By Alex Brug, MBA Candidate 2012
Before starting my internship this past Spring trimester, I had a couple different industries that I was pursuing, one of them being the green or sustainability industry. One reason for this interest was the growing rate of investment in the sustainability area. Even with the downturn in the economy, investors and companies continue to see the value in green technologies and sustainability programs. More importantly, I find the green industry gives me a greater feeling of personal investment, as these organizations often promote triple-bottom-line capitalism.
I finally accepted an internship at The Green Business BASE CAMP. I was attracted to this internship because a Pepperdine acquaintance, Rob Bikel, (MBA ‘11), had worked on the original business plan. Upon speaking with him, he had really excited me about the founder of the company, Carrie Norton, and the possibilities for the growth of the organization.
The Green Business BASE CAMP (GBBC) is a start-up company, which will be conducting six four-day workshops over the next year. The first “base camp” will be taking place in the Los Angeles during February. Beyond these workshops, the 100 carefully selected green entrepreneurs will have access to online lessons and the Green Business BASE CAMP online community to help further their network or seek assistance for any further needs in starting their business.
A Green Business BASE CAMP workshop will include four to five customized modules for the 100 entrepreneurs and a daily keynote speaker who will address the audience on issues affecting the general green industry. After, the 100 entrepreneurs will be broken down into four or five breakout sessions where they will participate in a customized module pertaining to issues in their industry; here they will gain industry-specific tools and knowledge to better their chances of success. These customized modules will be taught and the curriculum created by field leading experts invited to speak at the workshop. Of course, all of the entrepreneurs will be provided the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with all the invited experts during the social and free time provided at the four-day event. Besides access to experts, a Green Business BASE CAMP will allow each entrepreneur the opportunity to network with 100 other like-minded people, hopefully creating a community of support for each attendee.
One of the unique aspects of participating in a start-up company is, obviously, the opportunity to be part of a new idea or new innovation from the onset. Additionally, a new business often requires employees to work with a willingness on several projects at one time and employ people with a wide skillsets.
After my first year of business school, I had become used to multi-tasking, so this type of organization intrigued me. I was given several different projects to focus on, the most urgent being the securing of sponsors for the workshops to help to limit the initial costs for GBBC. I researched ten companies who passionately promote sustainability within their organizations and helped to create customized sponsorship letters, outlining the benefits of the partnership with GBBC. This project forced me to think creatively about how I wanted to deliver the exciting value of GBBC to a potential partner. I was also asked to find possible locations for the first workshop and present the relevant cost information to make a better comparison to our original budget.
Finally, I began the creation of the entrepreneur application, which the workshop selection process will come from. This application consisted of value-adding questions about the entrepreneur, their motivation in sustainability, and how they are going to differentiate themselves.
I was very excited to be part of the Green Business BASE CAMP this summer. Working with Carrie and learning from her expansive knowledge of the sustainability sector was a unique introduction to green business that few have the pleasure to experience. I’m looking forward to continuing my education in sustainability this year with the completion of the SEER certificate and participating in the one-week Patagonia trip to Chile.
Alex is a second-year MBA student from Ventura, California. In addition to a concentration in finance, Alex will also be completing his SEER (social, ethical and environmentally responsible) certificate in Spring 2012.
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