Continuing the Future
Rangers Life Cycle

Ecosystem Entrepreneurs

Robert Ludke, Advisor to the GCC Board, recently published Transformative Markets, a book about how we can – and must – harness the power of markets to transform how we innovate, make, market, and use goods and services every day in our lives so they are sustainable and add value to society rather than deplete our precious human, natural, and social capital.

Scaling a Small Idea into a Game-Changer

An idea that stayed with Bob throughout writing the book is the one discussed in Chapter 8 – the “polycentric approach” to scaling change. The premise is that the best way to scale an innovative solution into something transformative is to create a network of individuals and organizations working in partnership. As the idea becomes reality and achieves success it will grow into something bigger thereby expanding its impact and outcomes.

That is exactly what Ecosystem Entrepreneurs is all about.

Creating a Life-Cycle
of Sustainable Development

Ecosystem Entrepreneurs:
The Approach

The Ecosystem Entrepreneur curriculum will be taught as part of the GCC Future Rangers program and target a diverse group of students in 10th – 12th grades. Students who have a genuine interest in entrepreneurship and are passionate about wildlife conservation will be invited to participate in the curriculum. Ecosystem Entrepreneurs will be educated on how to build and operate a business that adds value to society, restores ecosystem health, and generates a profit.

The focus of the program will be in high schools near Kruger National Park – a series of ecosystems that must be protected for future generations while giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to increase the region’s social and economic development.

The Ecosystem Entrepreneur curriculum will consist of four modules:

1. Overview

A 2-week session that will give local mentors and students an overview of the EE curriculum and what to expect as an entrepreneur in the “real world” through 4 sections.

Desired outcomes:

  • Participants at all levels of the program (students, mentors, educators, GCC team) gain a working familiarity with each other and understand their roles and expectations in the Ecosystem Entrepreneur curriculum
  • Participants gain a shared knowledge of the vision and approach of the Ecosystem Entrepreneur curriculum
  • Local Mentors have the knowledge and resources needed to be the day-to-day guide of the students in the program

2. Business Plan – Draft 1

Students will be given instruction to create a first draft of a business plan they want to turn into an actual business

Desired outcomes:

  • Students establish a working relationship with the Program and Local Mentors while developing the first draft of a business plan
  • Students gain a basic understand of creating and running a business through the development of their business plans

3. Internship

Students will participate in a paid internship in which they will:

  • Work 40 hours over the course of the module
  • Complete a 5-7 page paper in which they will detail their learnings and note things they would improve upon in their business, and outline what they believe makes for a successful business


  • Students gain a first-hand knowledge of how to operate and maintain a business

4. Final Business Plan

Based on their Internship, students will refine and complete a business plan and present it to a group of judges and their peers

  • This plan will serve as a basis for a business that they can launch either immediately or in the future


  • The students achieve the development of a tangible business plan that can be scaled into the development of a business
  • The students learn valuable presentation and public speaking skills
  • The students are able to become mentors to future entrepreneurs and participants in future Ecosystem Entrepreneur programs

What You Can Do to Help:
Going Forward

Through the on-the-ground collaboration between Matt Lindenberg and local educators, GCC has identified a pilot school for Ecosystem Entrepreneurs near Kruger National Park. The goal is to launch the first module of the program in early 2021.

As a commitment to scaling the vision and goals of the program, GCC is making all GCC materials developed as part of Ecosystem Entrepreneurs available to the public in the hopes that entrepreneurs, educators, students, and community leaders around the world can apply the learnings to create similar programs.

If you are an entrepreneur and has a passion for balancing building a thriving business with promoting the health of ecosystems, please reach out to us. Along with looking for mentors to the students, we will welcome your thoughts and insights in creating a curriculum that will provide lasting value for the lives of students in South Africa and around the world.

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