Ayrshire social enterprise programme What if…Girvan is to become the first social investor on a global digital platform, OASIIS, 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.
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 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 the digital platform 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.
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.”
Campbell continues that: “The OASIIS platform currently hosts 16 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, just 2% of the WNBRs, 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 and offers an example to the WNBRs the potential within social investment for sustainable development.”