Guest Written by Julie Morris
You love the Earth and no doubt want to make sure you’re fulfilling your responsibility to our planet. But you also are full of big ideas and want to make your mark on society with the business of your dreams.
Here are some resources for putting your environmental focus to use and making sure your business is putting its best foot forward in terms of its impact on the environment:
First thing’s first: What is ECOpreneurship?
“ECOpreneurship” is an amalgamation of several concepts: entrepreneurship and environmentally sound practices. This denotes a way of doing business that’s environmentally ethical and driven by social and environmental goals.
You are a practicing “ECOpreneur” if you care about the environment, want to make a difference in how your company impacts the earth, and aren’t completely focused on financial or economic goals — the “social” goals are the bulk of your modus operandi.
What is your business?
If you already have an idea of what you want your sustainable business to be, great! If not, here are a few ideas:
- Rehabilitating old furniture that would otherwise go to a landfill
- Participating in a local farmers’ market
- Making and selling your own soap
Sustainability is a booming sector. The market for green technologies and sustainability is expected to grow from $8.7 billion in 2019 to $28.9 billion by 2024 — meaning now is the time to take the plunge.
There are several options for funding when you want to run an environmentally-friendly business, some of which are not available to other kinds of companies. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), for example, provides resources for businesses engaged in scientific research and development (Small Business Innovation Grants). The SBA also has a list of resources for grant programs for green energy buildings and other important considerations.
Federal loans and grants are other options, but you can also take other methods into consideration, as well. For instance, crowdfunding is something you can think about if you don’t qualify for federal funding. In addition, crowdfunding is a good way to market your product to your desired customer base, so you accomplish two things in one swoop.
A big step for any company is to make sure you can operate in the U.S., which involves declaring a business status. If you form a limited liability company (LLC), there are several benefits.
For one, you file taxes for your company along with your personal returns, so there aren’t separate documents to be filed. For another, your personal assets are protected so that you aren’t liable if the company were to come under legal fire.
If you’re registered as an LLC, most states require you to file an annual report for your business. Failure to submit this report on time can lead to fees and penalties. The process of filing an annual report can be simplified when you use a service like Zenbusiness.com.
Your new earth-friendly business is subject to legal trappings. As far as environmental laws and regulations are concerned, there are several you should also become familiar with, including clean water laws, environmental violations, and endangered species regulations. There are national and local restrictions, as well, so make sure to do your research.
Get started now
You have an idea, you have the funding, and you’ve formed your LLC. What’s next? Simply get started! And for more quality, engaging content, resources, and the latest on building a cleaner planet and coming together as a community to face the climate crisis, visit Zero Waste Lifestyle today.