The Green Business Start-Up Launch Pad: People, Planet, Profit…
No fire engines, but plenty of fire-fighting as over 40 business people assembled in NE Hampshire for an innovative one day exploration of the issues facing green business.
Bordon’s converted fire station provided the venue, now revived and repurposed as the Town’s community Eco-station. The event was aimed at green business start-ups, the result of a European initiative to encourage and support responsible trading.
The conference kicked off with the unexpected. With coffee and Danishes still lingering, everyone was on their feet. WSX’s master of ceremonies Conroy Williams began the day with a brief exploration of the local green economy, helping delegates to assemble into like-minded groups, such as recycling, energy and bio-fuels, and then facilitating a useful conversation between start-ups and established businesses.
The theme of the day was interaction and discussion, and continued as the floor was then given over to an expert panel – Peter Richardson, Director of Eco-skill, an e-learning provider for sustainable business, Peter Grant, senior manager from WSX and Richard Hall from Future Solent, a local partnership to promote growth.
A lively session of question and answer preceded a focus on the triple bottom line – or people, planet and profit led by Peter Richardson. “Businesses should be doing things that address a societal need,” said Peter, continuing “It’s absolutely fair for businesses to make a profit but they should be in things that address societal need. Business has to get involved and find ways to make a profit out of addressing societal needs.”
Over lunch, delegates were invited to visit the eco-home, directly behind the Eco station and experience first-hand a well-designed energy efficient home.
Eco business champion James Heweston-Brown took the floor soon after, and in an entertaining presentation shared his journey from traditional Hampshire farmer to the growing of ready made wildflower meadows for customers as diverse as Paultons Park (Peppa Pig Land!) and the Olympic village.
Bringing the themes of the day together, the final session allowed delegates to once again assemble into groups, this time to analyse examples of start-up business plans. This final hour of the conference allowed delegates the opportunity to view some of the issues raised during the day – such as finance, business models and marketing – through the experience of a real business start-up.
Summing up, Conroy Williams from WSX who had facilitated the day, challenged the delegates to pool their collective know how to come up with a list of practical suggestions to help would be start-ups. Conroy said, “Today’s businesses cannot measure success purely by the profits they generate. Stakeholders want more than this: they want to know how they are affecting the world around them and the people within.”
A video was created to ask attendees about what People, Planet + Profit means to them – It really is worth a watch:
|If photos are more your thing, a slideshow of the day can be found here:|
Thanks also to Shedlight, who helped us create the eco-experience on the day and produced the excellent video above – Great Job!