Day 75: Becoming an Eco-Entrepreneur

by Sarah Devika Sumnauth

So through reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, I’m starting to get a better understanding of myself as an Eco-entrepreneur. In his definition, a lean startup must maintain certain key components - they must be capital efficient (spend less, but gain more), leverage human creativity whenever possible, rely on validated learning (which I already love and am currently practicing), shorten development cycles (which I’m working on) and measure actual progress without fluffing up metric numbers. 
In all of this, the ideals of Eco-entrepreneurism are apparent.

I personally believe that to be able to call yourself an Eco-entrepreneur you must possess a high level of conscientious thought. That level of thought has to be applicable not only to the customer base you serve but also to your business model and your means of starting up and beyond.


Because in that manner you can see more aptly where your losing out on valuable money and resources. This is important because as the old adage goes, “waste not,want not” is central to environmentalism and also to classical modes of manufacturing and production like those seen in the early days of Toyota.  In the early 1930s the founders of Toyota looked to streamline their production and manufacturing process and efficiency became the name of the game.  It was highly laudable. Production happened in a flowing mechanism that was triggered by demand and smart automation ruled largely due to a need to write human error out of the equation.
Within that idea, I think Eco-entrepreneurism can thrive, because we too can conduct ourselves in an efficient manner.  But where this definition gets stretched is through the belief that eco-entrepreneurism has to recognize within itself a certain level of ethical and  moral conduct when dealing with people and the environment too. 
Ideas like fair trade (a term I actually dislike because it does not reprimand regular trade as unfair, and sets itself up with a considerable markup for consumers, which is another discussion altogether…), and carbon neutrality, organic certification and recyclable packaging whenever possible are all important now more than ever.  They define this species of creative producers and set them apart from the rest.  I want to see these ways of conducting simple production and manufacturing flourish, and really help to better the world as a whole.
That’s the reality of an eco-entrepreneur.  I'm proud to consider myself one because I want to stand strong in my beliefs, learning as I go along and sharing my experiences with you everyday, while maintaining my allegiance to the environment and to the art of business.  Our roots as business people may come from the Toyota paradigm but the discussion of today’s world leads me to believe that we will be the eventual future. 
So if you’re on the startup path, know that you too can be an eco-entrepreneur. 
All you have to do is care.