Business

Published on July 31st, 2009 | by Scott Cooney

12

Green Business Opportunities for Aspiring Eco-Entrepreneurs

Ecopreneurist does a terrific job of educating the public about green business, especially startups.  My own personal blog, GreenBusinessOwner.com, has a variety of pages that also address this topic, though with woefully less information and diversity, since it is only my blog, and doesn’t have the wealth of writers associated with Ecopreneurist.

But the interesting thing is that my blog gets a decent number of hits. Not, mind you, for any of the articles I write, but only for the resources I list.  The page that, overwhelmingly, gets the most attention, is the “Green Business Opportunities” page.  With Google Analytics, it is easy to see that most of the people who come to my blog do so because they are searching for this exact phrase. People want to change the world.  We need to make sure they have the resources to do so.


I wrote my book, Build a Green Small Business:  Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), specifically to help people start green businesses.  I wanted readers to explore the world of green business, and what running one of these wonderfully synergistic entities that combine social activism, human rights, and environmental protection, with free market, self-sustaining, good old fashioned capitalism would look like.  I originally wanted the book to contain 250 business plans, but my publisher saw things differently.  So my table of contents is a little slimmer than I would have liked, but I still feel like the public needs to see the VAST array of green businesses that are shaping the new economy.

So without further adieu, here is a list of green business opportunities for social entrepreneurs:

I.  Cleaning Service Businesses

1. Perc-free Dry Cleaner
2. Solar Laundromat
3. Waterless Car Washes

II.  Ecotourism and Related Services

1. Ecotourism Operation
2. Green Bed and Breakfast
3. Ecotransport Rental Service

III.  Entertainment & Events

1. Organic Foods Caterer
2. Wedding and Event Planner

IV.  Home/Office Service Businesses

1. Carpet and Floor Cleaning
2. Floor Installation
3. Home and Office Cleaning
4. Landscaping Design and Installation
5. Landscape Maintenance
6. Organic Garden Creation and Maintenance
7. Painting
8. Pool and Spa Cleaning and Maintenance
9. Sustainable Property Management

V.  Manufacturing and Wholesale Production

1. Biodiesel Cooperative
2. Gift Basket Service
3. Organic Farm
4. Plastic Recycling
5. Composting
6. Urban Farming and Permaculture

VI.  Personal Services

1. Fitness Training and Diet Planning
2. Green Real Estate Brokerage
3. Organic Food Delivery Services
4. Sustainable Foods Prep and Cooking Instruction
5. Sustainable Travel Planner
6. EcoConcierge and Relocation Specialist

VII.  Publishing, Local Media & Related Business

1. Green Product Catalog Producer
2. Publication Distribution Service
3. Free Magazine
4. Local TV and Radio
5. Community Newspaper
6. Green Blog

VIII.  Retail Food & Food Services

1. Organic Community Supported Agriculture
2. Farmer’s Market
3. Mobile Food Vendor
4. Free-Range, Organic Fresh-Mex Restaurant
5. Organic Coffee Shop
6. Organic Juice and Smoothie Bar
7. Organic Pizzeria
8. Raw Food Bar
9. Sustainable Buffet Style Restaurant
10. Sustainable Fast Food
11. Vegan Cafe
12. Food Co-op

IX.  Retail Non-food Operations

1. Organic Day Spa
2. Alternative Transportation Retail Store
3. Aveda Concept Salon
4. Commuter Bike Shop
5. Consignment Store–Women’s Clothing
6. Consignment Store–Kids Clothes and Toys
7. Consignment Store–Furniture
8. Consignment Store–Sporting Goods and/or Outdoor Gear
9. Edible and Organic Floristry
10. Floor Products
11. Green Building Supply Store
12. Building Product Salvage Store
13. Green Product Retail Store
14. Native and Organic Plant Nursery
15. Sustainable Printing Solutions Retail Store
16. Used Book Exchange
17. Kids’ Clothing, Apparel, and Toys
18. Car Sharing Service

X.  Services to Businesses and NonProfits

1. Fundraiser and Grant Writer
2. Green PR
3. Independent Sales Representative
4. Restaurant Delivery Service
5. Specialty Advertising
6. Energy Efficiency Auditing
7. Carbon Offsets
8. Green Job Training

XI.  Alternative Energy (See also Green Building)

1. Community Wind Power Development
2. Geothermal Developer

XII.  Green Building (See also Alternative Energy; Financial)

1. Green Remodeling
2. Flipping Houses
3. Carpentry
4. Green Architecture
5. HVAC Contracting
6. Electrician
7. Co-Housing
8. Sustainable Roofing

XIII.  Financial

1. Green Venture Capitalist
2. Green Investing and Financial Planning
4. Community Bank, Savings and Loan, Loan Funds
5. Community Micro-Finance

Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill), and hopes that someday the green economy will simply be referred to as…the economy.

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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on



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    As an attempt to turn my hobby into a weekend supplemental career, I’ve begun giving advice to friends, family and neighbors about reducing household electricity and water consumption. My web site is: http://www.slayenergyvampires.com
    I live in Tempe, AZ, so I’m available for in-home consultations to anyone nearby. Professional energy audits can provide more comprehensive advice, but they also charge about 10 times more than I do. Email and telephone advice is free, of course.
    I believe this kind of service has huge growth potential as a Green Entrepreneurial Business Opportunity!

  • GoGreenYay

    I would concur;going green has been profitable for the hospitality industry! I use http://www.EnvironmentallyFriendlyHotels.com to search out the green amenities a hotel has to offer-they list a hotel’s green features all the way down to if they compost. I appreciate when the eco-conscious community pulls together to keep others informed! Here’s hoping many more businesses see the profitability in it!

  • http://green-entrepreneur.com Jonathan

    Great list Scott!
    I think you may have missed becoming an associate and building a business with an already established ‘green’ network marketing company. This is quite easy and many people miss out on it. Yes, many network marketing companies are all marketing and no mission nor products, there is definitely a company or two trying to change the world for the better.

  • Joel

    Your book sucks dude, i’m surprised McGraw published it.

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    Transition from unsustainable energy and practices will require buy-in from everyone.
    Solar installers, Solar Sales and customer service, but most importantly, customers. We all need to start being those customers and walking our talk-
    We have 25 stores out there that can show you how…and if you would like to join us, well-come on in, the waters fine!

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    Great post. I really like your blog and I respect your work very much. I

  • http://www.churchsinternational.com Ana Church

    Thank you for taking the time to put together a list for possible green business. I am sure most of us appreciate your time. Our company is an international business consulting firm specializing in marketing and sale of green products and transportation fuel. We market our clients’ green products in global markets as export agents and we offer assistance with the transaction. We are looking to do business with women-owned green business enterprises from around the globe and we appreciate if those interested contact us.

  • Nancy Woodruff

    Thanks, Scott, for your listing of green businesses. May I suggest one other category that often gets overlooked? Natural Health Care is not only green business itself but it helps, in my view, drive other green business. As people learn from their natural practitioners about the causes of their health concerns and what to do about them, they go into the marketplace looking for green products. It especially drives sustainable and organic foods and healthy home care products. I suggest subcategories of nutraceutical/supplement companies, personal health products, and practitioners themselves such as naturapaths, chiropractors, massage therapists, holistic health practitioners, integrative health clinics, functional medicine MDs, alternative medicine MDs, etc. Thanks for your work.

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    We have recently been reviewed by the LA Times.
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2010/01/airigator-uses-airconditioning-runoff-for-garden-irrigation.html

    New Product Provides Water for Irrigation, During Drought Conditions.

    Tarpon Springs, Florida -October, 2009 — Your landscape plants are drying up and the leaves on your trees are curling. Watering restrictions have you confused as to which day and what time can you water. How can you save your landscape investment?

    The Air-igatorTM provides the most important part of the irrigation system, water. The Air-igatorTM automatically provides chemical, mineral, and cost free water. The Air-igatorTM system is ideal for Xeriscape planting and does not use a drop of our precious drinking water. It provides free water “from thin air” and the hotter it gets, the faster water is collected.

    The Air-igatorTM is a complete collection, storage, and distribution system, consisting of reservoir, pump and controller. The Air-igatorTM collects condensate from central air conditioners, and stores it until there is an adequate amount to run a drip irrigation cycle. The collected water is then distributed thru standard low-flow tubing and drip emitters. A float inside the reservoir will start the pump, and shut it off when the tank is empty.

    The Air-igatorTM can be located at the air conditioner drain, or anywhere the drain water can be collected. The reservoir is buried and can be covered by mulch or hidden by plants. The pump and float are plugged into the nearest 120V outlet and it will run unattended.

    Complete information at: http://www.airigator.com
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    Airigation Solutions
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  • http://www.GoGreenSWATTeam.com Mike

    Great site.. I just started eco-consululting (with the help of Go Green SWAT Team http://www.GoGreenSWATTeam.com). Amazing how much there is to learn! We help business and homes GO GREEN!!

  • Pingback: Become an Eco Entrepreneur | Smack The Money Maker

  • http://n/a Ramakrishnan Haridas

    It’s been a great eye opener in to the world of green initiatives. and similarly the ‘ecoprenuership’ opens greater avenues of enterprising and international cooperation.

    more over it helps to motivate millions of men who are eager to know about the green enterprising and its far-reaching opportunities.
    may your efforts bring the world’s green community closer and let us hope a greener tomorrow.

    let me dedicate my hearty appreciation to the efforts of Mr. Scott Cooney and his team.

    Thanks and best wishes.

    Ramakrishnan Haridas

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