

Sorry about that. Feel free to ask your question in an email to us and we’ll try to answer it for you as soon as we can.