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Source: New South Wales Environment and Heritage

Now in its second year, the program was co-designed by the NSW Government’s Saving our Species (SoS) program, Odonata, a not-for-profit entity supporting biodiversity impact solutions, and the NAB Foundation, to encourage new business ideas aimed at supporting Australia’s biodiversity. 

This year’s finalists include:

  • Majell Backhausen, Simon Harris and Hilary McAllister: For Wild Places
  • Georgi and Bruce Ivers: Trees for Australia
  • David Flood and Kate Torgernsen: Beyond the Fairway – Golf Embracing Nature
  • Mark Gardener: Farm Level Environmental Profit and Loss Reporting
  • Aimee Bowman and Holly Newman: Planet Warrior Education
  • Camille Goldstone-Henry: Xylo Systems, a collaborative conservation reporting tool.

SoS Principal Manager of Partnerships, Tania Reid, said there was a 300 per cent increase in entries into the Wild Idea Incubator this year.

“Not even a global pandemic could stop these entrepreneurs from developing big ideas to make their mark in the biodiversity and conservation movement at a time where environmental solutions have never mattered more,” she said. “This has been a six-month journey to grow unique business ventures, and all participants have benefited from mentoring and networking opportunities. 

“From environmental education programs, to monitoring threatened species using drone data, we saw a huge variety of business ideas that all have the potential to make a profound and lasting positive impact on Australia’s natural environment.

“The 2019 Wild Idea finalists are already making a difference in conservation and realising their business goals. David Brook’s Wildbnb is now a major provider of habitat boxes in the Northern Rivers; Jessie Panazzaolo’s Lonely Conservationists is now an international network; and Edgar Greste and Susannah Kable’s are producing the SoS Business of Biodiversity podcast through their Grow Love Project.

“We can’t wait to see where this year’s finalists are in 12 months’ time – we are really excited to watch their journeys unfold.”

The six Wild Idea 2020 finalists were selected by a panel of prominent contributors in the conservation space and are now participating in an intensive four-month coaching program to finesse their business concepts and strategies. 

NAB Associate Director of Natural Value, James Bentley said: “events of 2020 have put the spotlight on the macroeconomic risks of escalating biodiversity loss. However, whilst the costs are stark, ultimately, we need an army of eco-entrepreneurs to unleash practical solutions. We are delighted with the finalists and hope they inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

The finalists will do a final pitch of their finished project and announce launch details in February.

Odonata Chief Executive Officer, Sam Marwood, said: “If you have a business idea that can help nature we encourage you to pursue it and sign up for the 2021 program.”

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