I spoke at a couple of events on April 29 in the Hudson Valley, talking about green business opportunities. One was a workshop I did sponsored by SUNY Ulster in Kingston New York, and the other was a luncheon with GET (Gateways to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows). Both provided insight into the powerful response of people getting into action to move their lives and the economy forward.
Attendees at the SUNY Ulster workshop all shared a common interest in the opportunities of the green economy, although they are pursuing a variety of paths to get there. Some are looking for a job, others want to green their existing business, and some are searching for new opportunities for green businesses.
I focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency in buildings in the workshop, talking about trends supporting the growth of these areas, as well as markets and strategies for finding jobs or creating businesses. I’m often asked “What is the big opportunity you see for green businesses right now?” There is not a one size fits all answer to this question. The opportunities are as varied as the people who provide solutions. These fields both have huge growth ahead, for people with specific technical skills (electricians, contractors), as well as those who have more general business skills (sales, marketing, finance, business management). Whether they are looking for a job, or want to start a business, part of the solution I tell people is to do a self evaluation of the resources they have, and match this up with the opportunities that excite them, putting together a path to move forward.
At the GET Luncheon, I gave an overview of green opportunities, including some from my book, along with the trends that will keep green growing for many years to come. I find increasingly that while not everyone has been green all their life, that the entrepreneurs, politicians, and activists are increasingly on the same page, moving forward together to help the economy and the environment.
The luncheon was followed by the kickoff for the Hudson Valley Entrepreneurial Conference hosted by GET, a free event to help entrepreneurs get started with advice, training, and practical information to help them start their own business. Many of those starting businesses today are doing so out of necessity, and greatly need help to get started. Important resources like GET are seeding the creation of small businesses which revitalize lives and communities in a difficult time.
One final note – Melissa Everett, Executive Director of Sustainable Hudson Valley deserves credit for getting in contact with me to make the trip, and giving me the opportunity to see first hand the great work going on the Hudson Valley to go green from the ground up.