75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference
by Glenn Croston, Ph.D
This book is a nice complement to Ecopreneuring by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, in that while the latter is a lifestyle book, i.e., what would it be like to be a social entrepreneur, this book cuts to the chase and describes, as its title says, 75 different green business opportunities that people can start. It gives a relative scale on how much capital may be required, and how long it may take to get started for each kind of business.
The potential market for this book is huge. As described in the preface, “77% of Americans are concerned about the environment and feel it is urgent to get involved and make a difference.” Add this sentiment to the powerful entrepreneurial spirit in this country, and the center of your Venn Diagram becomes a large and potentially powerful group.
Croston describes opportunities as diverse as sugarcane ethanol production to sustainable catfish and tilapia farms. Croston has done his research and describes the opportunities well. Anyone already in the green community will recognize much of Croston’s arguments around why there is a need for a particular kind of business, but for the layperson, it is quite the educational piece.
One might argue that there is more to starting a green law firm than is covered in that particular chapter, but Croston gives readers a teaser into what the need is and how it could be filled, rather than the nuts and bolts of becoming a law firm. There are obvious limitations to this style of book, as editors will only allow so much room for each kind of business, and a true to form business plan would be 70-80 pages. In all, Croston does a nice job balancing the need for important facets of the business with the limited space available for each.
Some opportunities are simpler, and require nothing more than willpower, and others much more complex. This mix makes the book valuable to readers in most economic, lifestyle, and social conditions.
In interviewing Croston about this book, I asked about his upcoming plans. As it turns out, we are kindred spirits, with our life missions currently pointing toward helping as many aspiring social entrepreneurs succeed as is possible. This book is part of that puzzle, and a valuable item to have on the bookshelf.