Seidl, I., O. Schelske, J. Joshi & M. Jenny (2003)

Entrepreneurship in biodiversity conservation and regional development.

Further information

Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 15: 333–350



This paper discusses the protection of biodiversity by means of market-based activities in the food sector and the preconditions and context that provide fertile ground. The variables investigated are the regional production factors involved, the entrepreneurship demonstrated, the kind of niche market developed, and the various kinds of support provided. A case study of a Swiss market activity designed to restore and protect biodiversity is presented; it concerns the cultivation of a traditionally grown wheat species combined with measures to protect wildlife and flora. The wheat is processed into a variety of products, which are sold within the region. The organisation of the activity, its economic development and its ecological implications are presented. The discussion reveals the particularities of such endeavours that are of relevance to the economics of regional development (e.g. limited product and market development, reliance on subsidies, need for broad coalitions) and factors of success (e.g. networking, involvement of research, political support). Conclusions with regard to policy are as follows: (i) support in the very early stages is needed (e.g. start-up capital, capacity building, partner-like support from administration); (ii) biodiversity-sound agricultural activities rely on subsidies; (iii) a propitious framework for such market activities is to be conserved.
Keywords: biodiversity conservation, genetic resources, habitat restoration, low-input farming, niche market, regional economic development