We heartily thank you all for giving your valuable time and great insights at the first Green Entrepreneurs Meetup at The Real Green Cafe, Koregaon Park, on 14th May 2016.
Thanks to Nikhil for being 'the bad guy' and such a great compere helping all of us to stay on topic and within time. Thanks Aishwarya for providing "The Real Green Cafe" as a green conscious space for all of us to feel the energy. And a big thanks all the 20 friends who joined us. Thanks, Shivani for co-ordinating the whole thing and dreaming big! See some pics here.
This meetup was organized to bring people/agencies working on green concept or sustainable living to come together and share what they do, their challenges and their offering for solutions. And for people who are passionate about and looking for opportunities to work in this sector.
The gathering was organized around 4 rounds - Introduction (Name and what makes them come alive), Strategies (what has worked for them), Challenges, and finally Offerings to the group.
1. We also plan to share this on other networks and grow the tribe!
2. Attached with this email is a contacts list of all who came, so you can connect with each other. If you want us to also publish your contact details on other networks and public forums along with this MoM so that others can contact you, then please let us know.
3. Requesting you to kindly share about your work, initiative and agency in following link.
We are making a database to share in different platforms and in awareness campaigns.
4. We invite you to join us for the next Green Entrepreneurs Meetup on 4 June at the same venue, same time (Real Green Cafe, 10.30am-12.30pm). Please mark the date!
We'll be sending the official invite soon! Click here for the invite!
If you would like to share some of your expertise or experience in a 10 minute slot at the next meetup, please write back and we can accommodate.
5. We're creating a mailing list for people based in or near Pune to join and network, specifically over green entrepreneurship opportunities and challenges. If you don't want to be added to this list, please let us know.
Below we have captured a gist of wonderful insights shared in each round. There are notes from the sessions, followed by transcripts of the post-it notes formed in the sharing rounds.
Notes from recordings:
1. Rajesh Gilwani shared farmers having issues in networking and not knowing which farmer doing what. He is helping farmers to connect with consumers.
2. Jyoti has a farm 2 hours from Pune built on permaculture concepts. She is offering her expertise to adopt permaculture and also gave open invitation to come to her farm (2 hrs north of Pune) and use the space for hosting such meetups, workshops, etc. She also offered "backward integration" consultation for farms, businesses.
3. Udit helps in making business and units understand their carbon footprints by scientific data and offer help required to adopt green solutions, using quantifiable parameters. He shared that there are now quite some businesses that want to differentiate and brand self as committed to be sustainably driven. He shared about eco-labels, certifications happening in this sector.
4. Manisha shared the struggle of fitting green conscious business into mainstream business. Strategies and ambition needs to have proper check for leading a conscious business for not getting sucked into mainstream business pressure. She is offering her expertise to help green business understand alternative economy and adopt strategies. She also wants to explore together a concept called "closed circle economy" where members can provide each other services and goods on exchange basis and mutually support each other.
Other ideas: discussion on business planning with sustainability in mind. Manisha later shared about a daylong event her organization is doing at MonaLisa Kalagram on 5th June (world environment day) and invited the group to come along join in and do something from their side as well.
5. Sharmila from Green Energy foundation shared her experience that Green Entrepreneur needs inner passion for sustainability, it might take years for people to buy your concept or accept your product need. She had two offerings : her rainwater harvesting enterprise is looking for people to join as 'green associates' where they can make good money; they are profitable. Secondly, farmers who are looking for buyers, can tap into the existing chain she and her org (Jain Int'l trade org) have, to market their products at stores like Big Bazar, Bombay Store etc. She shared an idea for discussion : make one's initiative scalable and taking it to next level.
6. Reena invites all to share green practices and ideas to her society, Riviresa apts in Baner with 35 families; they are very excited about these alternative things. You can provide your green services there, use their space to set up pilots, etc. Also, she is offering her skills in Nonviolent Communication(NVC) to be an empathy buddy for us, space for compassionate listening, and help to bring NVC consciousness to our communication along with well-thought games for mental clearing or solution finding. Reena also suggested that multiple green entrepreneurs can come together and get together a composite product having all their services (like RWH, composting recycling etc) properly mapped out with data and figures, and this composite offering can be taken and presented to other networks like builders groups, and if we get the numbers right and prove that it's to their advantage, they will obviously take it.
7. Kavita and Sharmila offered assistance for doing rainwater harvesting (RWH) at one's premises. Kavita offered to help with all the procedures etc for applying to PMC and get 5% property tax rebate. And she can share material on RWH to start a conversation on it in one's society etc. For a fee, she or her colleagues can come to the society meeting and do presentation for the same.
Kavita can also share more about wastewater, greywater recycling. Sharmila offered to share more research, on Pune's viability for RWH and similar topics.
Kavita suggested we can work with local corporators and ward offices, including educating/sensitizing the bureaucracy, which then makes it faster to get things done.
8. Abhishek- working with a 200-acre land parcel near Talegaon MIDC, on an idea of "half the grid", making things sustainable and green friendly to a practically possible extent. It would be a for-profit project selling units to people. Basics like water, food, energy, etc would be covered. He invited people to come and do sustainability projects together there. Abhishek also suggested that green entrepreneurs could form a network/union similar to how there are builders unions, autorickshaw unions, etc.
9. Samadhi offering her skills to help farmers or farms adopt conscious farming and solutions. She is an active leader to connect farmers authentic organic produce under the brand Maha-organic. She can also guide in how to go about getting the right sources that are authentic.
10. Neha, Aishwarya and Aditi -explorers are offering help with promotional activity designing when it comes to helping green concept reach people.
11. Rohit from eco-ad Paper Bags shared wonderful example of involving community to spread word about green business by borrowing their help to convince peers on use of eco products. He talked about an exercise on getting on the roads and meeting random strangers and giving them paper bags to use, and how energizing this experience was for his friends who were new to the whole thing.
12. Sudha invited all to come and see her low-carbon home which runs with minimal ecological footprint; also offering to host a meetup there. On behalf of her friend, she offered services in low-impact hygiene management for women and babies (like reusable diapers). She also shared about an activity she does in Magarpatta city : she takes reusable cloth bags made from old t-shirts etc and gives it to shops and customers there as a way of outreach and awareness building. She offered her skills as a writer for developing communications material.
13. Nikhil offered his website design skills, and assistance in conducting webinars where entrepreneurs can explain about their offering, which gets automatically recorded and is published on youtube, so it becomes outreach material for your initiative.
14. Rohit/Shivani suggested we can invite local corporators / ward officers to such meetups
15. Neha shared her observation of whatever kids learn at school is quickly picked up by their grandparents day. She suggested organizing a grandparents day where this (sustainability related) information can be shared, and this way one can involve the senior citizens / pensioners demographic in their outreach efforts. Kavita added that it's assumed that pensioners are tired and old and all, but actually they're full of energy. Reena added that such involvement can become meaningful engagement for them and so very beneficial for them as well.
16. Aishwarya offered her cafe's space as a hub for networking for all green entrepreneurs. She also offered the space in the cafe and outside in the lobby as a place where green entrepreneurs can place their products, brochures etc.. for example we can beautify the lobby with indoor plants and other things and with that give people coming information on how they can get the same for their own home. The cafe is at a prime location in Koregaon Park and a lot of possible potential clients can come there so is a great place for outreach. Please contact Aishwarya on email@example.com to take this forward, and let's bring in some of your products/brochures by the next meetup!
Ended meeting with a lot of good vegan drinks and munchies and many rounds of laughters.
.. of the post-it notes stuck on board during the three sharing rounds. Challenges can become opportunities, Strategies can become learnings and offerings are resources to lend/borrow help.
Strategies : What works, what can work:
A different way of doing business, colleagues not competitors
enable people to recycle, Campaign on sensitizing the human rights of people who take and process your waste
nonviolent communication: NVC, empathy for self + others, emotional wellbeing
Accessible info in mainstream
Engage crowds with alternative solutions
not dependent on donations
Action over lecture
Engaging bureaucracy, corporators
numbers, data, research
Appreciative enquiry, authenticity, wellbeing
put in context, adapt, have staying power
Awesome success examples
Get a place where you can work together
scale down, slow down, simplify own life
Change vocabulary from scarcity perspective to managing resources better
Glamourising solutions, icons, X-factor
space to do
Collaboration, cooperation over competition
Green app, directory
taking a stand, advocacy
kyun koi nahin le raha hai : analyse, strategize
Am I happier?
Finding good sources, materials, suppliers
Not possible from day 1 to be green
Greenwashing : hard to discern genuinely green from fake
Consistency of supply, challenge of finding labor or Managers, co-ordinators
Have I gotten sucked into mainstream?
People are still not caring, not wanting to save the world, Lack of inner consciousness
Dependence on donations
How much am I sustainably living myself
Producers (like farmers) don't have access, aren't on internet, not having networking
Dependence on MNCs
Koi nahin le raha :(
Why mainstream Vs our stream?
Don't know others, networking challenges
Long way to go for consciousness about these issues to be raised in general population
Green Parenting, Hygiene and Reusable – Diapers, napkins etc.
Making your green business scalable.
Invite to Riversa Society, Baner
Building bridges from this network to other networks (like builders etc.
Business planning with sustainability in mind.
Low carbon home – invite
Composite offerings from this group to other groups like builders, contractors and local corporators etc.
Blogs, writing – part time help.
Rain water harvesting rebate 5%
Help in encouraging others, grandparents, grandchildren and pensioners.
Closed Circled Economy
Experience in organic supply certification sources.
Networking - Hosting space.
Exchange our services and goods.
Research in grey and rain water harvesting
Storytelling - Using data and other ideas to get into people's heads.
Half the grid – Practically sustainable – Abhishek
Differentiate from usual businesses, example: calc carbon/env footprint per employee
Psychology, language, vocabulary and selling the stories.
Society/ Building level sustainability.
Eco labelling business websites.
Thanks, and we'll see you again soon!
Nikhil, Shivani, Aishwarya