WCS Global Initiatives

Selection Process

The Conservation Enterprise Development Program offers feasibility study and business planning support, technical assistance, seed grants and support in obtaining patient capital loans to conservation-friendly enterprises.

Questions? Please contact CEDP at cedp@wcs.org.

Enterprise Eligibility

Applicants must meet the the following minimum requirements: 

  • Enterprise has a goal of generating biodiversity benefits
  • Enterprise generates (or has the potential to generate) community-wide benefits
  • Enterprise demonstrates ability to be financially self-sustaining within at least five to ten years

Application and Award Process

1.  Applicants submit Expression of Interest to CEDP.
2. CEDP staff reply to all Expressions of Interest submissions and provide relevant application form based on enterprise development stage to each eligible enterprise and enterprise concept applicant.
3.  Eligible applicants submit application to the CEDP Review Committee for consideration.  
4. CEDP Review Committee shares submissions with the CEDP Advisory Committee and receives their feedback. 
5. CEDP Review Committee awards funding and/or technical assistance support to most promising enterprises and concepts based on their expected needs and the available funding and in-kind support. 
Please note that awardees receiving support in accessing external loans will then need to meet lender criteria before receiving financing.
6.  CEDP staff, WCS field staff and CEDP recipient(s) sign agreement for grant/in-kind support and monitoring award.

Evaluation Criteria

CEDP evaluates potential investments based on the following criteria, divided into five broad categories:

Environmental and social impact

  • Explicit mission to support conservation
  • Fit with WCS conservation strategy
  • Mechanisms to ensure conservation outcomes
  • Past/current impact on biodiversity and other conservation outcomes (especially, impact on WCS priority species)
  • Past/current impact on community development
  • Potential for scaling/future impact
  • Sophistication of monitoring and evaluation

Business model

  • Value proposition of the product or service offered to consumers
  • Points of differentiation relative to competition
  • Partnerships/certifications
  • Engagement with local community
  • Potential for achieving meaningful scale
  • Degree of tension between financial goals and environmental/social goals 
  • Strength of management team

Market dynamics

  • Market size
  • Industry attractiveness (i.e., supplier power, buyer power, barriers to entry, competition, and substitutes)
  • Degree of economic and political risk

Financial performance

  • Current and projected revenue, profitability, and cash flow
  • Sophistication of record-keeping
  • Realism of assumptions

Proposed investment

  • Proposed use of loan (if applicable)
  • Expected impact on environmental/social outcomes
  • Expected impact on financial performance
  • Ability to put additional capital to work
  • Ability to repay loan (if applicable)
  • Alternative financing options

Application Forms

Deadline: March 20, 2015
Prerequisite: Approved EOI
Deadline: April 6, 2015
Prerequisite: Approved EO
Deadline: April 6, 2015
Prerequisite: Approved EOI
Deadline: April 6, 2015

Who is CEDP?


Meet our core management team.

CEDP Review Committee

The CEDP Review Committee is composed of core CEDP staff as well as other WCS livelihoods and financial management experts with experience working with enterprises in developing countries.

CEDP Advisory Committee

The CEDP Advisory Committee consists of a cross section of WCS’s leadership, corporate partners, CEDP philanthropic supporters, and partner impact investing funds. The Advisory Committee will provide input into the selection process as well as serve as a resource for ongoing support to awarded enterprises.