Boost a "Green" Business


I’m always on the hunt for businesses that are genetically predisposed to being green. This quest recently took me to Forbes.com where I learned about a new contest in progress called “Boost Your Business”. The contest gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas on the Forbes.com website and win some much needed capital for their businesses. The contest began in late March and over 1000 people entered. Now the contestants have been cut to 20.

I scanned the list of contestants for the genetically green and out of the 20 two leaned toward green and two were green through and through, Recycline and The Happy Gardener. Here’s the scoop…

Simply put, Recycline takes trash from other companies and turns it into high quality long-lasting household and personal care products that are recyclable. Eric Hudson, founder of Recycline, wanted to start a company that reused earth’s resources more effectively, particularly recycling. He focused on developing high quality goods made from recycled materials. To date Recycline products, sold under the Preserve brand, have used nearly 100 tons of recycled plastic and have won awards such as the Organic Design Award for their Preserve Toothbrush.

A little over a year ago, Stonyfield Farm, one of the largest producers of yogurt today and a company known for its green practices, approached Recycline about using its used yogurt cups as feedstock. It took a while for Recycline to work out a process for using the yogurt cups, but that hurdle has been passed and so far 2 million yogurt cups that would have ended up in a landfill have been used to make products such as the Preserve toothbrush. At present, 65% of the plastic Recycline uses for its products is donated by Stonyfield Farm.

Recycline has its sights set on getting its products into the hands and homes of mainstream consumers. They have just launched their Preserve product line in Wal-Mart stores nationwide as part of the retailer’s initiatives to “go green”. Even with the Wal-Mart deal, this genetically green business has an uphill climb when it comes to drawing business away from the better known brands.

The Happy Gardener is a direct sales company that promotes organic gardening. Their garden consultants will come to your home and educate you and your guests about organic gardening and their line of environmentally safe products. Think Tupperware for the organic gardener. Annette Pelliccio, started The Happy Gardener because she was passionate about organic gardening and wanted to stay home with her kids. She was concerned about the negative effects of chemical pesticides and fertilizers on children and pets. S he researched what it would take to create her own line of organic products to use with her family. After completing her research, she decided to “make my passion for environmental products a home-based business”. Since she began in 2003 she’s grown The Happy Gardener from 0 independent garden consultants to a force of 200 and was named an AOL "Top 10 Work from Home Job" in 2007.

Annette would like to use the $100,000 to register The Happy Naturals products with OMRI (Organic Measures Research Institute); develop more healthy products for pest and weed control; purchase better online e-commerce services for customers/reps; move into a warehouse; and hire a distribution staff and a customer service rep.

The two other contestants leaned green were Freight Wing and Idle Free. Freight Wing develops and sells aerodynamic attachments for semi-trailers to reduce fuel consumption and emissions in the trucking industry. Idle Free System is a patented hybrid tractor trailer system that produces energy when the unit’s engine is running. The energy is transferred to sealed batteries (inside the truck) and the reserve power can be used to run heating and air conditioning for the driver when the truck is stopped.

Now back to the “Boost Your Business” contest. An interesting part of this contest is that you can vote for the businesses that you believe should or should not win the contest. The winner will receive $100,000 to boost their business. Voting for the five finalists continues until August 31, 2007. This is your chance to help some green entrepreneurs. Take a few minutes and check out the finalist in the Boost Your Business contest. Then vote for the ones that are working to lighten the load on the planet.

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