Posts Tagged ‘green business’

The recent wave of entrepreneurship among college students is astounding. We have all heard of the Mark Zuckerburgs of the world who built multi-million dollar businesses out of their dorm rooms. But there are also thousands of young people starting businesses that may not be the next “facebook” but are well-executed and profitable ideas. A great way to find out what college campus ideas are being dreamed up today, is to check out business plan competitions like Ideas 2 Serve at Georgia Tech today from 6-8pm.

Ideas 2 Serve is a business plan competition that allows students to present the ideas for a business that addresses a social issue, and then get judged for a prize by deeply experienced entrepreneurs. Innovation For People co-founder, Tirza will take a seat as a judge during the competition. Now, I can’t give you a formula for making sure your business plan gets the nod of approval but I can tell you what she and likely many of her colleagues on the judging panel will be looking for in your business plan. Keep these in mind as you prepare for business plan competition.


So you have the BEST idea ever! You’re going to revolutionize the hotel and tourism industry by specializing in weekend trips that are literally out of this world. Your wealthy customers who want to spice up their honeymoon can get 2 days and 2 nights in a luxury hotels on the moon! It’s an all-inclusive package that includes continental breakfast and the necessary spacewear. Now, I know your mom and every teacher you’ve had since kindergarten has told you to aim for the moon. But in a business plan competition, you may want to  aim for the moon only if you have some serious connects to NASA, a market of frequent moon visitors, and some spock-like lunar inhabitants. If not, make sure your ideas are actually feasible.


You’ve wisely scrapped the space voyage tourism idea.Instead you’re going to build an internet platform that lets people share information with each other in very short messages that are no larger than 150 character long.  That’s definitely more feasible, and would be really great…if it didn’t already exist. Try to think about a new approach to an old problem or a different means of getting your product to market. But chances are, you’re not going to be the next twitter by proposing to build, well, another twitter. Think about something that’s not out there already and do it!


Your idea is original, it doesn’t involve aliens or NASA and you’re ready to present! Make sure that your process for building your business is in place too. After all there are a multitude of feasible and creative ideas in the world. However, the real distinguishing factor between a great idea and a multi-million dollar business, is the execution. If someone gave you $10,000 tomorrow would you know what to do with it? Make sure your presentation doesn’t just incorporate what you want to achieve, but how you intend to implement it. That’s what makes you look like a bigger wins to judges and investors alike.

So get out there and pitch your business! If you’re in the area tomorrow, stop by Georgia Tech to see who which businesses make Tirza’s cut.

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Anyone with an iPhone, a Droid, or the infamous Crack-berry can personally attest to how much technology has evolved in the past decade. As devices get smaller, flatter, and faster, technology has become such an integral part of our own lives. Can anyone actually remember a time where you couldn’t take pictures, load your work-out playlist, and read work email all from your phone?

While technology has made our lives more interesting and perhaps more distracted, it’s also being used to make many lives healthier, more empowered, and just better all around. There are technology companies who are going the extra mile to invent tools that are solving big social issues and many of them are recognized by the annual Tech Awards. The Tech Awards is an international awards program that highlights the work of people who are using technology to benefit humanity. Looking at what some of the past winners of this prestigious award have achieved is an inspiring reminder of the potential technology has to kick-start social change

Husk Power Systems: This is a biomass company that is generating electricity in rural Indian villages with rice husks. There are 60 mini-plants that have been installed and provide close to 25,000 households with electricity. To date, the company’s plants have sequestered 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Not only is this technology replacing a cleaner and safer form of energy, it has also been a source of employment in these communities. They have employed and trained more than 300 local citizens and have generated $1.2 million in income. This company shows how technology can improve several systems in a small geographic area. Husk Power systems is bringing changes to the local economy, the environment, and the well-being of the residents.

Global Voices: Another laureate who is using technology in a very different way is Global Voices. They are a Netherlands based organization that aggregates and distributes news from citizen journalists from all over the world. With over 300 writers, editors, and translators, Global Voices has amplified experiences of people from Britain to Bali. With the recent uprisings throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Global Voices has become an important source of first-hand information about what’s happening on the ground.

While Husk Power Systems uses technology to build new systems in small communities throughout India, Global Voices uses technology as a portal for connecting communities who may never have encountered each other. It goes to show the vast potential technology has to facilitate important change on all levels.

If your organization is using technology to bring new solutions to old problems, throw your hat in the ring and apply for the Tech Awards 2011. The deadline for nominations is due March 31, so there is still time to get your application in. To find out more about the award criteria and how to apply, check out their site at http://techawards.org/.

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Small businesses must manage a number of costs in order to keep their operations running smoothly, many of which are linked to energy.  With energy sometimes eating up to 20% of a business’s revenue, being energy efficient isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for your finances as well. Now, small businesses in Gerogia can maximize both energy and financial efficiency through the Georgia Green Loans Save and Sustain program.

Save and Sustain is a new program that helps small businesses embrace sustainable practices by “greenovating” their offices. It’s geared towards businesses with under 500 employees and is one of several energy renewal initiatives that funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. It offers up to 75% discounts on commercial energy assessments as well as calculations on the return on investment and cost savings from the outfitting. It also provides low interest loans for making business equipment more energy efficient.

Save and Sustain isn’t just about helping out a few small companies -it’s a program that empowers companies to embrace new opportunities for a more sustainable Georgia. Taking part will not only help your company, but will help the business community at large be more conscious of their responsibility to people and planet. If your business is interested in the Save and Sustain program you can contact VP of Programs, Matthew Ryder at ryder@georgiagreenloans.org.

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greenbuildOn August 25th, Tirza and Kim headed to Birmingham, Alabama for the Green Building Focus Conference for an exciting day of meeting some of the South East’s premier green building companies. There was a diverse selection of vendors who attended the conference this year. There was everyone, from business owners who made Green Builders Pencils from a graphite composite material, to sales representatives for counter tops made from recycled glass. It really illustrated how many different companies were in the green building sector.

There were also a number of interesting speakers who presented throughout the day. Chris Brogan, author of New York Times Bestseller Trust Agents, spoke to attendees about how Social Media could be used to really influence their constituents and empower their companies. There were many who left with a better grasp on how these tools could be maximized to  be more competitive in the workplace.

It is exciting to see how much momentum has built around the green building materials industry in the South East. It was encouraging to hear how many of these sustainable companies have matured and how many of them are experiencing growth tpdau. The Green Building Focus Conference is only in it’s second year and is already showing promising signs of progress. We look forward to seeing how much it evolves in the future conferences to come!

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The explosion of “green” programs, organizations and events in the Atlanta area over the last 5 years is impressive. When we first relocated ifPeople to Atlanta, there was almost nothing on the green scene. Now, it is a dizzying array of activity. As I’m trying to get a handle on my own plans for the week, I decided a post to shed light on some of the activities and give others a chance to share activities they are organizing, attending, or recommending.

Corporate Sustainability: You can’t ignore it any longer!

April 22, 2009, 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Location: The Retreat of Dunwoody at Villa Christina
This sounds like an interesting way to start the morning. The talk is being put on by Atlanta Woman magazine. Check out more details here.

Earth Day 2009 Party in the Sky

7:00PM, Wed, Apr 22, 2009
Nelson Mullins (Atlantic Station), 201 17th Street, Ste. 1700, Atlanta, GA

This looks like a particular highlight for the day – green roof party venue. This is the annual Earth Day gala of Earth Share of Georgia. More info.

Other events

Those are the ones I am planning to go to at this point. Here’s some others you might want to know about:

I’m sure there are more, but I was having trouble finding ones that (a) hadn’t already happened and (b) looked good. If you know of some quality events, please comment! I’ll incorporate as many as I have time to to the post.

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