Project

Enterprise development in the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve

Goal: Biosphere reserves aim to stimulate sustainable development with a balance between environmental and human issues. Initially the project aimed to develop an in-depth understanding of historic and current enterprise development in the towns of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve; a task necessary to provide a basis for comparisons. A technical report has already been produced of current enterprise development and news snippets on the findings are included in the website of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve.

Date: 1 January 2014 - 31 December 2019

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Project log

Daan Francois Toerien
added an update
This project has been completed. A chapter entitled The Demographic-Socioeconomic-Entrepreneurial Nexus of Towns in a South African Biosphere Reserve has appeared in Advances in Environmental Research Volume 67 pp. 171-223. Edited by Justin A. Daniels, Nova Science Publishers, New York, 2018.
 
Daan Francois Toerien
added a project goal
Biosphere reserves aim to stimulate sustainable development with a balance between environmental and human issues. Initially the project aimed to develop an in-depth understanding of historic and current enterprise development in the towns of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve; a task necessary to provide a basis for comparisons. A technical report has already been produced of current enterprise development and news snippets on the findings are included in the website of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve.
 
Daan Francois Toerien
added a research item
This study has for the first time in South Africa provided a quantitative picture of enterprise development and dynamics in a biosphere, i.e. the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR). The distribution of town populations, total enterprises, the enterprise numbers in many business sectors and the distribution of enterprise types follow power laws. It is, possible that entrepreneurial spaces are subject to self-organization and this phenomenon plays a role in the size distribution of GCBR towns. Two broad entrepreneurial types were identified: ‘run-of-the-mill’ and ‘special’ entrepreneurs. They differ in their importance in the growth or decline of towns of different sizes and a strong predictive capability with regard to this phenomenon was developed. In the GCBR there are extraordinary regularities between economic, demographic and entrepreneurial characteristics, suggesting an underlying cyclic system in which money is the principal driver that determines population sizes and enterprise numbers and distributions. The ‘GCBR system’ will produce its inherent outcomes and ‘strategies of hope’ will not work. For particular outcomes, the system has to be redesigned to produce the desired outcomes. The key to sustainable economic development is to increase the inflow of money from sustainable external sources. Many business sectors are limited by the extent of their local markets but some bring money in from outside e.g. the tourism or processing sectors. They should be targeted for expansion. A quantitative picture of the formal enterprise structures and dynamics of the GCBR was also developed. Clustering techniques based on the enterprise structures identified four clusters of towns, which will simplify economic planning. The identification of the leading and lagging business sectors in GCBR towns provides further useful information for evaluating towns’ prospects but also questions the wisdom of lumping towns with different prospects together in a single local municipality and then producing a single local economic development plan plan.. All in all the GCBR is well situated to pursue sustainable economic development, which, at least partly, can be based on its natural environmental assets.