ENTREPRENEURSHIP / AUG. 19, 2015
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5 Best Industries for Green Startups

Starting a business comes with many pressures and responsibilities. Finding funding, sourcing staff and nailing a really good business plan are all part and parcel of the startup journey but in our society, there is also something else which is making itself felt in the world of commerce: The environment. The fact that we’re living in the midst of one of the biggest climate shifts ever experienced by mankind is undeniable and, despite the creation of more and more fuel-based technologies, increasing numbers of people are changing their habits to help the environment.

See Also: How to Fund Your Green Startup

Launching a new startup, then, has an extra added element and, even though it is not a requirement, the ability to make a new business as green as possible is something with which many people are concerned. Of course, certain industries lend themselves to the eco-friendly market more than others do and if you’re looking to start a business that has a positive impact on the environment, it pays to be savvy about it. There are some industries which are crying out for more green startups, and if it’s a road down which you’re thinking about heading, you should pay these sectors serious attention.

1. Biofuels

Undeniably, the biggest culprit in climate change is the fuel industry. The way in which we power our world has come under increasingly intense scrutiny over the last few decades and, although it is taking a little longer to make a change, the sector is finally listening up to the negative effects it might have been causing for all these years. For industry stalwarts, making the change from traditional fuels to eco-friendly ones is an incredibly slow process and with reams of red tape to get past they are beginning to lose out to newer, smaller companies. Launching a startup in the biofuel industry, then, is incredibly lucrative at this moment in time and if you want to make a change, you might think about jumping on the entrepreneurial bandwagon right now.

Increasingly innovative means of fuel are starting to filter through our daily lives and by this point, you’ve probably come across at least a few of the contemporary biofuel startups out there. With companies like Bio Bean tapping into capital cities’ waste coffee grounds to convert into energy, others like Greenergy are looking to second hand cooking oil and waste food products. Converting products that would have gone to waste into fuels, which serve an undoubtedly essential function in our lives, biofuel companies are shedding light on the business possibilities out there, showing how nothing in the world is without use.

2. Eco Homes

Housing crises are popping up all over the world at the moment and in order to save space and money, governments are looking to increasingly cheap ways in which to house their citizens. Whilst tower blocks might have little impact on the economy, they don’t exactly serve the environment and in order to make a change in the way we live, a number of startups are looking to reconstruct our homes from the ground up.

In the startup world, eco homes are a hot ticket right now, and many entrepreneurs are turning their attention to sourcing green ways in which to construct beautiful homes and simultaneously solve the housing crises that are hitting our major cities. Eco homes work to serve our societies in a huge number of ways. Built with green materials and insulation devices, they reduce the impact on our forests and natural resources; fitted with the latest energy saving technologies, such as solar panels, they help reduce the amount of fuel we need and save us money in the process. The eco home could really be the new way of living and, given the entrepreneurial attention the industry is currently receiving, it looks like it could become a new part of our societies even earlier than we might have anticipated.

3. Fashion

Whilst the fashion industry isn’t one that would typically spring to mind when we think about the environment, it is increasingly proving its worth in the race to become green and as a result, it is becoming something of a magnet for new startups. Known for its innovative way with materials and means of construction, the fashion industry is putting its adaptability to good use and by sourcing new, green fabrics and factories, is helping to make a very real change in the environmental issues.

Startups looking to make a splash in business are turning their attention to the fashion industry, innovatively sourcing new ways in which to produce items which are as eco-friendly as they are coveted. Fabrics are being constructed from waste materials sourced from increasingly innovative places, such as recycled plastics, waste milk and leftover crab fibres. The hunt to find the latest, most eco-friendly and long lasting material is seriously on and, all over the world, entrepreneurs are battling it out to reach the top of the fashion game. Shoppers themselves are becoming more and more concerned with the means in which their garments have been created and, thanks to the messages from designers like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, have come to see that just because a garment is eco-friendly, it doesn’t mean that it is not fashionable.

4. Cycling

green bike
shutterstock

City transportation systems are coming under ever increasing pressure and with our urban spaces filling up more quickly than they are expanding, many are crippling and failing under the sheer demand. As a result, city dwellers are turning back to their cars and in the process, contributing to the already polluted urban environment, driving any progress back made for the environment back. There is another way, however. Cycling is fast becoming one of the most popular alternative ways in which to travel and all over the world, startups are reaping the benefits.

Droves of people are taking to the saddle in a bid to cut fuel spending, get in shape and positively impact the environment. Many companies are taking note and the most innovative of entrepreneurs are investing in the industry, setting up cycle to work schemes in order to benefit both the environment and their employees. British company Yomp has gone one step further, adding a gaming element to their scheme which enables their staff to collect points and bonuses the more that they put their saddles to good use. Not only do projects like this one promote sustainability in the workplace but also, they help to connect startups and business to other eco-friendly businesses who can then band together to perpetuate greater environmental change.

5. Food

All over the world, the way that we eat is becoming a hot talking topic. With foodies being the flavour of the month, if not year, new cooks are cropping up all over the place and with it, increasing the demand for increasingly exotic ingredients. The trouble is, sourcing food from far flung places involves a lot of air travel and shipping and over time that becomes harmful for the environment. Even worse, the sheer demand for food has led to an increase in deforestation for farming purposes and with it, a rise in the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. In startup food hubs around the world, however, entrepreneurs are turning their attention to alternative sources of food, promising their customers a journey into the unknown in increasingly elaborate and unique dining experiences.

Ento in London is just one startup leading the change. Tapping into new ways of eating, the food company is just one force behind the current trend for eating insects and other unusual creatures which don’t require large farming areas or potentially harmful preparation. Whilst they might not be to everyone’s tastes, insects are an incredibly rich source of protein, and are finding more and more followers across the world. Eco-dining might be at the start of its entrepreneurial journey but, with the right kind of startup backers, it could be heading to great and glorious places.

See Also: How To Go Green at Work

Contrary to popular opinion, the business world is becoming increasingly involved in the world of climate change. Fronted by a few powerful entrepreneurs, new startups can be found leading environmental change that was utterly unthinkable ten years ago, providing the market with genuinely attractive alternatives to the current, harmful fare that we have come to use. Startups aren’t just about affecting the individual, and in these industries they have proved that, given the right backer and level of innovation, eco-friendly startups can lead to social change and transform the world in which we live for the better.

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