Fostering social enterprise in woodlands: Challenges for partnerships supporting social innovation

Anna Lawrence, Jennifer L.g. Wong, Star Molteno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The woodland social enterprise (WSE) sector is growing and has a role to play in the forest-based bioeconomy. Social enterprise is also favoured by neoliberaleconomicpolicies,andtherangeofmotivationsandpossibleimpactsofWSEscallsforbetterunderstandingofhowandwhytosupportWSE.Thispaperexaminesapilot partnership project in the UK to gain insights for such support, and for social innovation more generally. It conceptualises the process of starting, growing ordiversifying WSE as social innovation, and advisory services as policy tools designed to support such innovation. Making Local Woods Work (MLWW) was a cross-sectoralpartnership designedto provideintegratedaccesstoWSEadviceneeds. Ourmethodsre-analyseevaluationdata toconcludethat policy-basedinterventioncanhelpWSEstodevelopandfunction,butnotinthiscasetoachieverealsocialinnovationi.e.radicalrearrangementofpower.Thestudyshowsthatitisdifficultfortop-downinterventionstofacilitatetheemergenceofamoreself-sustaininglegacysuchasapeer-to-peersupportnetwork.WSEsareinherentlydiverse:incomesourcesrangefromwoodlandproductstosocialservicesbasedinthetherapeuticforestenvironment;theyvalueprofit,socialandenvironmentalbenefitstovaryingdegrees.Asupportpartnershipthereforeneedstotakeaflexibleandclient-ledapproachtoidentificationofneeds.Incontributingtothebioeconomy,WSEhasmuchin common with the needs and potential of other small and medium businesses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102221
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Volume118
Early online date7 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

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