ENTREPRENEURSHIP / AUG. 31, 2014
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How to Fund Your Green Startup

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A green startup, in many ways, is no different than any other startup. You can find financing from friends, family, angel investors, or venture capitalists. But, as a GREEN startup, there are a few options available that only exist for you and your eco-friendly endeavour. Just as there are firms that choose to only invest in tech, for example, so too are there companies and individuals that focus exclusively on green ideas.

There are more out there than you might initially think, so this is meant as an introduction to some of your options. You can find a lot more - specific to your industry and location - with a quick online search. But, to whet your appetite, here are a few to get you started…

Impact Hub

With locations (54 and counting) scattered around the world, Impact Hub looks to make an impact. Working like an incubator or accelerator, Impact Hub connects people, resources, programs, and physical space to entrepreneurs hoping to make a sustainable impact in some way.

Think Beyond Plastic

The Think Beyond Plastic initiative is both a forum and business accelerator that deals with - you guessed it - moving beyond our dependency on plastic. It aims to explore and promote businesses and tactics that address the plastic pollution problem. The accelerator will provide assistance with strategy, marketing, analysis, and finding the funds you need. Their focus is primarily (but not exclusively) reducing plastic in food packaging, medical waste, reduced plastic waste, and alternatives to styrofoam.

Green VC

Green VC is a website interested in connecting entrepreneurs and business owners concerned with environmental responsibility with the resources – including the funding - that they need. They list a number of funding options, as well as other resources, events, and partnerships.

True North Venture Partners

Primarily investing in energy, water, agriculture, and waste, True North Venture Partners (offices in Chicago and Phoenix) is looking for entrepreneurs hoping to make a positive contribution to the world and their industry. They offer both funding and expertise.

First Green Partners

Started by two men in Minneapolis, First Green Partners is an investment firm with over $350 million of venture capital available to invest in businesses and ideas that involve the carbon value chain. Their website lists “methods and tools to process renewable carbon” and “companies that apply clean technologies to processes involving fossil carbon feedstocks” as their umbrella interests.

LA Cleantech Incubator

The LA Cleantech Incubator assists startups in the cleantech industry. While they don’t provide any funding themselves, they do offer their Investment Intensive to green entrepreneurs, connecting them with bankers and advisors that can help find the financing they need. LACI also provides mentoring and other resources at every step of the startup process, as well as physical office space and networking opportunities.

The Green Investment Bank

Located in the United Kingdom, the Green Investment Bank is dedicated to creating a greener, stronger UK economy. The initiative is sponsored by the UK government and £3.8 billion of public funds. The firm backs and financially supports green commercial projects in industries like energy efficiency, offshore wind, waste and bioenergy, among others.

 

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Green projects used to have trouble finding investment, but that’s no longer true at all. The options are out there. Many companies recognize the importance of supporting - financially and otherwise - the next generation of socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs, and are ready to provide both. A “green” idea is no longer the kiss of death. The world has changed, and green, if anything, often trumps the alternative.

 

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