Business and enterprise models in community based forest enterprises in Britain
In a paper published in the journal Forest Policy and Economics, Forest Research social scientists, Bianca Ambrose-Oji, Anna Lawrence and Amy Stewart, examine diverse community-based and social enterprise business models by using a systematic framework to organise evidence from 33 case studies across Wales, Scotland and England.
Two groups emerged, with one identifying five different business models and the other, which dealt with community involvement in governance and benefit distribution, identifying four different enterprise types. Financial data were examined and the study showed that the balance of traded and grant income often used to distinguish between enterprise types in other sectors is not a satisfactory device in forestry contexts. Three main barriers to enterprise development were identified as start-up costs, woodland and business management skills, and bureaucracy. Evidence supporting the popular hypothesis that social and community enterprises produce more and diverse benefits from woods was elusive. Policy responses should recognise a broad spectrum of woodland enterprise types rather than social enterprise alone, focus on the potential of different business models, and enable communities to find innovative solutions to securing the capital, technical and legal advice they require.
Forest Policy and Economics (2014)
Bianca Ambrose-Oji, Anna Lawrence and Amy Stewart