Green Community Business

Growing nature enterprises in Plymouth

The opportunity

From 2019 – 2022, Real Ideas was fortunate to be a partner in two nature-based programmes in Plymouth – the Future Parks Accelerator and Green Minds. These programmes developed new approaches to urban nature stewardship, to maintain and enhance them for the people of Plymouth. Our role was to harness and build on the social enterprise culture in the city, to nurture the next wave of green entrepreneurs, creating new ventures, changing behaviours, and influencing systems to help more emerge.

Our approaches

  • Delivery of social innovation programme called Enrich, to bring community, enterprise, and civic leaders together, to collectively develop solutions to local challenges around parks and green space. Part people’s assembly, part business incubator, Enrich involved 50 people, over 9 months, collaborating to design solutions to then act upon.
  • To accelerate ventures, we offered 3 years extended support for community organisations and social entrepreneurs, to nurture enterprising ideas and move them closer to reality, together with a dedicated fund courtesy of Green Minds.
  • To involve people, change how they see nature and themselves, we produced a set of immersive technology experiences, co-created with local people over two-year period, showcased at the magical Market Hall. More diverse audiences and interest groups were served by a programme of talks, webinars, and blogs, to hear from inspiring voices, nature leaders, and change makers.
  • Towards the end of the programme our Pioneering Community Businesses in Parks initiative helped boost action around enterprising, community led activity in parks, with a focus on sustainable models and long-term impacts.


  • 10 community businesses supported, some micro, and some larger scale
  • 7 new enterprise projects started
  • 5 pipeline community enterprises or projects ready to kick off within six month  
  • All enterprises are growing the local economy, trading with one another, and creating jobs
  • 5 new jobs created
  • 5 asset transfers to community ventures
  • Additional economic impact, with £322,000 additional funding secured
  • 200 active volunteers from some of the most deprived neighbourhoods
  • 500 people engaged through free events and activities
  • 10 businesses are introducing natural improvements, increasing biodiversity, tree coverage, flood elevation, and reducing environmental impact