A whole greater than the sum of its parts: enterprise ‘clustering’ in Portugal’s only private nature reserve.


Context: Reserva de Faia Brava is Portugal’s first privately owned nature reserve. Set in the Côa River Valley it supports an abundance of flora and fauna in a wild European landscape. Through REC, Conservation Capital is working with its owner, Associação Transumância e Natureza (ATN) to build a network of complementary local tourism enterprises that actively utilize, promote and support the reserve.
Our role:
Conservation Capital and REC have to date helped conceive and fund the development of three innovative tourism ventures in transactions totaling €100,000 and is working on a further two that would absorb a further €100,000. Two of these businesses have imported product themes from the more advanced and mature African safari market and are the first operations of their kind in Europe. All three current businesses are cross-marketing their product offerings to boost local and international recognition of Faia Brava as a destination – and hence their own commercial potential.  This is very much a ‘whole being greater than the sum of its parts’ dynamic.
Outcomes: This ‘clustering’ of multiple, synergetic enterprises around a specific conservation landscape is a repeated theme in Conservation Capital’s work, and is particularly important in the European context with less scope to build the larger conservation enterprises more commonly associated with the African context. Individually, they are small businesses but together they are generating meaningful consolidated revenues. Associated rewilding royalties are funding a land acquisition fund that will expand the reserve by between 2-5% per annum. In a generally depressed rural economy, they are also driving new job creation and local economic growth.