GREENtrepreneurs: The Challenge & the Opportunity


“So what is so special about green entrepreneurs?”

This is an excellent question and was a central theme in my recently published book, Green Entrepreneur Handbook. Why is a green entrepreneur any different than any other sort of entrepreneur? Does it take a special entrepreneur with different skills to build a green business? Throughout the writing of this book, I tried to balance the fact that green entrepreneurs really are entrepreneurs just like in traditional sectors such as software, retail, biotech or consumer goods, but at the same time these entrepreneurs are operating in “green” marketplace with some very unique and different challenges. So yes, green entrepreneurs are the same, but different… confused yet?

Unless you are living under a rock, we’ve all seen the “green” movement going on around us. (Care to guess what the phrase of the last decade was according to the Global Language Monitor? If you guessed “Climate Change,” then you’ll be batting 1000%.) And with the growth of this green movement has come a flood of new entrepreneurs looking to tackle unique challenges associated with issues such as global warming, limited natural resources, protecting our ecosystem, and new sources of energy. These individuals are today’s GREENtrepreneurs.

Okay then, back to that original question: just what is so unique, so special and so different about green entrepreneurs? This writing is intended to share a few key findings and lessons about GREENtrepreneurs that I learned while writing the Green Entrepreneur Handbook. Below are a few selected passages and excerpts from the book highlighting some of those key challenges for GREENtrepreneurs – challenges which represent the unique environment (pardon the pun) this new breed of entrepreneurs now face:

Doing “well” by doing “good.” While “green” is obviously a big opportunity ($200 billion plus in some estimates), most green entrepreneurs got into green business because they identified an opportunity that they feel good about that also has the potential to make money. It’s not trivial that many first-time green entrepreneurs have left companies from “dirty” industries such as oil or natural gas, automotive, chemicals or energy generation – there is a sense of duty and responsibility for those starting green businesses. And that responsibility usually brings … Next Page »

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Eric Koester is co-founder and COO of Zaarly and an attorney, formerly with Cooley LLP. Follow @

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