Ask the Mompreneur:
There’s been a tremendous amount of buzz about “green jobs” and building a “green economy.” What kind of environmental business opportunities should entrepreneurs consider?
Entrepreneurs of all kinds should explore green business opportunities as a way of doing good while doing well. And since women are under-represented in this sector, we want to especially encourage female business owners and mompreneurs to look into this area.
The Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor recently released a green job guide including several reasons green jobs are good for women: better earning potential, opportunities for advancement, appeal to diverse skills and interests, greater satisfaction, growth in hiring, and multiple ways to get started.
Here are three specific business ideas for starting your own company in three areas of the green economy:
Solar Sales - Renewable Energy
Solar continues to grow as a desirable alternative energy source. Sales professionals can offer consulting services to contractors who want to focus on installation and need assistance with client interaction. A Solar Sales Professional develops leads and works with potential clients to assess needs, analyze the site, consider budget and possible return on investment, recommend system design, and research available incentives and rebates.
Starting in sales also gives the ambitious business owner time to work toward becoming an installer herself!
The Entry Level Solar certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is nationally recognized, has no prerequisite, and can be earned in less than two weeks. Certification verifies a basic knowledge of application, design, installation, and operation of PV Solar systems.
Energy Auditor - Home Performance
Energy auditors evaluate a home’s performance to identify and prioritize energy saving measures. Operating an energy auditing business allows women to manage their own schedule, educate homeowners, problem solve, work with technology, evaluate data, and provide a valuable service. Women who manage a household, especially one with children, tend to be conservationists by nature and are uniquely qualified for this type of work.
Everblue offers a Building Analyst course that prepares students for a nationally recognized certification in energy auditing. Students also have access to a marketing assistance program to help bring their energy auditing business to market. The program offers support for website development, social media implementation, advertising strategy and other marketing resources.
Sustainability Consulting - Corporate Sustainability
In today’s business climate, companies cannot afford to ignore issues of conservation, energy efficiency, and waste management. The potential benefits of sustainability to people, planet, and profits are undeniable and “going green” is considered a core business strategy.
A growing number of companies are looking to outside experts to help integrate sustainability into their business model. There is a demand for creative, innovative professionals with knowledge in areas such as cost benefit analysis, green building and purchasing, supply chain evaluation, and waste reduction. The needs of companies are as diverse as their corporate cultures. Chances are you have some prior experience that can be further developed to benefit a career in sustainability and contribute to the transformation of business strategy and practice.
Don’t wait for green opportunities to come to you. Do your research. Evaluate your skills. Educate yourself. Go for the green!
Jennie Wong, Ph.D., is a syndicated business writer, executive coach, and the author of “Ask the Mompreneur: Small Business Advice on Starting and Growing Your Own Company,” available at www.JennieWong.com. Email your entrepreneurship questions to TheJennieWong@gmail.com.