The Janum Marketplace Tackles Supply Chain Issues and Greenwashing in Consumer Products

October 19, 2011 by  
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Ever wondered where your favorite eco-friendly item came from or what its supply chain actually looked like? I sure do. Supply chains and supply chain management have become so complex and convoluted these days, it is the number one issue that plaques sustainability initiatives and fosters greenwashing claims. One entrepreneur from San Francisco, Julian Coleman, probably had the same questions when he founded Janum. Janum is a unique online marketplace launched September 15, 2011, with the aim of making long supply chains transparent so that consumers, brands and producers all benefit. For every product sold on Janum the company shows consumers, through facts and videos, the places and people who made them, the fabrication steps, the ingredients and their impact on human and environmental health. Julian Coleman, CEO of Janum, explains the concept, “As supply chains are getting longer and more global, consumers and producers rarely see each other. In the past with local production, seeing the person who made the products gave consumers confidence and trust in what they were buying. And when producers could see who they were selling to, they took care and pride in what they produced. Consumers in turn respected and valued the products they bought. I wanted to bring these values back, through our “Show, Not Tell” mission.” How Does Janum Verify the Supply Chain? First Things First- Innovation: For Janum to consider a product for its marketplace, it needs to be innovative. They look for low impact, non-toxic and inspiring concepts. Cycle Analysis: Once a product is singled out for innovative-ness, it goes through a thorough life impact analysis through experts in the field. If everything checks out the team moves on to field verification. Transparency: Janum  documents the entire process and brings it to customers. If the product or company does not permit complete transparency, Janum refuses to bring business. Janum requires its producers to share information about their business practices and allow inspection of their business for public consumption. Janum conducts a streamlined life cycle assessment [LCA], visually records how products are made and shares this footage with the consumer in real-time, via the  Janum blog . Adding Brand Value For brands, this is an opportunity to utilize transparency and authenticity to gain consumer trust. With all the prevalent greenwashing , consumers rarely believe what brands tell them, and the proliferation of eco-labels only adds to consumer confusion. If brands show consumers their supply chains, they can “localize” them and humanize their producers, thereby enhancing brand value. Janum is also working with the right kind of businesses- other social enterprises like cooperatives that need the support and channels to spread their wings. Janum’s Current Product Line-up Janum currently offers two products: the  Cleaner Cloth (a two-sided durable cleaning tool made from organic cotton and jute and designed by the Janum team to decrease the use of sponges and paper towels) and Holy Lama Soaps (a line of natural soaps packaged in compostable palm shells and made by a woman’s cooperative in Kerala, India). Watch the video on the Cleaner Cloth! This is just the beginning for Janum. It was conceived in Amsterdam, developed in India and its foundation was laid in San Francisco. Their mission to inspire a new generation of conscious consumption, bring transparency to commerce and production, and empowering consumers to make informed purchasing decisions is indeed catching on.

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The Janum Marketplace Tackles Supply Chain Issues and Greenwashing in Consumer Products

The Unreasonable Institute Helps High-Impact Social Entrepreneurs Take Flight

October 4, 2011 by  
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There is a growing consensus that entrepreneurs will be the force behind economic, social and environmental development this century.  There are hundreds of thousands of budding entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas that need the right platform and training to take off. An organization called the Unreasonable Institute aims to help these audacious gen-next entrepreneurs take flight! Are you convinced your venture will forever change the world? Then you have until November 1o to apply to The Unreasonable Institute! Unreasonable Institute Model What is the Unreasonable Institute? The Unreasonable Institute is a mentorship-driven program that arms for-profit enterprises creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the resources they need to do so. Fundamentally, the Institute helps build stronger, more financially sustainable businesses that can be scaled to impact millions of lives. They are arming the entrepreneurs who can take on the world’s major issues with the mentorship, capital, and network to make it happen. How is it done? Each year, the organization picks  25 entrepreneurs  from every corner of the globe to live under the same roof for six weeks in Boulder, Colorado. These entrepreneurs receive training and build long-term relationships with  50 world-class mentors , ranging from the co-founder of Google.org, to the CTO of HP amongst others. In the process, they also form relationships and build their businesses with  20 investment funds , receive legal advice & design consulting, and pitch to hundreds of potential investors and partners. Applications are now being accepted through November 1o, 2011 for the class of 2012! Check out this 3-minute trailer to get an inside peak and read on to learn how it works! How are the Finalists or Fellows Chosen? Of course you have to go through the application and interview process where the top 50 applicants are chosen based on their venture plan, impact, marketability etc. But the way the final 25 are picked in Step 3 is the interesting part… The finalist Marketplace or Step 3 of the selection process is the most challenging round of selection and the most rigorous test of entrepreneurial ability.  The cost  of attending the Unreasonable Institute is $10,000, but the applicants, or their teams, are not allowed to pay for it. Instead, the Finalists are given 50 days to raise the $10,000 in small increments on the Finalist Marketplace. The first 25 Finalists to do so will be deemed Unreasonable Fellows and attend the 2012 Institute. The final test also takes care of the “rich uncle problem” by capping the amount individuals can donate. This levels the playing field for applicants with fewer wealthy connections willing to donate large sums of money. Read more about the finalist marketplace here . Want to learn more? Get a glimpse of what a summer at the Unreasonable Institute is all about by watching the 2011 Unreasonable Fellows go from arrival to graduation on the 7-part web series on  Unreasonable.tv ! Start with  Episode 1 here. The Unreasonable Institute is made up of a dynamic group of young people who call themselves the Unreasonable Team ! Teju Ravilochan, co-founder of the Institute, sums it up, I want to live in a world where every human being can be the master of their own fate, unbound by the chains of poverty, oppression, or injustice. To me entrepreneurship, coming from French for “to taking into one’s own hands” gets at that fundamental human drive to rule our destinies. And when that drive is combined to empower others to do the same, I believe no force can be more powerful. The program has helped 50 entrepreneurs through its 2010 and 2011 programs and is trailblazing towards the next 25 in 2012. Are you one? You have until November 10th to apply.

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ChicoBags David & Goliath Lesson

September 27, 2011 by  
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Congratulations to ChicoBag . Kinda. A lawsuit filed against the reusable bag company by three of the largest manufacturers of disposable single-use plastic bags has ended. Hilex Poly, who stood alone after Superbag and Advance Poly dropped out of the suit, settled the case with ChicoBag, agreeing to change its position on windblown litter and recycling rates. Yet, ChicoBag had to pay an “undisclosed sum” to Hilex Poly. According to the plaintiffs, ChicoBag created an imitation EPA website to share statistics on plastic bag pollution. The lesson: Large manufacturers will continue to drag ecopreneuers to court, so be 100% honest and transparent in your marketing claims. The truth is on your side after all.

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ChicoBags David & Goliath Lesson

The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

September 23, 2011 by  
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Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, method co-founders, Image courtesy: method Flashback to the year 2000:   Eric’s wondering why cleaning products are so poorly designed, and Adam’s dreaming of green cleaners that actually work and aren’t stinky. Together, these two childhood friends come up with an idea to revolutionize the cleaning world with stylish, eco-friendly products made with non-toxic ingredients that clean like heck and smell like heaven. 2001: method is born, and the Eric and Adam we are talking about are Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, childhood friends and co-founders of method. Fast forward to 2011: In 10 years, method has grown into a $150 million brand — a brand synonymous with green, good and successful. It was ranked the 7th fastest growing company in America by Inc. Magazine in 2006 and the 16th most innovative company in the world by Fast Company. How did method, in 10 years, turn the cleaning business industry upside down, redefine cleaners and set new standards for cleaning supplies? Eric and Adam reveal their successes are tied to their 7 obsessions! They talk about the method story in a book they released this week called ‘The method method’ (an excellent read that is both humorous and gripping). They call these core strategies “obsessions” because they realize that unless you are obsessed about your business values and practices, they could fade away as your business grows. Eric spoke exclusively to Ecopreneurist on the book and these obsessions that make method. Why did they get into the cleaning products business? Eric says “In advertising, I was always trained to look at cultural-shifts in consumer behavior where larger brands are not delivering and we realized this was the right place to be. We asked ourselves, what we could do differently and saw tremendous opportunity in this industry”. Tip: There is wonderful opportunity in well-established industry sectors, where environmental aspects or as Eric says, “cultural shifts” in consumer behavior are not addressed by larger establishments. This is a place small business owners can make a difference. Eric then spoke about partnerships and how the diversity in education and work between the co-founders actually laid a strong foundation for their business model. Eric’s background in advertising and design coupled with Adam’s experience with sustainability and engineering helped method become method. Eric says this partnership was “essential”. He goes on to add, “Our backgrounds were so different, that it helped us find new ways of collaborating, bring about a combination of design + function, that is unique to method. Without Adam, method would have been all life-style design and not much green. Without me, method would have been another drab green cleaner.” Tip: Collaborating with diverse professionals may actually add a unique USP to your product or service, especially in green business where many symbiotic relationships already exist and thrive. As Eric looks back on the 10 years, he says, “Locking down our obsessions and making them integral to our company was very important. As a company grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to adhere to these values.” One of method’s “obsessions” was to create a “culture club” or “branding from the inside out”. Eric says, “Creating and maintaining cultures continues to be the hardest value to upkeep. It’s always in motion and changing. Our goal is to create a culture that would inspire us to do our best work while enriching our lives.” He also has two pieces of advice for budding eco-entrepreneurs. One: Starting out a company that is just “green” is not enough these days. Take a product or service and add “green” to it by “disrupting the world of business as-usual.” Two: Emphasize the human connection associated with your product or service. “It’s hard to encourage people to adopt good only on the basis that its good for the planet. To make a lasting impression, bring out the connection that benefits their home, health and daily lives.” So after a glorious 10 years, what is in store for the next decade at method? Eric is thrilled with the excellent foundation that has been created. He says, “The cleaning industry is very dirty- so there is still lots to clean up. We want to continue to grow into newer markets and countries while educating consumers. And of course continue to innovate to stay ahead.” Ahem to that and an even more glorious decade ahead.

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The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

The Cleanweb Hackathon Invites Innovative Minds to Do Social Good Via Technology

September 5, 2011 by  
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The  CleanWeb Hackathon is an upcoming gathering (September 10 & 11th) in San Francisco to demonstrate the impact of applying information technology to resource constraints. The goal is to organize a competition to build apps and hacks exploiting new sustainable business models while leveraging the mobile and social web. The hackathon is an interesting concept that builds on creative thinking and information technology. We challenge attendees on what they can do in 24 hours with utility, transport and smart grid datasets that might just change the world just a little bit. You will spend an intense 24 hours hacking and presenting with some of the nation’s brightest developers. At the end of a marathon hack session, teams will demo their apps and hacks for the audience and a group of select judges. The event will bring together Developers, Entrepreneurs, Students interested in CleanWeb. It’s a fantastic opportunity to develop something great, learn about CleanWeb and meet like minds. Sunil Paul is the brain behind CleanWeb and his group is looking to bring in inspired and talented developers who want to create CleanWeb tools in an attempt to win some $5,000 worth of prizes. Sunil invests in cleantech and is also co-founder and chairman of the Clean Economy Network , the largest green business organization the US and Spring Ventures , venture fund that invests in and incubates novel technologies and companies addressing resource scarcity, energy security and climate change. So What is CleanWeb? “CleanWeb” is a category of clean technology that leverages the capability of the internet, social media, and mobile technologies to address resource constraints. At the Green:Net conference  in April, the Spring Ventures founder said “The next big wave will be in the “CleanWeb,” which marries information technology enhancements — such as Twitter, Facebook and the social web — with green initiatives. Information technology is actually going to prove as valuable as the application of new materials and nano-technology and bio-technology have been for the environment.” Watch Sunil’s speech on the topic at Green:Net in April here . Some examples of the CleanWeb in action are the rise of car-sharing services, which reduce emissions dramatically by allowing users to find rides with others. Another example is the room-sharing service  AirBnB , which allows people to rent out rooms their homes, and has already booked two million nights around the world since 2008. Another promising area for CleanWeb innovation is transportation. Paul says, “There are a wave of companies trying to make more efficient use of your vehicle by sharing it with others,” including  Spride , And mobile applications for these services put a car at your fingertips. If there is a symbol of CleanWeb’s opportunity it is the cell phone.” With all this potential, the upcoming hackathon promises to harness technology and human ingenuity to bring about greater social good. It has caught the attention of companies like OPOWER and Microsoft who are platinum sponsors of the event. Some of the most creative minds will be at this event include  Yves Behar , who will be judging the competition. Yves is the founder of  fuseproject , the San Francisco and New York based design and branding firm he established in 1999 and is a well-known futurist, humanist and naturalist! Important Media and the Ecopreneurist are proud to be media sponsors of the CleanWeb Hackathon. Stayed tuned this week as we cover the event and bring you some of the awesome new ideas featured through this competition!

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The Cleanweb Hackathon Invites Innovative Minds to Do Social Good Via Technology

Clean Solar Energy Offers Promising Small Business Opportunities

August 24, 2011 by  
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Our overall economy seems stuck in slow motion, particularly old industries like construction and real estate.  The recent stock market gyrations and pundit predictions of a double dip recession lead many to anxiously sit on the sidelines, uncertain what direction to take.  Others are taking control of their lives though and starting businesses in new areas that are prospering even as old fields flounder. Green industries like solar energy are an excellent option for many reasons. Even in the recession the solar industry has grown rapidly in the US, growing 67% in 2010 and continuing to grow rapidly in the first quarter of 2011, according to the recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association .  It’s hard to find growth like this in any other industry, and all indications are that the growth of solar will continue for many years to come. One reason solar has done well even in the recession is that solar makes financial sense, paying for itself over time.  The cost of photovoltaic solar panels has declined rapidly while the cost of power from utilities continues to rise about 6% a year, making solar an increasingly good deal.  In some areas such as Hawaii and California, solar power already costs less than electricity from the grid, reaching grid parity . Financing options such as solar leases or power purchase agreements help to remove the main objection many people have – seeing money come out of their pocket up front.  And a variety of incentives at the local, state, and federal government level continue to encourage the switch to solar, including recent spectacular growth of the solar industry in New Jersey. Starting a solar installer business is one business opportunity in the solar market, although this route requires significant technical expertise and resources to get started, and faces stiff competition from large solar installers in some areas. A new solar business opportunity is to start a sales business as a solar broker.  One key advantage of solar brokers is that they are independent of a specific product or installer, so they can work with the client to navigate the solar marketplace, looking a variety of option to find the best solution in each case.  The solar broker helps clients to get multiple bids from installers, making the solar sales process simpler, and helping residential or business client to save significant time and money . Prime Solar Network helps entrepreneurial sales pros to start their own solar sales business as a solar broker.  Broker license an exclusive sales territory with the company, and the company helps them to get their business started.  As a sales-based business, the startup time and cost for a solar broker business is much lower than to start a solar installer business.  Bringing brokers up to speed on solar fundamentals, Prime Solar also provides support for marketing, financing, back office support, web development, and other business basics needed to get started.  For those looking for a way to get into the growing solar industry, a solar broker business like this could provide a straightforward route to consider. With so much uncertainty in the economy, it’s good to see a field like solar energy that holds business opportunities destined for greater growth ahead.  The economy is unlikely to move back to where it used to be, but it will move forward with businesses like solar that more and more people from many backgrounds can be a part of. Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses” and “Starting Green” and the founder of Starting Up Green , helping businesses to start green and grow greener.  He can be reached at glenn.croston(at)startingupgreen(dot)com

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Clean Solar Energy Offers Promising Small Business Opportunities

7 Steps to Tell Your Green Business Story in a Changing World

August 17, 2011 by  
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Image Credit: 360Energy Everybody loves a good story, but story telling isn’t just for bedtime and movies. Story telling is an essential skill for businesses of all colors, including the green ones. Our minds are wired to listen to stories, dating back probably to the early dawn of man when telling stories was how we shared important information with others.  Whether in science, politics, or marketing, those who harness the power of stories do better at connecting with and influencing others than those who present dry facts and figures devoid of emotional content.  In a changing and confusing world, the stories we tell help us to understand who we are and where we are going. In the world of corporate communications and marketing, stories are used to sell without looking like we are selling.  We all know commercials that work because the story sneaks under our intellectual radar, connecting with our emotional brain to get us to care.  Quoting prices and listing benefits is a more direct approach but may accomplish nothing more than getting us to switch the channel or click to another page. Green businesses are no different when it comes to marketing their business with stories, working their stories into their communications from social networking to ads to press releases to blogs.  The good news is that green businesses have so many great stories to tell, stories about their commitment to building a better and brighter world through sustainability.  This is one factor that gives green businesses a big leg up in the business world, so they need to make the most of it. Here are 7 green marketing steps to tell your business story: 1.  Find what makes you unique-  If you want your story to stick with people and go viral it needs to be different from what they have heard before.  Sometimes your business is so innovative that finding the uniqueness is easy.  When Spencer Brown tells the story of Rent a Green Box , having an epiphany at the landfill with his mountain of wasted cardboard boxes, it’s not hard to connect with the story of their innovative zero-waste moving business.  The story of Tom Szaky starting Terracycle with worm poop in soda bottles is another compelling example of green innovation that easily captures the imagination. If you have a greener version of an existing business, making greener coat hangers, then perhaps this is your story.  Perhaps you are greener than your competition, or working to support your community and your world in a new and creative way, such as an initiative to provide clean water in Africa by collaborating with a group like Water for People .  Perhaps your founder has a compelling story of how and why they started the business, or where they would like to see it go, and can help us to see their vision as well.  There’s always a way to make your story stand out. 2.  Figure out your story - It’s surprising, but when I talk with people it often seems that they don’t know the story of their own business, or don’t know how to tell it.  Partly it might be perspective that is the problem.  We get so immersed in our own business that we can’t see it clearly.  Sometimes it’s easier for someone else to see your business objectively than for you to see your own story.  Getting your story right is so important that getting help from a trusted friend or a marketing pro can be very worthwhile. Here are some tried and true simple story lines that you can use and adapt freely to ensure that your story hits home.  See which one works for you, or try a few on for size.  I’m a big fan of upbeat green business stories myself – with such a blizzard of negative news, a story of positive change be quite refreshing. 3.  Keep it simple-  Your story needs to be simple if anyone is going to listen.  Remember that we live in the age of electronic distraction, and shape your story accordingly.  You only have a few moments, a few words to hook someone’s attention before all they hear is “blah, blah, blah” and they go back to playing on their iPhone.  One of the good things about Twitter is that it forces this kind of simplicity.  Even if you’re not using Twitter, using a Twitter level of simplicity is a good exercise, forcing you to boil down your story to the essence of connecting people together. 4.  The story is about more than selling-  Your story has to lead somewhere, including doing business with you, but it needs to be about more than just selling things.  Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee – they sell a vision of how people want to live, of small luxuries.  Your green business isn’t just a product you sell, but a vision of how you will make lives better for people and our planet. 5.  Practice, Practice, Practice-  Your story will have a face associated with it or a voice, someone who is good at telling the story.  Video is a great way to communicate, often with a simple video of you talking about your business.  You might be a natural at this, but if you’re not then practicing your story is a good idea so it is smooth, natural, and personal.  Taping yourself and watching the playback is brutal, but effective.  Getting an honest opinion from a friend can also be good if they can provide honest and specific constructive criticism. 6.  Tell your story many different places, many different times, and in many different ways-  No matter how great your story is, it won’t matter if nobody hears it.  You need to tell your story over and over again to anyone who will listen.  You need to use all of the media that are available today, moving beyond press releases to use new tools like videos and social networking that are more personal and form a stronger connection with your audience. 7.  Don’t forget to connect with people-  The whole point of telling your story in your green marketing and communications is to connect with people.  It’s important to remember that this is the essence of your story and why you tell it.  Your story needs to say something that your audience cares about, motivating them to take action.  What is that story going to be?  That all depends on you and your business, but with a little luck, experience, and practice you’ll be a great green biz storyteller in no time.   Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses” and “Starting Green”, helping businesses to go green and grow green with consulting and communications at Starting Up Green ( www.startingupgreen.com ). He can be reached at  glenn.croston(at)startingupgreen(dot)com

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Farmigo Provides Easy CSA Management Solutions to Farmers

August 15, 2011 by  
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Community-supported agriculture (CSA) , a form of an alternative and local food network is a socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who support a farming operation economically, where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. CSA’s usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box scheme, and sometimes includes dairy products and meat. CSA’s generally focus on the production of high quality foods for a local community, often using organic methods, and a shared risk membership–marketing structure. This kind of farming operates with a much greater degree of involvement of consumers and other stakeholders than usual — resulting in a stronger consumer-producer relationship. The core design includes developing a cohesive consumer group that is willing to fund a whole season’s budget in order to get quality foods. People are increasingly demanding local, organic and fresh produce and CSA’s are gaining in popularity. But farmers are entrepreneurs with real business goals and CSA’s can prove to be a reliable source of income each month. But it’s not all so rosy. Farmers need to spend a lot of time on emails and calls dealing with member payment and delivery questions, payment status, problems with member checks and members on vacation receiving unclaimed produce – all chores that farmers are not always efficient at and that are definitely time-consuming. Community members on the other hand complain about the service. Farmigo- Dashboard The Farmigo team set out on a mission to apply its extensive software and internet expertise to enable farms to work together and provide their produce directly to people in their communities. The Farmigo software provides consumers with an easy way to subscribe to the harvest of a local farm as well as supplement their weekly food needs through the farm’s web store. At the same time, it helps ensure that farms using this system become highly profitable and sustainable. Benzi Ronen and Yossi Pik, the founders, met at SAP, the third largest software company in the world. After designing and building software applications for the most successful Fortune 500 companies, they decided to start a company founded on their passion to help people lead healthier lives by eating locally grown food. They set out to build software designed to support small farms feeding their communities. Farmigo’s system helps farmers retain customers, reduce costs, improve efficiency and increase revenue and become more profitable. The system is completely customizable with 24/7 support and comes with a money back guarantee. The software can be up and running in a couple of days with no upfront costs to farmers. Farmigo is creating a wonderful support system for farmers and community members alike, making local food cooperatives more economical, fun and accessible to the community and profitable to farmers thus encouraging a positive feedback loop that promotes healthy eating.

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Farmigo Provides Easy CSA Management Solutions to Farmers

4 Tips for Starting a Solar Retail Business

August 1, 2011 by  
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In April 2011, solar energy officially became the fastest growing industry in the United States. In a time when most industries are experiencing snail-like growth or even losing momentum, this is significant news. If you’re an entrepreneur looking stake your claim on the ground floor of what is poised to be an extremely profitable industry, now is the time to think about how you can become not only a supporter of solar but a retailer as well. Here are some tips for getting the training and support you need to start a successful business in the solar industry: Assess Your Expertise : Certain careers provide a solid foundation on which to build a solar business. Electricians, roofers, HVAC and general contractors all have skill-sets that are appropriate for the home solar industry, especially installation. But don’t worry; if you don’t have a background in these trades, there are still ways to create a viable solar business. Research the Opportunities : Installing panels isn’t the only way to create a successful solar business. There is a growing need for companies to connect consumers with solar financing options and solar leasing opportunities. The industry also needs professionals who can market and sell panels, leases, and maintenance packages. Consider A Franchise : If you don’t have an MBA and aren’t sure that you’re ready to create a business plan from scratch, there’s no reason why you can’t build upon a foundation that’s already in place. Solar Universe is a company that’s building a franchise of solar installers across North America. The system provides opportunity to get started in solar, and develop your own business with the benefits of a proven business model, national brand and corporate support system. Get Trained : No matter what aspect of solar energy you want to address with your business, it’s important to seek out a training program that will increase your awareness of industry trends, new technologies, and sales strategies that work. AEE Solar is a wholesale distributor of solar technology. To support those that would like to become dealers of their products, AEE provides national, regional and local solar training classes for all levels of entrepreneurs. These online, classroom, and hands-on trainings help new retailers stay up to date on the latest technologies, tax incentives, products, and government regulations.   Related Posts: How to Lease Your Roof to Make Passive Solar Income   Lorna Li is the Editor-in-Chief of Green Marketing TV , Entrepreneurs for a Change , and Lifestyle Design Artist . She specializes in Internet marketing for socially responsible business and enjoys writing about green business, social enterprise, and location independent lifestyle. Follow @lornali. Image Credit: Flickr – walmartcorporate  

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French Fry Grease to Reappear as Biodiesel in DC Trucks

July 26, 2011 by  
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Want more of those delicious and crispy fries? Thanks to DC Biofuels , the tasty french fry in Washington DC may linger on a little longer – fueling the vehicle fleets in the district as the capital area’s very own biodiesel facility plans to open next year!   Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images;   What is Biodiesel? Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel is produced from any fat or oil through a process called trans-esterification. The DC plant will recycle used animal fats, vegetable oils & greases (FOG) from urban waste streams. Key Benefits of Biodiesel A healthier, cleaner-burning fuel to petrol and diesel. It can be produced from waste grease. It can be used interchangeably in any diesel application, with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is a non toxic, non flammable, biodegradable product unlike dirty diesel. It enables sustainable local economic growth and eases our dependence on foreign oil. Waste Grease Where will all the grease come from? DC has plenty of it. DC Biofuels already has a tie-up with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) to supply the waste grease from DC restaurants. This relationship is great for restaurant owners as they currently pay grease haulers to dispose off the grease. With the new arrangement, DC Biofuels will pay the haulers to collect the grease with no cost to owners, making this a viable business proposition for participating restaurants. Initial plans are to produce “clean & green” biofuel for centrally fueled public and private flees. The DC Biofuels state-of-the-art production facility will process multiple FOG feedstocks, including “waste” vegetable oils (WVO), yellow grease, and brown grease, producing high-quality biodiesel (ASTM D 6751) and will be BQ900 certified. The facility will blend biodiesel with Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) that meets ASTM D 975 specifications based upon a  customer’s requirements. DC Biofuels is a proposing a 20:80 ratio for biofuel:diesel mixture just because current vehicular warranties allow that ratio. The finished blend will be treated with NOx-reducing & other performance-enhancing additives. Wendell Jenkins , President and CEO of DC Biofuels says, “Final project financing should come through in the Fall of 2011 with ground break planned soon after. Right now, we are looking at an operational plant in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2012″ DC Biofuels has gathered a lot of interest from the DC government and surrounding local governments to fuel public fleets. Though the DC government is not involved in the project establishment, they are offering tax incentives to the company on the basis of the jobs it will create in DC owning to the factory location within the city. With the biodiesel facility, Jenkins plans to engage and employee DC residents and help the biodiesel revolution in the area. San Francisco is a leader in utilizing used grease to manufacture biofuels with the successful SF Greasecycl e program though the model in DC will be different. While San Francisco’s program is state and city supported, DC’s plant will be privately owned and maintained.

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French Fry Grease to Reappear as Biodiesel in DC Trucks

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