Observatory of Green Businesses
Management consulting (Sustainability and sustainable business development)
We help businesses be sustainable, responsible, and profitable by supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals - a global framework to create a better world by 2030.
Size of business
Our business consists of three employees and two interns, supported by a wide network of partners. Our clients range from small local businesses to large multinationals, with everything in-between. We turnover about £100K per year, and invest any profits back into generating youth employment.
Although we didn’t access any support in our first year of setting up the business, in our second year we received advice from Boost Lancashire and were introduced to Lancaster University. Working with the University has been great, as we share similar aims around generating youth employment. They’ve provided us with fully funded access to interns through the Unite Plus program, their Global Centre for Eco Innovation, and through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The interns have been fantastic, and have delivered some great research, story writing, and social media for our project at www.supportthegoals.org.
Opportunities and plans for the future
The opportunities of setting up a business in the environmental sector are tremendous. The world is changing, and we really need creative thinkers who can help to create innovative technologies and ways of working, and who can help others to understand how to operate within the limits of our environment. I particularly see huge opportunities in packaging, the sharing economy (think Uber, AirBnB, etc), construction, energy / storage, and technology. In the future, I see my own business growing slightly in the consulting space, but I aim our main growth to come from diversifying into building software platforms that can help other businesses at a greater scale. In 10 years, I would like to see TBL providing a range of platforms and services to help other businesses run more efficiently - particularly in the areas of supply chain, communications, and the provision of skilled resource.
Pitfalls and challenges
My advice to anybody entering the green business sector would be to concentrate on good business principles first, and consider how you can make a difference second. TBL has three aims - pay the bills, make a difference, and generate youth employment - and I always have to remind myself that we deal with these in priority order. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs concentrate on how they can make a difference, but fail to pay the bills. In the first year of business it’s very important to make sure that you have a good business plan, and I would strongly recommend any entrepreneur to take external advice on their plan and to listen carefully to any feedback.