Why we focus on "Conservation Entrepreneurs" WCN supports conservationists who demonstrate the spirit of entrepreneurship in launching innovative projects to protect endangered species. These "conservation entrepreneurs" are successful because they:
Dare to try new strategies
Like their counterparts in business, successful conservation entrepreneurs are creative, action-oriented and dare to try different strategies. Their passion and commitment to wildlife preservation compels them to undertake conservation projects in areas the mainstream considers too risky, too arduous, or too formidable.
Create new ways to save endangered wildlife
As they seek ways to work under difficult circumstances, they develop new approaches that advance our knowledge and expand the repertoire of tools we have for saving endangered species.
Empower local stakeholders
Conservation entrepreneurs typically work under extreme conditions in remote areas where they depend on local communities. By working with locals to understand their needs and balance them with the needs of endangered wildlife, WCN entrepreneurs create and implement holistic conservation plans that benefit both people and wildlife, and have the support and commitment of these communities.
Maximize the value of every dollar invested in conservation
Hard-working, dedicated entrepreneurs know how to work on a shoestring. In addition, the costs of working in-country are low, and when the conservationists train local people to play important roles in conservation education and wildlife management, they make a valuable contribution to the local economy while ensuring that the conservation ethic becomes part of the community.
How we collaborate with local communities Conservation entrepreneurs showcase powerful models of resolving human-wildlife conflict, but the long-term success of these solutions requires the full-fledged commitment and leadership of local people. WCN's conservationists actively engage local people as effective stewards of their environment and work in a culturally-respectful manner to ensure that conservation skills and values will be passed on to future generations. WCN provides a network of resources to achieve this vision and invests in host nationals as the next generation of conservation entrepreneurs.
The impact we make WCN's services help a small project make a significant impact
WCN works to overcome the start-up challenges that individual conservation entrepreneurs face -- including incorporating as a nonprofit, writing grant proposals, creating marketing materials, raising funds and promoting the cause, maintaining a donor database, and fulfilling all the associated accounting and reporting requirements. This expert assistance allows the conservationist to concentrate their efforts on fieldwork, not deskwork.
We provide conservation entrepreneurs with:
WCN uses a fundraising model based on the relationships that have evolved among high-tech entrepreneurs, investors and venture capital (VC) firms. We act as a very efficient VC -- identifying high-potential conservation entrepreneurs and projects, ensuring due diligence is completed up-front, providing ongoing advisory services, and forging alliances between donor-"investors" and conservation entrepreneurs.
Shared Back-office Support Services
WCN specialist teams provide the conservation entrepreneur with an expert administrative and professional "back office." By sharing expertise and costs across these projects, WCN makes these services more cost effective for an independent entrepreneur. WCN services include writing grant proposals, supporting accounting and reporting needs, maintaining a donor database, creating marketing materials, building and maintaining a website, developing public relations programs, and implementing an information technology strategy.
In addition to administrative tasks, independent conservationists face a number of challenges in the field. These include obtaining national endorsement, operational logistics, developing integrated conservation plans, and developing and implementing research plans. Entrepreneurs in the WCN network have access to the best scientists and conservationists throughout the world to assist them in these tasks.
International Exposure at the Wildlife Conservation Expo
Every October, all WCN-supported conservationists from around the world come together for our largest event, the Wildlife Conservation Expo. The Expo gives them the opportunity to share their work and build public awareness of the great challenges their species face. Supporters are able to meet these conservation heroes in person and experience firsthand the depth of dedication and energy they bring to their work. The Expo also provides conservationists with an invaluable opportunity to learn and exchange ideas with each other, thus accelerating learning and development across the entrepreneur group.