Plant Paradise is a social enterprise which provides an online platform to connect volunteers with planting projects in need of help. The founder, William Cutting, is on a mission to re-establish lost ecosystems across Scotland by creating a service that will bring all planting and greening organisations together.
We spoke to William about the inspiration behind the social enterprise, plans for the future of Plant Paradise, and advice for other social entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to set up Plant Paradise?
Looking around the world today and seeing the devastation caused by humanity can be heart-breaking at times. We now know that changing the course of our climate trajectory and re-establishing what has been lost is entirely possible and can be done within our lifetimes. But to do this, we need to harness an often overlooked tool: plants.
There are so many charities and organisations that harness plants for the power of good and are already doing incredible work: hosting tree planting events and greening workshops. But finding out where we can help, and volunteer is not always easy. It was this issue that we are seeking to address and is what inspired us to build Plant Paradise, a platform that can easily connect millions of eager volunteers with the thousands of planting projects that are in need of help.
How will the Social Innovation Competition Award help your social enterprise?
The Social Innovation Competition Award will help fund the resources we need, such as web posting services, to test and launch Plant Paradise in the coming year.
The process has been very exciting, and receiving the Social Innovation Competition Award has really turbocharged progress.
What are your plans for the future of your social enterprise?
The previous year has been challenging for everyone, and obviously tree-planting events and other activities that we want to support using Plant Paradise have had to pause. However, we have been able to focus on building the platform, with a view to start serious user testing at the end of April 2021. We are very excited to keep growing and recruiting new people to help with the project.
We would like to start in Scotland, which holds great potential when it comes to tree planting, and where there are strong communities which we can support. We think that by providing a useful and time-saving service, we can try and get organisations on board across Scotland, where there is a strong network between different organisations.
After that, we would like to expand across the UK and start to build the culture around the platform, encouraging users to see the benefit of engaging in weekly/monthly activities that help our local environments and ecosystems.
Do you have any top tips for other social entrepreneurs?
Try and have as many conversations as possible about your idea with people from various backgrounds, i.e. experts in your field, lawyers, activists, workers on the ground, people with a financial background and of course potential users. These conversations will help shape your idea into something feasible.
Don’t let naysayers slow you down. They will always say it’s impossible, too hard or not worth it. If you feel you’re doing something right, then do it.