May 07, 2008
Nonprofit, university teams target green business growth
The nonprofit Center for Economic Options is
partnering with eight universities across the state to research how
Green — or environmentally sustainable businesses — includes firms that supply the growing market for more earth-friendly products and services, and those that try to decrease their own ecological footprint, according to CEO officials.
According to CEO Director
“This is the emerging area for enterprise development,” she said. “The opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurial development in the green sector is definitely worth exploring.”
CEO is developing a green business network to connect people engaged in green enterprise. According to Curry, this network will help identify and bring resources, training and other forms of support to eco-conscious firms.
“Networks provide an environment that enable people to start, operate and expand businesses much more quickly than they if are working in isolation,” she said. “As we set out to build this network, working with the state’s universities was a natural step.”
Some teams are investigating specific industry sectors while others are focused on marketing trends, economic research and strategies for retooling the state’s existing manufacturing infrastructure to support emerging green technologies.
“Through working with the universities, our strategy is to connect young people and others to the importance of environmental sustainability and the potential for green enterprise development to become an increasingly viable economic driver,” Curry said.
For more information contact CEO at 345-1298 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Fred Pace
According to Ron Basini, entrepreneurial studies program and business incubator director at Concord University, the student team will focus on completing a West Virginia-based logistics and marketing plan for the distribution and marketing of locally grown vegetables and herbs, and free range poultry and/or game products.
He envisions the students’ plan will include market, sales, funding analysis, supply, warehousing, sorting/cleaning/packing and related consolidation, and transportation cost projections.
“The ultimate objective of the project is to prepare a plan that will present the financial and operational feasibility and the risks associated with a wholesale produce company being formed for this market within the next two to three years,” Basini said.
According to Dean Myles, program coordinator of MSU’s medicinal botanicals program, as the world begins to enter into a new “green era,” the possibilities for local sustainable businesses that center around the production of high quality medicinal herbs, culinary herbs and produce for local farmers markets, restaurants, individual consumers and herbal practitioners are becoming evident. As consumers begin to demand locally produced products, MSU is exploring how a green business network can assist local farmers and entrepreneurs to produce not only traditional crops but alternative crops and other non-timber forest products to meet this demand.
The focus of the student team will be reducing waste, developing a waste recycling network to compost organic waste to supply growers’ need and reduce the use of conventional fertilizers, and to lower growers’ cost of production and delivery.
According to Dr. Mark Wilson, professor of economics, students can participate in Green Business Network feasibility work as part of a community service portion of the curriculum. “In the fall semester, student teams will work in conjunction with the Southern Appalachian Labor School to provide affordable green housing materials and installation,”