What is WH-LEEP?
Launched in September 2009, the World Heritage Local Entrepreneurship Program (WH-LEEP) is designed to support community-based entrepreneurs operating around World Heritage sites. Read more below about the WH-LEEP partnership.
Many of these small enterprises struggle to survive because of a lack of affordable credit with favorable payment conditions or reasonable credit obligations. WH-LEEP provides funds - grants and loans - and support services to help entrepreneurs meet this challenge.
Eligible enterprises must provide direct benefits to people and biodiversity conservation. Examples of activities supported include agroforestry, ecotourism and wild-harvest products.
As of June 2011
Significant progress has been made during the implementation of the program in its first and second years. Business Development support has concluded in phase 1 countries (Mexico, Kenya, and Tanzania). In Phase I a total of 21 projects applied, of which 12 have were formally approved and serviced, and three approved for Verde Ventures loans. Project implementation has commenced in the phase 2 countries (Belize, Madagascar, Dominica).
Awardees include coffee cooperatives, honey harvesting cooperatives, tourism entrepreneurs, a charcoal substitution company, fishing cooperative, seaweed harvesting cooperative, a water management company and the provision of solar lighting / water purification equipment through a community cooperative. Each of these opportunities have been selected to further test and implement our green economies approach, while ensuring long term food and water securities as well as habitat conservation.
For more information on these enterprises please click here.
The progam supports growing enterprises in two ways: enterprise development support grants and affordable loans.
Businesses can apply for a grant, a loan or both.
Enterprise Development Support Grants
- Up to $10,000
- To be used to implement an enterprise development plan with the help of a WH-LEEP specialist
- The enterprise development plan is designed to improve the sustainability of the enterprise and help it to secure additional capital. The process includes:
- Individual needs assessment conducted by Enterprise Development Support specialist
- Development plan to address the needs identified
- Support services for entrepreneurs to ensure the long-term financial viability of their business. These services often include:
Each package is tailored to the needs of each enterprise. The grant is provided as in-kind services, rather than as cash.
- marketing support
- accounting/finance training;
- management training; and
- guide training and certification.
The objective of the loan program is to build each enterprise's capacity to achieve the goals of its business plan by diversifying and professionalizing its resource base beyond grants.
Apply for a WH-LEEP loan or grant
- Up to $50,000
- Available after the development support plan has been developed and implemented
Regions and Timeframe
Phase I (July 2009 - October 2010):
- Kenya – Mount Kenya National Park
- Mexico – Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
- Tanzania – Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
Phase I submission deadlines:
- Kenya: Oct. 30, 2009
- Mexico: Sept. 30, 2009
- Tanzania: Oct. 30 2009
Phase II (October 2010 - October 2011):
- Belize - Belize Barrier Reef
- Dominica – Morne Trois Piton National Park
- Philippines – Puerto Princesa National Park
- Madagascar – Dry Forests of the South-West
Phase II submission deadlines:
- Belize – August 30 2010
- Dominica – August 30 2010
- Philippines – August 30 2010
- Madagascar – August 30 2010
Any community-based, income-generating enterprise that provides direct benefits to people and biodiversity conservation at one of the above World Heritage sites is encouraged to apply.
Background: The WH-LEEP PARTNERSHIP
WH-LEEP is an innovative partnership between Verde Ventures, Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., the United Nations Development Programme/Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme and the United Nations Foundation.
Many community enterprises struggle to remain viable because of their inability to access affordable credit with favorable payment conditions. The WH-LEEP program was developed to address this need by providing up to $10,000 in grants and $20,000-$50,000 in loans to community enterprises around certain World Heritage sites, through a risk guarantee mechanism financed by the UN Foundation.
The program is based on the model established by Verde Ventures and adapted for the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation
(COMPACT) enterprise portfolio.
COMPACT is an eight-year alliance between the UN Foundation and the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme. It works at a local level to improve the livelihoods of communities near World Heritage sites by promoting small and medium locally owned businesses.
The WH-LEEP program includes due diligence, monitoring and evaluation components and is expected to become self-sustaining through re-payments and enlargement of the partnership to bring in new investment resources.