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Green community entrepreneurship 2.0: Collective response or individual adaptation strategy to funding cuts in Canada (2006-2012)

Travis Gliedt (Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)
Paul Parker (Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 8 July 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate a second round of intensive green community entrepreneurship, a form of social entrepreneurship, by a set of environmental service organizations (ESOs) facing the loss of their largest revenue source (the ecoENERGY program), to see if it differed from responses to a similar funding cut five years earlier. In particular, the study compared green community entrepreneurship rates and types to those of the previous program (EnerGuide for Houses) cancellation and examined the perceived importance of various factors, including a social entrepreneurship training program offered by the national association.


Interviews were held with executive directors who had led their organization through both periods of financial crisis. Information was collected on changes in revenue, staffing, residential energy evaluations conducted, service creation, and the perceived importance of organizational factors. The adaptation strategy undertaken by each ESO was classified as resilience, transition, or transformation focussed.


First, green community entrepreneurship is accelerated when needs are heightened, such as when ESOs face funding cuts. Second, only some of the new services or activities launched were financially successful and remained viable over a five-year period. Third, green community entrepreneurship is an important initiative for ESOs to implement their adaptation strategy (resilient, transition, or transformation strategy). Fourth, a higher perceived difficulty of adaptation to funding cuts is associated with the launch of more new services by the ESO.


The original contributions of the paper include the verification of repeated increases to the rate of entrepreneurship undertaken in response to sudden funding cuts, as compared to the rate of entrepreneurship during a stable funding period. This accelerated creation of new services can be directed to achieve various adaptation strategies from creating new services in the established area of energy expertise, to initiatives in new areas of sustainability services, such as water, food, or finance. The importance of collective innovation is highlighted with the use of both local and national networks.



The authors thank the executive directors of the member organizations of Green Communities Canada who contributed their time and expertise when participating in the research interviews. Their enthusiasm to share information and insights at a time of great stress and demands on their organizations provides another example of their willingness to contribute to the collective good. The University of Waterloo provided financial support for the research. Any errors or omissions remain the responsibility of the authors.


Gliedt, T. and Parker, P. (2014), "Green community entrepreneurship 2.0: Collective response or individual adaptation strategy to funding cuts in Canada (2006-2012)", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 41 No. 7, pp. 609-625.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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