The purpose of a social enterprise is to balance the profits and the benefit to society. “The Moss Village” aims to transform the vision of the modern community and housing by designing and constructing houses that are energy efficient and where the inhabitants can use nature’s resources with caution. The use of moss is the central element of this project, which in this case, allows addressing several questions – water conservation, cleaning up the environment from harmful chemicals, and sequestering carbon. Moss lawing is an activity that requires extensive use of water and electricity and contributes to greenhouse emissions. The design of this village will allow spending less time on grooming the lawns and lessen water and electricity consumption. Moreover, the village design will incorporate a variety of community spaces, including a gym, library, and swimming pool, creating a great community space for like-minded individuals.
The practice of decorating homes with a grass lawn has become traditional in the United States and other countries. The grass is typically used for this purpose, which requires continuous grooming and watering, consuming the homeowner’s time and resources. “The Moss Village” will use moss as a decoration, instead of grass, and the customers will select designs of their roofs and lawns created from moss and provided to them free of charge.
“The Moss Village” is a community of people who think alike, care about the environment, and prevent global warming and want to live in a community that values nature. The main aim of this project is to create a precedent for a community living in harmony with nature and contributing to water conservation and carbon sequestering. The latter specifically helps minimize the damage from the greenhouse effect by storing carbon in different forms and not allowing it to be released into the atmosphere, and the result is deferring of global climate change. Water conservation allows preserving this natural resource and uses it efficiently for people’s needs since, in a typical household, large amounts of water are wasted on maintaining a grass lawn. At the same time, moss requires daily watering only in hot periods of the year.
Problem & Opportunity
“The Moss Lawn” enterprise addresses an important issue that exists in modern society – lack of housing that is built using environmentally-friendly practices. Traditionally, the focus is mainly on the quantity, the number of houses in a community or number of apartments in a single building, the availability of basic facilities such as kitchen or lavatory, and the comfort of the inhabitants. The aspect of designing a home with the impact that this housing will have on the nature around it and the environment, in general, is typically overlooked, as well as the issue of maintaining the houses’ design and territory.
It is difficult to determine the scale of the issue – the construction of homes that damage the environment instead of co-existing with nature and the number of hours a person spends watering and mowing the laws are difficult to calculate. However, since as was mentioned, this factor was not the center of attention for architects or construction companies for years. The changing nature of consumer interest and increasing environmental consciousness of the people is what is slowly changing the pattern of behavior. Statistics highlight that 20% of greenhouse emissions in the United States are attributed to households, which includes food preparation and use of housing, among other factors. Moreover, the United States citizens leave a carbon footprint that, on average, is five times higher than in other nations.
Contributing factors are high costs associated with hiring a contractor, designer, and architect. It will create a unique housing unit that will use modern technology and developments for the construction of environmentally friendly housing. The root cause is a lack of awareness and understanding of how to create a home that will not damage the environment. The issue of environmentally damaging housing is solvable, however, and “The Moss Lawn Village” can scale the project to create a new pattern of approaching home construction in the United States.
The vision for the project is – “The moss village; never a loss of time.” This statement reflects the idea of saving people’s time and energy, which they usually dedicate to taking care of their homes and grooming their grass lawns. Moreover, such efforts require the use of substantial natural resources – mainly water and electricity to enable the use of electric lawn care tools. The mission is to construct a community of efficient houses that will be commercially successful and create an example for other housing projects.
“The Moss Village” needs partners to facilitate faster project development and construction of the houses in the community. In terms of financing, “The Moss Village” hopes to attract potential customers to sample housing and collect payments from them to finance the construction work. However, the partners can help finance the initial stages of this project, the construction process for the sample housing.
Another partner is “Ideas for Us,” a business incubator for enterprises that aim to resolve an environmental issue. Incubators, in general, are great places for startups to get help and expertise from people working in the industry of the founder’s interest and obtaining additional finances for the project. “Ideas for Us” also provides micro-grants for local initiatives that want to make a global change, and the mission of this incubator is consistent with the aim of “The Moss Village” – “to develop ideas, fund action, and scale solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.” Since “The Moss Village” addresses the problem of greenhouse emissions and wasteful use of water, the two organizations can collaborate on creating environmentally-friendly housing.
Next, “Green Initiatives” can become a partner in setting up water usage systems, since the organization aims to eliminate bottled water use. An element of the organization’s mission is to support a “better standard of living do not come at the cost of the environment,” which corresponds with the main social objective of “The Moss Village” – to provide that sustainable and environmentally friendly housing can be affordable and that such projects are scalable. The two non-profit organizations can provide support to this enterprise in the form of advice and expertise, as well as financial resources that can be used for the development of construction plans.
Revenue of the social enterprise
Pure commercial income
The “Moss Lawn” project will obtain commercial income from selling the houses in the community. In this regard, the company can be viewed as a real estate developer, and its revenue model is consistent with this industry. However, the project’s environmental and time-efficient purpose distinguishes it from other real estate developers, serving as an additional benefit to the customers and communities.
The price of each house, together with equipment for water conservation and carbon sequestering, will contribute to the additional costs of construction and can cost from $5,000 – to $20,000 per house. Notably, the prices per house will be higher when compared to traditional homes without environmental technologies, but the difference will not be tremendous and should be at approximately 10-15%. However, modern carbon capture devices can transfer this gas into energy that can be used for powering the house, which will help save money on the monthly bills. Moss laws, in comparison with grass, are not expensive and will not significantly contribute to the final price of the unit. As a result, the price per unit will be at approximately $300,000, and profit per unit will be at $50,000, and “The Moss Village” will have 50 houses.
Besides, the social enterprise will support the community’s life in the future, by being responsible for the maintenance of equipment, which will be the company’s additional profit. It is anticipated that the “The Moss Lawn Village” will receive funds from donors, sponsors, fund memberships, and other sources. There are two measuring factors for this social project – how well known the advertisement is and how many people it attracts. The advertisement will target the local and adjacent communities near “The Moss Village,” which is approximately 500,000 inhabitants. It is expected that at least 50 homeowners will be attracted by the advertisement and will choose to purchase a house at “The Moss Village.”
This social enterprise aims to change the way people perceive housing and its impact on the environment. Hence, it will contribute to the community’s understanding of why technological advancements, such as solar panels, can help reduce the harm caused to the environment by humans. The target of this project is a place of residence. The anticipation is that within the next ten years, the community of “Moss Lawn” will expand, and the project itself will become well-known to the general public. This project targets populations in well-developed countries, such as the United States, Norway, The United Kingdom, and others. Table 1 summarises the two types of income that will be obtained from selling all houses in “The Moss Village.”
|Income per Unit||Total Income||Socio-economic income|
|$54,000||$2,700,000||They are proving that environmentally-friendly housing is viable both for living and as a business enterprise.|
Table 1. Summary of the commercial and socio-economic revenue (created by the author).
Description of social enterprise customers
The customers that may be interested in purchasing a home in “The Moss Village” are women with higher education, who are environmentally conscious. Mainly, the representatives of the Generation Z and Millenials generations are the target audience, since these groups are more interested in the issue of environmental preservation when compared to older generations. These people are interested in purchasing a home close to an urban area but want to live in a quiet and peaceful neighborhood of a village. These can be both first-time home buyers and homeowners looking to relocate.
Sales and Marketing
The main purpose of the marketing plan for “The Moss Village” is to introduce this project to the potential homeowners, donors of the project, and the local community and to gain support in carrying out this social project. The marketing of this project will be based on its defining characteristic – the environment-friendly and community-based life. Hence, the marketing efforts will be directed at explaining the benefits that the houses’ features have for the environment, such as the unharmful effect of solar panels and the use of moss as an eco-friendly decor material. In regards to community life, the emphasis will be on living in a community of like-minded people and create value through such a lifestyle.
In addition, because this is a social enterprise, it is important to emphasize this feature of the project and showcase the mission and vision of the enterprise. Hence, the carbon-sequestering technologies that help minimize carbon dioxide emissions and can be transformed into energy, water-saving due to conservation, and the use of moss instead of grass for time-saving will be the key features of the advertising. An important part of advertising will be the demo-houses constructed to showcase all of the features that the customers will receive when purchasing a “Moss Lawn” home.
Key aspects of “The Moss Village” that will be marketed to a customer:
- Use of moss in the laws to reduce time and environmental resources
- Use of renewable energy
- A community of like-minded people
- 5-year house insurance once the unit is purchased
Social media and website presence become increasingly important in the modern age, and “The Moss Village” will be able to use these tools to show photos and videos of its demo-houses. Hence, social media and the website will be used as an advertisement mean, apart from billboards and traditional advertisement resources. This resource can be used to disclose all of the benefits of “The Moss Village” housing by writing texts and sharing videos and photos. The benefits that “The Moss Lawn Village” offers are:
- Environmentally friendly housing
- House insurance for five years
- Custom moss lawn designs free of charge
The benefits that distinguish “The Moss Lawn Village’s” houses are:
- Cost-saving on electricity and water bills
- Time-saving, since there is no need to care for a lawn
- Environment-friendly housing
Additionally, the project will offer community resources:
- Gym, library, and swimming pool
- Wind energy as a backup electricity source
- A social community of like-minded people
Organization of the social enterprise
The main of “The Moss Lawn Village” is to maximize the commercial profits from selling houses in a community, while benefiting the homeowners and the environment. For this social enterprise to succeed, it is vital to establish a leadership strategy and determine team members and people on the board early on. The board of directors will be in charge of managing the construction and overseeing operations. Other stakeholders that will help enable the construction and sales process are marketing, sales, finance, research and development, production, and human resources. Figure 1 shows the main stakeholders and parties involved in the development of the “Moss Lawn” project.
The theory of change is the connection between the mission of “the Moss Lawn Project” and the strategy of executing it. Here, the actions and resources that will lead to the construction of this village should be considered. The inputs include:
- Design of the village, including public spaces and areas attributed to individual homes
- An architectural plan of a single home
- A design project for each home, including the use of carbon sequestering and water conservation
- Custom moss lawn design
- A contract with a construction firm
- Management team
- Financials to execute the first stages of this project
Activities that are necessary to complete the project are:
- Preparation of documentation
- Obtaining financial resources for the first stages (to construct a demo-house)
- Designing a demo-house project and executing it
- Creating a draft of the village’s architectural plan
- Preparing a marketing plan
- Advertising the village, arranging viewings for the demo house
- constructing the village
The outcome should be a fully-functioning village that uses water conservation and carbon sequestering to facilitate people’s everyday activities. While initially, the change is going to be local – it will alter the patterns of home construction and choosing a home in an area where “The Moss Lawn Village” will be constructed, it is possible that in the future and as the management scales the project, it will affect the state’s practices as well. Hence, if “The Moss Lawn” proves to be a commercially successful home construction project, then it will change the perception of environmental-friendly housing in the United States.
Documentation of the social enterprise
Using Weber’s definition of social action, one can state that this project aims to take account of homeowners’ behavior and the impact that their living spaces have on the environment. As a result, “Moss Lawn” will serve as an example to other newly constructed communities, showing that it is possible to live comfortably and in harmony with nature. The nature of social entrepreneurship implies pursuing an opportunity to change the current behavior patterns through social change regardless of the resources that the entrepreneur currently controls. “The Moss Lawn Village” offers:
- Moss laws instead of grass lawns
- Moss roofs
- Use of reusable products (metal straws, silicone cups, and others)
- Saving electricity and using solar, hydra, and wind power
- Maintaining a clean environment
Budget and Financing
The current plan implies the use of the company’s resources with the limited help of partners to construct the first demo-homes, which will help sell houses to customers and finance subsequent construction. Table 2 displays the financial plan for the construction of the first houses that will be needed to market and sell homes. In case the company will be unable to sell enough homes to finance further construction of the community, financial support from partners will be obtained, as demonstrated in Table 2.
The startup capital necessary for this project is estimated at $500,000. Resources that will provide the seed capital are available from the company’s current budget. This money will be spent on planning and preparing the construction documentation and for developing a marketing plan. No liabilities are anticipated with this project. The sales volume during the first year is 20 housing units. To get to the second stage of this project, more capital will be acquired from selling the homes. The same strategy will be applied for scaling “The Moss Lawn Village” in the future. Table 2 is the financial plan for one year, which includes anticipated units sold, revenue, resource quantities, costs and expenses, and cash flows.
|Current Interest Rate||10%|
|Long-Term Interest rate||10%|
|Direct Cost of Sales||$500,000|
|Other Costs of Sales||$0|
|Sales and Marketing||$10,000|
|Preparing Documentation (architectural and design projects)||$100,000|
|Unit Construction Costs||$246,000|
Table 2. One year financial plan (created by the author).
The revenue model chosen for this project has three key steps – creating value in the form of environmentally friendly housing, marketing the project, and selling houses. Hence, the majority of the profits will be generated from the sales, and in the first year, the enterprise should sell 20 houses, generating $6,000,000 and a net profit of $970,000. Notably, it is expected that the sales of the houses will increase after year 1. The company’s specialists will perform some of the work on this project, which will help reduce costs.
When reviewing “The Moss Law Village’s” sustainability, paying close attention to the cash flow is important. If the project runs out of money, it will become impossible to pay for the construction of new homes. Table 3 is the estimations of the cash flows for the first year of “The Moss Village’s” operations. Proper project management planning is the key to ensuring that the resources from each unit sale are allocated adequately towards the construction and management of this project. Moreover, it is vital to avoid bottlenecks through resource planning, which can cause significant delays and customer dissatisfaction.
|Cash Inflow||Year 1|
|Beginning cash balance||$500,000|
|Selling first two homes (month 1-3)||$600,000|
|Selling an additional 18 homes||$5,000,000|
|Developing architectural plans||$100,000|
|Constructing the demo-house||$246,000|
|Constructing homes 2-20||$4,674,000|
Table 3. Cashflow (created by the author).