Are you a European entrepreneur or NGO with a desire to enhance wild nature? Rewilding Europe Capital may be able to supply the support you need to help realise your ambition, including – for the first time – repayable grants.
Growing nature-based economies
At Rewilding Europe we recognise that rewilding can and should offer a wide range of economic benefits and are fully committed to scaling up their delivery. We want to show that the recovery of nature – particularly in areas suffering from economic stagnation, rural depopulation and land abandonment – can drive economic development, generating new business opportunities, jobs and income for local communities.
As a specialist financing division of Rewilding Europe, Rewilding Europe Capital has been providing commercial loans to businesses located in and around our rewilding landscapes since 2014. The overall goal has been to amplify rewilding impact, support the development of nature-based economies, and pilot new ways of doing new business that are good for nature and good for people. To date, Rewilding Europe Capital has disbursed loans with a cumulative value of around 2.4 million euros to more than 20 European partners, whose efforts continue to benefit people and nature.
Today, while Rewilding Europe Capital’s overall goal remains the same, the experienced enterprise team is aiming to expand into new landscapes and further explore new business models. Both commercial loans and repayable grants are now available, with an upper funding limit of 100,000 euros. For loans and grants to be approved, the recipient must deliver rewilding impact and have a repayment mechanism in place or under development.
“Prospective enterprises that have the envisaged impact are welcome to contact us at any time using the details at the end of this article,” says Daniel Veríssimo, manager of Rewilding Europe Capital. “Those that are approved for financial support also benefit from the expertise of the enterprise team – who can provide assistance in areas such as marketing and other aspects of business development – and may have access to Rewilding Europe’s other rewilding tools, such as the European Wildlife Comeback Fund.”
Diverse business sectors
The business sectors that Rewilding Europe Capital has supported in the past include:
Nature and wildlife tourism
Aim: to support the growth of nature and wildlife tourism companies and help to create new ones.
Wetland restoration and water management
Aim: to support businesses that are working to rewet degraded peatlands, restore wetlands, and improve the flow of rivers by removing obsolete barriers such as dams.
Biodiversity and CO2 offsetting
Aim: to unlock new sources of finance for nature recovery by facilitating the sale of carbon and biodiversity credits. In this regard, Rewilding Europe Capital is complemented by Rewilding Climate Solutions, which is working to connect landowners and land managers interested in or already engaged in rewilding with carbon buyers and impact investors.
Aim: to increase the amount of land being rewilded by supporting estate management models that support, reinvigorate and conserve wild nature and contribute to the socio-economic development of rural areas.
Wildlife breeding and management
Aim: to support wildlife breeding and management initiatives that generate positive rewilding and environmental impact – for example, by transforming traditional hunting concessions into wildlife reserves.
Aim: to support businesses that are working to transform intensively managed forests and monoculture plantations into more biodiverse, natural forests.
Aim: to support the restoration of marine ecosystems.
Cases in point
Examples of Rewilding Europe Capital loans disbursed recently include one to the WeWilder initiative in Romania in 2022. This supported construction of the “WeWilder Campus“, a collection of contemporary wooden buildings located in the Southern Carpathians rewilding landscape in Romania, where a burgeoning European bison population – the result of rewilding efforts by Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania – is proving an increasingly influential tourism drawcard. The green campus will help to drive nature-based tourism forward in the area and spark entrepreneurial innovation around rewilding, the recovery of local nature, and regenerative economics. The loan will also be partly used to co-finance a second joint venture between a local family and WeWilder Social Enterprise, an innovative approach to encouraging entrepreneurship in individuals who are not yet comfortable or familiar enough with nature-based business opportunities.
“The comeback of charismatic wildlife in the Southern Carpathians is creating the conditions to nurture an economic model that restores ecosystems by design,” says Oana Mondoc, WWF Romania’s Innovation and Community Development Manager and founder of WeWilder Social Enterprise. “The loan from Rewilding Europe Capital has given us a significant push at the right time and helped us to open the doors of our venture. The campus acts a trampoline for our local incubation programmes, as well as hosting learning experiences where guests from all over the world engage with rewilding.”
In 2023, Rewilding Europe Capital also provided a loan to La Maleza Wildlife Park in Rewilding Europe’s Iberian Highlands rewilding landscape in Spain. This has allowed the park to launch 4 x 4-based safaris which allow visitors to view Tauros and semi-wild horses up close.
“The finance provided by Rewilding Europe Capital was easy and quick to access and provided on highly competitive terms,” says Saúl Pérez, managing director of the park. “The safaris not only give us a valuable new revenue stream, but allow us to explain the role of natural grazing in rewilding, and the positive impact of rewilding interventions in the landscape.”
Partner with us
Rewilding Europe wants to collaborate with entrepreneurs, NGOs, corporations, investors, governments and municipalities as we take our enterprise work forward.
“We have money to invest,” says Daniel Veríssimo. “If you align with our criteria and way of thinking, let’s work together to scale up the benefits for your business, local communities, landscapes and wildlife.”