A Green Business Camp Encourages Collaboration Among Local Business Leaders

smurf-fireBy Matthew Marichiba

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Green Revolution is fully upon us. Congress is finally discussing limits on CO2 emissions. Clean Tech investments have been one of the few glimmers of hope in an otherwise dark economic climate. Even Exxon Mobil wants to make you believe they’re environmentally friendly. For green-minded businesspeople short on time, it can be hard to cut through the informational noise and find the answers that matter: What can my business do to be both profitable and sustainable? How do I keep on top of the evolving landscape of green business practices? Who can I collaborate with to bring my green innovation to market? What is working successfully in my area and who else is doing it? That’s where a Green Business Camp comes in.

A great example is taking place on October 22 in Santa Cruz, California. The event will provide an all-day forum for businesspeople and entrepreneurs in California to come together and discuss earth-friendly products, operations, resources and innovation. Attendees get ample opportunity to learn, share, collaborate, and network with like-minded leaders working to create a cleaner, greener, more sustainable economy. The conference’s ultimate goal is to increase action, effectiveness, and profitability among green businesses in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito Counties, and beyond: it’s the type of event that can be replicated in any geographic area.

Green Business Camp’s focus is on local business and local solutions. With so much media attention at the national level, it can seem like all the action is also at the national level. But like all revolutions, the real change happens on the ground, city by city, household by household, and business by business. “I attended the Green Business Camp event in San Francisco last April and was inspired by the great ideas, collaboration, and sense of support that came from the participating businesspeople,” says conference co-producer JoAnn Baldwin. “I wanted to create a similar forum for the business community in my area.”

Baldwin hit upon one of the great things about the “Unconference” format, namely the low cost of production cost and easy replication. If an “Unconference” theme applies broadly to many geographies, the idea can be repeated easily in different locations. Green Business Camp was initially produced in San Francisco by Patrick Dominguez and Bill Bareen of Green Business Innovators, and they are open to others replicating the success of their event wherever it is needed. Freelance Camp is an earlier success story using the same model, with 10 independent events scheduled in four countries in the latter half of 2009 alone. The lesson: If Green Business Camp sounds like a good idea for your community, you can make it happen!

The Santa Cruz event will feature a keynote address from Daniel Robin, a Central Coast venture catalyst at In3 BioRenewables, and discussions facilitated by local business leaders from a variety of industries. Facilitators include Sandy Skees, green marketing expert and founder of Communications4Good, Nick Flores, Green For All’s manager of its Capital Access program, Amy Courtney, founder of Freewheelin’ Farm community supported agriculture, and many others. The event also features an exhibit hall for local green businesses and organizations.

Green Business Camp Santa Cruz 2009 is 9am – 5pm, October 22, held at the Inner Light Ministries Center, 5630 Soquel Drive, Soquel, CA. Tickets are $45 for pre-registration, or $75 at the door. For details and registration visit www.GreenBusinessSantaCruz.com. The conference is sponsored and hosted by the Environmental Ministry at Inner Light Ministries, which is excited to serve the needs of local community while realizing its intention to bring forth a world that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.

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