Innovation-driven enterprises (IDE) are start-ups whose competitive advantage and growth potential are driven by innovation. An IDE leverages novel ideas and new technologies to establish rapid revenue and job growth potential after initial investment. Innovation ecosystems are an interconnected set of people and resources (and their physical environment) that provide the context for IDEs to start, grow, and scale. All of this has allowed entrepreneurs to take on the green market as a lucrative and philanthropic way to keep the planet safe. This article presents five selected green business ideas which demonstrate the incentives of the green market.
Five Select Green Businesses
One such green business is AlgiKnit, which makes fibers from seaweed capable of being spun into yarn. Despite causing some pollution from the manufacturing process, the biomaterials allow AlgiKnit to achieve a friendly relationship among the textile industry, the biomaterials companies, and the ecosystem, thus opening the potential of biology as useful for fashion. The yarns used are durable materials made from organisms such as kelp. The production process has a minimal carbon footprint and utilizes edible, non-toxic materials. After becoming worn out, these materials can then be used as food for microorganisms and animals, both on land and in water.
Another business that aims to aid the fashion industry as well as the planet in general is Reverse Resources. The company has built a software platform in which clothing manufacturers align their waste textiles supply with textile recyclers. As roughly 25% of material gets discarded from garment production factories, it is necessary to integrate these resources back into the supply chain, which will not only reduce virgin fiber but would also strengthen textile businesses. Virtual traceability of resources is the goal of Reverse Resources in accomplishing this feat. The company’s software solution, known as the Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, provides virtual support for factories and buyers to agree on how to close the loop for wasted fabrics from garment production. This leads to long-term gains for all parties involved.
Great Bubble Barrier
A third green business is the Great Bubble Barrier, which has developed an air bubble screen for riverbeds to catch plastic before it gets into the sea. The purpose behind the company owes to major pollution from cities, which pollute plastics via canals and rivers; these polluted materials are then transported to the ocean and thus damage the maritime ecosystem. Although there are barrier systems for blocking garbage blown into the sea via wind, these systems create other issues, since the garbage also blocks ship traffic and aquatic life. However, the Great Bubble Barrier is made of air, which directs the waste to the side of a river using the natural current while capturing plastic debris, before it enters the ocean. At the same time, fish and ships still have access. By recovering the plastic waste early, the company recovers a valuable resource and brings it back into the plastic value chain, reducing CO2 and the need for virgin plastic materials.
Another friendly business for the aquatic industry is AquaBattery, which has developed an energy storage system that uses water and table salt instead of the toxic, environmentally-harmful materials in typical batteries. This system is called the Blue Battery, which is the only completely sustainable electrical storage system currently in existence. Its storage of water and table salt will revolutionize the energy storage world and foster renewable energy technology growth around the globe. This technology is safe and available at a competitive price.
The final business useful for aquatic industry is LettUs Grow. This company has developed an aeroponic, soil-free method for growing crops by hanging the roots within a dense, nutritious mist. The start-up designs efficient irrigation and control systems for indoor farms. The systems deliver higher crop yields, reduce production costs, and make farmers’ lives easier. The delivery of water as a mist to the roots allows greater oxygenation of the roots, delivering better flavor and faster growth at only 5% of the water needed for traditional agriculture. Data is uploaded to the Ostara software platform, which reduces unnecessary labor and optimizes conditions for each individual plant species within the farm. This would bring affordable food growing to cities with integrated farm management software.
The technologies developed by these five companies bring hope that the planet will remain sustainable in the future. If all goes well, the companies will give the planet much to be grateful for. There is still work to be done, with technologies to be developed and businesses to help disseminate them. New investment structures have to be made available to bring in more risk capital players and dollars to help new innovation ecosystems in the green technology space to get started.
Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.