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The BTAU Project

The BTAU project seeks to direct commercial loan funding along with public subsidies to create or develop profitable micro, small and medium enterprises which maintain or enhance biodiversity. Technical Assistance units have been created in Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland to assist the process of development of “Pro-Biodiversity Businesses” in each of these countries.
The BTAU project focuses on those areas of nature that have been recognized as high value and that are included in the NATURA 2000 network. These include the large majority of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) as defined under the Habitats and Birds Directives.


Key activities of each BTAU:

The key activities of each BTAU are to identify enterprises which are eligible for funding within or around Natura 2000 sites and to explore a package of financing options to produce long-term, site and region-specific economic and nature benefits. Each BTAU provides advice, guidance, training and monitoring services for both small enterprises, financial institutions, and for officials involved in nature conservation. After a loan has been made, the BTAU helps to monitor the business activities of each enterprise to ensure the benefits to nature are positive and will have a long-term and sustainable impact.


Project duration:

The project began in January 2007 and runs for three years. By early 2010, the so called “Pro-Biodiversity Business” (PBB) markets will start to become self-sustaining. Each BTAU will retain its role but become independent, the staff acting as advisors and the BTAU acting as a catalyst to continue to fuel the market, funding itself through the provision of products and services.
This website is hosted by The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Our key project priorities for 2008

• Produce business plans focal BTAUs for the period post-2009
• Finalise the work needed to prepare a suite of SMEs ready for investment
• Finalise the identification and preparation of financial instruments to enable such investments to take place
• Continue to promote the project at national and European levels and to promote the contributions that small business can make to biodiversity conservation

Some "Pro-Biodiversity Business" examples

• Organic farming and extensification of existing intensive practices
• Ecotourism
• Breeding traditional or rare breeds of livestock/animal husbandry
• Sustainable fish farming
• Ecological management and consultancy services
• Forestry and wood processing
• Seed collecting
• Reed harvesting
• Plant oil production
• Organic wine production
• Grazing and moving of grasslands
• Sport fishing
• Provision of educational facilities for nature protection


Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) European Commission DG Environment (EC DG Environment)

The project is funded by the:

Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission
Project partners
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