Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Innovation (M.A.)

Degree Program

Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies

First Advisor

Joel Wendland-Liu

Academic Year



This study builds upon existing scholarly literature on regenerative design and regenerative sustainability by relating the framework to existing West Michigan businesses and their place-specific practices. Applying concepts from those more developed fields to business sustainability, this paper contributes to the still emerging field of regenerative business by proposing a comprehensive definition of regenerative business. The definition is then applied to three businesses in a case study format to highlight regenerative business practices. While none of the businesses highlighted claim to be regenerative, all have examples of practices that demonstrate regenerative action and enhance the West Michigan community.

By defining regenerative business comprehensively and contextualizing it with place-based examples, the research seeks to advance the current understanding of the topic while making it more tangible for business leaders. Bringing the current, well-developed regenerative framework into conversation with real-world business applications through the context of place will help advance its effectiveness, and hopefully, encourage its implementation in the West Michigan community. The research also links social innovation with regenerative business activity. With a focus on community building, strategic partnerships, collaboration, systems thinking, and creative problem-solving, regenerative practices are often a by-product of social innovation, as the study illustrates.