New business owners should give more preference to the existence of a tradeoff between economic gains and eco-social goals. Is there a chance that sustainable development will yield profits? Nevertheless, researchers reported finding a direct connection between environmentalism and entrepreneurialism. Therefore, ecopreneurship is the best solution.

Who is an ecopreneur?

Ecopreneur is a combination of two words: entrepreneur and ecology. A new stream concentrates on the preservation of nature and the environment. An ecopreneur is a person who uses eco-friendly technology, goods, and services.

Entrepreneurs and businesses are becoming aware of how the environment is moving rapidly towards degradation because of air pollution connected with large industries. The entrepreneurs are concerned about humanity as well as are motivated to earn profits.  

Driving forces of ecopreneurship

The Ecopreneurship concept depends on innovation, long-term sustainability, and care for the environment.

  • Growth of worldwide population and limited availability of resources
  • Desire to live a long and healthy life with the help of pure water and organic food
  • Climate change adverse impacts
  • Decline in the natural resources
  • Increased dis-equality among mankind

The positive impact of ecopreneurship are -

  • Social justice  - Helps community transform and become more eco-friendly
  • Environmental protection  - Protects planet and tries to slow down or reverse damages done due to human activity. [e.g. water is getting purer as less toxic waste is thrown]
  • Economic prosperity  - Ecopreneurship even aims to yield profits from selling sustainable goods or services. It is essential to keep the economy going or it will crash!
  • Intra & inter-generational equity  - Give everyone equal opportunity to enjoy the same standard of life quality. 

New ventures that look beyond economic goals can become successful businesses quickly using a green model. Below is a list of five young entrepreneurs who embraced ecopreneurship and built a successful business. 

Elliot Cooper, CEO of Coops Kicks

In 2017, Elliot Cooper, a 13-year-old boy from a Brooklyn high school, launched an online sneaker reselling business called Coops Kicks. He focuses on “hyped” sneakers which have high margins and scarce supply (Air Jordans, Yeezys, etc.). Some of his customers include high-profile celebrities and athletes.

Along the way, he realized that his business was contributing to polluting the environment. He started a fundraising drive with GotSneakers, a sneaker recycling organization, and started collecting pre-owed sneakers from his community that would otherwise end up in the trash. The sneakers are recirculated to people who want quality, reusable footwear at affordable prices or repurposed into new surfaces such as playgrounds and tracks. The generated revenue is then donated to ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ environmental group.

Tom Osborn, CEO of Greenchar

At 17, Tom Osborn founded Greenchar - a clean energy company. He realized that charcoal was damaging his mother’s health as well as the environment. Greenchar was developed. These are smokeless charcoal briquettes sourced from agricultural waste. 

It indirectly fights deforestation. Tom is affiliated with popular institutions like Echoing Green, MIT, and General Electric. Customers are happy because they experience an efficient and smokeless cooking environment.

Zoe Robinson, CEO of The Good Robe

Zoe Robinson founded The Good Robe, a popular hub serving fashion-conscious shoppers on how to prolong their favorite garments life. When she was a fashion writer, Zoe saw that there was a huge gap between ethically sourced and affordable clothing in the market. 

The Good Wardrobe offered a platform, where people shared sewing, stitching, and even alteration knowledge. Her ‘Sew It’ culture brought fashionista subculture committed to recycling wardrobe content. 

Zoe’s embrace of ecopreneurship has brought her many tributes like the designation of London Leader and praises in the Sustainable City Awards 2014 for fashion.

Samantha Anderson, CEO of DePoly SA

Samantha obtained Ph.D. to discover a technology that could disintegrate PET plastic bottles and thus handle the massive plastic waste issue that was filling the landfills rapidly. She along with two other founders of their company DePoly SA, Bardiya Valizadeh and Chris Ireland successfully produced a technology of depolymerizing PET plastic waste. 

After the launch of DePoly SA, the PET waste is depolymerized at room temperature without extra pressure or heat. The raw material produced is similar to the ones petrol industry produces in quality.

Colin Crooks, CEO of Green-Works

Colin Crooks launched Green-Works with two aims. One was to avert the huge furniture ending up in landfills and the second was to help charitable groups. Green-Works recycle, reuse, or refurbish the cast-off items from businesses and offers charities and schools low-cost furniture. They employ disabled, homeless, and underemployed people in their company. Since its launch in 2001, the company has averted 20,000+ tons of unwanted furniture from going to landfills or waste. 

These young ecopreneurs are a great inspiration to everyone!