News + Resources

BLOG QUESTION #2

Randi Craigen - Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Values:
  List your 3 most important values for your startup business or ministry. Please rank the values from most important to least important and elaborate on why you placed them in the selected order.

BLOG QUESTION #1

L. Brian Jenkins, MA - Friday, January 26, 2018

IDEAS:  How is the idea for your business or ministry startup rooted in people?

Contexture Media Network

Randi Craigen - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lesley Martinez Etherly is a Chicago native with a passion for grassroots community development through the support of Strategic Marketing and Technology Resources. Lesley is the Founder and Executive Director of Contexture Media Network, a nonprofit media, web and tech organization working to support, grow and sustain economically challenged communities through digital education, production resources, and capacity support services. Contexture is Lesley’s direct answer to the ever-widening digital divide in low income and under-represented communities. Contexture’s team develops, trains and supports community development through the creation and strategic use of media, web and technology resources. Contexture is partnership focused and operates as an impact booster for organizations who are already committed to eliminating digital and economic gaps worldwide. Lesley believes in the ability to work together to sustain a 21st Century workforce development model and create a global media platform that is sustainable, inclusive and empowering.

Industry Profile: Green Technology

Rebekah Bishop - Tuesday, November 27, 2012
What is Green Technology, and how can it improve your business strategy?

Green technology has become a buzzword over the last few years, referring to a variety of innovative products and techniques designed to promote sustainable living. As both our need and awareness increases for alternative methods of protecting the Earth's resources, green business strategies have become valuable tools for increasing efficiency as well as attracting a growing market of eco-minded consumers. Many business owners still believe that green technology can benefit only those businesses involved in energy or food production, however, with the advances being made in areas such as heating systems and recycling methods, every business can find ways to employ earth-friendly alternatives to their existing processes.

Developing and providing green technology has been the platform for many new businesses to find their niche in a competitive world, businesses such as Wolbrink Architects Chartered, a Chicago architectural firm that designs and constructs eco-sensitive, energy efficient buildings. Their ongoing project, Green Dream, is creating ENERGY STAR-rated condos in Chicago. Impressively, each unit is between 46.5-57.5 % more energy efficient than ENERGY STAR's baseline standards. In response to this incredible innovation, Wolbrink Architects received the 2006, Mayor Daley's Greenworks Award for market transformation. http://www.wolbrinkarchitects.com/

Directly capitalizing on green technology, is the dry cleaning service, Greener Cleaner. Using a liquid silicone solution, the non-toxic alternative to the commonly used perchloroethylene, Greener Cleaner is able to say that their product is safer to use and non-hazardous to the environment to make or dispose; it also cleans more effectively and is gentler on fabrics, giving clothing longer life cycles and reducing waste. http://www.greenercleaner.net/

Even fashion can be green, as proved by Mountains of the Moon, an eco-friendly clothing line that focuses on sustainability and responsibility. They are committed to using only low-impact dyes and long lasting fabrics such as cotton and hemp, grown without the use of pesticides and manufactured in US, sweatshop-free facilities. Designer, Melissa Baldwell intentionally creates “designs that are stylish but that can also be worn for multiple seasons and that surpass short-lived fads and trends . . . less likely to end up in landfills.” http://www.mountainsofthemoon.com/

Innovative businesses like these are receiving encouraging responses for their contributions to the green movement. Not only do a growing number of consumers prefer green products, but some states and influential corporations have begun to offer incentives to green businesses. Several grant funds are available in Illinois, including assistance for installing efficiency technologies to incentives for green building projects. 

http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm?State=IL 

In the corporate world, the investment firm, Goldman Sachs, announced this year a “$40 billion target for financing and investing in clean technology companies over the next decade.” http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/focus-on/clean-technology-and-renewables/index.html

Other opportunities available to green-minded entrepreneurs include franchising schemes which allow you to operate your own business from an established platform. One such opportunity is being offered by EASI Energy Automation Systems Inc. which creates products designed to improve efficiency in existing electrical systems. EASI provides the needed training, tools and support to entering affiliates, and start up costs are minimal as inventory is kept by the corporation, and affiliates may work from home and at their own pace.

http://www.energysavingbusiness.com//energy-automation-systems-opportunity.php

Another valuable resource for Chicago entrepreneurs is the recent establishment of the Green Exchange building housing a wide range of tenants each operating a sustainable business within the localized community. Renovated from a factory built in 1913, the five story building now features state-of-the-art green technology including a green roof with 8,000 SF organic sky garden, high efficiency heating and cooling system, a 41,329 gallon rain cistern, and an escalator with occupancy sensors. Tenants benefit from increased exposure, synergy opportunities with like-minded businesses, and reduced overhead as a result of building efficiency and by sharing common spaces and amenities. http://www.greenexchange.com/

Opportunities like these make eco-awareness a valuable and even necessary consideration for forward thinking entrepreneurs. To learn more about how you can green your business or start a green business, visit these additional resources.

Green Certification and Industry Partnerships: http://www.sba.gov/content/starting-green-business

Find Green Business Grants: http://www.brightgreentalent.com/green-business/green-business-grants/

Green Franchise Opportunities:

http://www.franchisedirect.com/greenfranchises/?gclid=COnypqjA4LMCFexAMgod1VUAGw

5 Green Businesses You Can Start From Home: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/199952




CHICAGO+acumen Presents The Moral Pitch

Grace Yi - Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Post by CHICAGO+acumen

 

Seeing is Believing at The Moral Pitch: A Demo for Decency Event

Tired of hearing people talk about "saving the world?" Snoozefest...ZzzZzz...We were too! So we created a competition to feature those rare social innovators with visions big enough to actually do it and with solutions tangible enough to prove it.

On May 24, 2012, CHICAGO+acumen would like to welcome supporters of social enterprise and social change to The Moral Pitch: A Demo for Decency. Hosted at Chicago's newest innovation hub, 1871, The Moral Pitch is a business pitch competition showcasing innovators with demo-ready products and solutions that directly address social needs. Four social enterprises will compete to win prizes and services that help foster the growth of their endeavors and help achieve the visions that they've demo-ed.

All proceeds of the event will go to Acumen Fund, a non-profit venture fund that has pioneered a model that combines the best of charity and economic markets to change the way the world tackles poverty! Since its founding in 2001, Acumen Fund has invested more than $70 million of philanthropic capital in 65 breakthrough enterprises that serve the poor by providing access to health, energy, housing, water, agriculture, and education to low-income customers in South Asia, East Africa, and West Africa.

CHICAGO+acumen is a volunteer-organized chapter that supports the mission of Acumen Fund by spreading awareness of its pioneering work and fundraising to expand the growth of its projects. We are excited to show off the bold ingenuity of Chicago-based social entrepreneurs and to invite fans of social change in on the spectacle. If you're interested in seeing how a "saved world" will be achieved, or in meeting other local dreamers, do-gooders, and changemakers, The Moral Pitch: A Demo for Decency is the must attend event.

To find out more details about the event and purchase tickets to attend, please visit our event page, www.moralpitch.com, or visit us on Facebook.

 

 

Be Human, Do Good

Grace Yi - Thursday, March 22, 2012

 Posted by Grace Yi 

 

 

Do you believe in change?

Let me rephrase that. Do you believe that you and I can make a significant, lasting impact on society that affects the lives of people in a positive way?

I do. And so do a lot of other people. Everyone, however, seems to have an idea on how change can--or can't--occur. But ideas are fruitless without real action.

Luckily, there are unique and creative forums to exchange ideas and best practices with individuals and organizations that are doing just that: taking action to make big impact.

Such is the case with The !deation Conference, which will be held this May 7-9 in Chicago, IL. Intentionally formatted to create a rich learning and sharing experience, the conference will gather some of the most innovative thinkers and practitioners in the social good space (e.g., for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, influencers, etc.) to assist current professionals in their respective social impact work.

We're honored to be presenting at The !deation Conference with other influencers and look forward to sharing how a simple, effective, and scalable system such as StartingUp Now can be a model for others looking to help individuals and groups create their own opportunities.

Check out the website here and make sure to use the promotion code "startingup" to save 15% off your registration.


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