10 Green Business Ideas for New Entrepreneurs

#1 – Healthy, Local Food Movement #

This concern creates an opportunity for organizations offering healthy food grown locally without the chemicals and pesticides that can damage human and environmental health. Starting such an enterprise is a great way to support your local economy, promote community health, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Urban farms and gardens also provide much-needed safe, outdoor areas for kids to play and interact with nature . To learn more about urban farming, please refer to the Green For All publication Overview of Urban Farming.

Potential business opportunities

  • Café or Coffee Cart: Sell organic, fair-trade coffee and tea at your own café or from a cart at local events.
  • Coffee Roasting: Roast and sell local, organic coffee.
  • Urban farm or garden
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program: Grow healthy food, then sell memberships (or shares) to consumers, who in turn receive a designated allocation of seasonal produce throughout the farming season.
  • Local grocery store or cooperative
  • Organic restaurant or catering service
  • Garden Training: Teach basic gardening skills to adults and youth so they can grow their own healthy food.

#2 – Renewable Energy Alternatives, Green Collar Job Training, and Green Business Incubators #

To curb global warming, we need to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and turn instead to alternative, renewable sources of energy on a large scale (e .g ., solar, wind and geothermal energy). That will require a number of new policy regulations and tax incentives to promote the use of renewable energy by homeowners and businesses alike. These governmental efforts, combined with general interest in clean energy, are expanding the market for such products and services . Emerging entrepreneurs can take advantage of this opportunity in a number of ways.

Potential business opportunities

  • Solar Installation: Install solar panels or solar water heaters.
  • Wind Turbines: Distribute or install small wind turbines.
  • Job Training: Whether as a for-profit business or a non-profit organization, train low-income residents to be the green-collar workers of the future.
  • Green-Business Incubator: Support- first-time entrepreneurs aiming to solve environmental and social problems in their communities.
  • Expand Access to Renewables: Develop an innovative business model that increases access to renewable-energy technologies.
  • Provide Renewables Directly: Partner with state programs to provide renewable-energy alternatives to low-income communities, reducing their electricity bills.

#3 – Green Transportation #

Many forms of transportation (such as traditional, gasoline-engine cars) contribute to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Gas-powered cars also create smog in our cities, which can harm overall public health. Starting a business that offers alternative transportation solutions can benefit both the environment and community health. You can do this in any number of ways, from something as simple as fixing up old bikes to something more ambitious like starting up a green cab company in your city.

Potential business opportunities

  • Electric Bike and Scooter Dealership
  • Refurbishing Bicycles: Refurbish and sell used bikes.
  • Community Bike-Share Program
  • Green Cab Company: Use hybrid vehicles to help people get where they’re going.
  • Promoting Alternative Transportation: Start a non-profit to find innovative ways to promote alternative forms of transportation.
  • Car-Sharing Program

#4 – Green Product Innovation and Consumer Goods Retail #

Consumers are becoming more aware of the health and environmental impacts of the products they use every day (e .g ., the enormous amounts of water and pesticides required to produce cotton). Demand for safe, effective, non-toxic products that do not harm the environment is steadily growing. Opportunities abound for innovative entrepreneurs to meet this demand with home-based businesses.

Potential business opportunities

  • Organic Clothes: Design and produce organic clothes for babies and adults using sustainable materials like organic cotton and natural dyes.
  • Online Retail: Take advantage of a growing market by selling goods online, such as sustainable baby goods or green home and bath products.
  • Natural Make-Up and Body Care: Market all-natural make-up and body care products, made from organic ingredients and not tested on animals.
  • Green Everyday Products: Develop daily-use products that help consumers cut their greenhouse gas emissions, minimize waste and reduce their exposure to toxins.

#5 – Green Home- and Office-Cleaning Services #

As awareness about the health and environmental impacts of toxic substances grows, so does the demand for fewer toxins in the home and workplace. Toxic cleaning agents can be harmful to humans, particularly janitors, house cleaners, and residents in buildings where volatile organic compounds (VOC) may affect indoor air quality. Some toxic ingredients in cleansers not only can harm those in the buildings where they are used, but can pollute the greater environment and adversely impact community water quality as well. Many businesses are implementing new sustainability initiatives that address employee health, create safe workplaces, and reduce the environmental impacts of their operations. These businesses, as well as concerned residents, are creating a market for cleaning companies that use environmentally friendly cleaning products and techniques.

Potential business opportunities

  • Green Housecleaning: Offer green housecleaning services using all-natural and biodegradable cleaning supplies.
  • Green Janitorial Services: Offer green janitorial service for offices or schools.
  • Train and Certify Green Cleaners: Start a training and certification program for low-income residents to open their own green cleaning businesses, or to green their existing cleaning businesses with new products and techniques.

#6 – Become Part of the ReUse Revolution! #

Recycling is a great alternative to throwing things away, but reusing materials is even better. Making new consumer goods from landfill-bound materials reduces waste, preserves space in overflowing landfills, and curbs global warming. Remaking consumer goods (also called upcycling) is also becoming hip as entrepreneurs find ways to make fashion statements with recycled clothing and salvaged furniture. And a niche market is growing within the construction industry for used building materials.

Potential business opportunities

  • Salvage: Become a salvage expert, removing, selling, and installing used building materials for a profit.
  • Furniture: Make furniture out of scrap materials, or refurbish old furniture to be sold as improved.
  • Clothes: Design and produce clothes from recycled or used fabrics.

#7 – Energy-Efficient Homes and Green Building Retrofits #

With energy costs rising at an alarming rate, many homeowners and businesses are turning to efficiency experts to help them reduce their monthly utility bills. Increasing efficiency not only cuts costs, it also helps the environment. American buildings are responsible for one-third of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions; they consume more than 60% of America’s electricity. Constructing and operating buildings also takes an environmental toll, requiring large amounts of raw materials and water. By bringing existing buildings up to current standards, we can avoid constructing new buildings, drastically reducing raw materials consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Potential business opportunities

  • Energy Audits: Offer energy audits that help homeowners and businesses improve energy efficiency and save money on their utility bills.
  • Duct Cleaning and Repair: Improve indoor air quality and seal up leaks, which increases energy efficiency.
  • Green Retrofits: Perform energy-efficiency and green building retrofits (e.g., weatherization, solar panel installation and solar thermal installation) to help building owners reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the value of their property.
  • Cool Roofing: Install cool roofs, made from materials that reflect the sun’s heat instead of allowing a building to absorb that heat. Cool roofs increase energy eff iciency and reduce the heat-island effect in urban areas. Cool roof installations comply with green building codes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Green Roofing: Install green roofs (or “living roofs”) covered with vegetation and soil. Green roofs have many environmental and energy-efficiency benefits, helping reduce urban air temperatures, providing building insulation, and creating habitat for wildlife.
  • Green Building Products: Supply green building products to the growing green construction industry.

#8 – Green Landscaping and Green Plumbing #

People with backgrounds in plumbing or landscaping are in high demand as buildings look to conserve water and reduce their energy consumption. Water and energy efficiency are prerequisites for the increasingly valuable LEED certification, expanding demand for these services even further. Many consumers are also considering alternatives to grass lawns, which require significant amounts of water and chemicals to maintain. Gas-powered mowers make grass lawns even bigger environmental liabilities, polluting as much in one hour a car does during a 20-mile drive. Green landscaping can minimize chemical, fossil fuel, and water inputs. Conserving water is particularly important . Climate change and an ever-expanding human population are squeezing the supply of potable water. More than a billion people worldwide have no access to clean drinking water, a point that is likely to lead to political tension and instability as the demand for water grows.

Potential business opportunities

  • Green Landscaping: Help property owners protect the environment, conserve water, and have beautiful gardens.
  • Native-Plant Nursery: Grow and sell drought-resistant native plants in your community.
  • Green Garden & Lawn Retail: Offer environmentally friendly lawn and garden care products.
  • Green Plumbing: Install tankless water heaters, low-flow toilets, and passive solar water heating systems in client buildings.
  • Green Plumbing Retail: Become a retailer of and advocate for low-flow, water efficient toilets, tankless water heaters, and passive solar water heaters in your community.

#9 – Green Information Technology (IT) #

Computers and other IT products (e .g ., data switches, routers and servers) are essential to many businesses operating in the world today. Many medium and large businesses dedicate significant space to this equipment, creating data centers in centralized, secure, temperature-controlled conditions. Most companies are looking to save money by reducing the costs associated with their data center operations, which have significant power requirements, without sacrificing quality or security.

Potential business opportunities

  • Efficiency Consulting: Offer businesses analysis of their data centers’ energy consumption and propose cost-saving changes.
  • Green Data Center Design and Construction
  • IT Training: Enhance overall efficiency by teaching best practices to IT teams at large corporations.
  • E-Cycling: Recycle electronic waste.

#10 – Green, Grassroots Community Lending and Microfinancing #

Many great business ideas never take shape due simply to a lack of access to capital. In particular, entrepreneurs in low-income and distressed communities find it nearly impossible to borrow money from traditional banks. They often lack credit history or sufficient collateral, and may be asking for a loan too small to be considered. This presents opportunities for socially responsible entrepreneurs to make seed funds available at low rates. Supporting green entrepreneurs in distressed communities can stimulate economic development, scale green jobs, and reverse the environmental degradation of urban centers.

If you are a trusted, well-connected member of your local community with a financial background, consider launching a non-profit green microfinancing institution (MFI) or a green microlending program. There are a few different models of microfinance and microlending, so we recommend you contact organizations that can help you get started.

Potential business opportunities

  • Green Microfinancing: Start a green microfinancing institution to fund new entrepreneurs who aim to enhance environmental quality and social equity.
  • Community Lending Circle: Organize a community lending circle with fellow women, fellow community members, or fellow immigrants.
  • Online Finance Community: Start an online community to connect green microfinance institutions and green lending circles so that more low-income entrepreneurs can benefit from this model of community green financing.

Source #

Ten Green Business ideas for new entrepreneurs, Green For All