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Helping Small Businesses Grow Through Green Efforts

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Helping Small Businesses Grow Through Green Efforts

By Stephen Morris, SBA Official
Published: April 18, 2014 Updated: April 18, 2014
Note: this post is by Donna J. Butler, SBA’s Senior Sustainability Officer & Deputy Chief Operating Officer
 
SBA helps small businesses find solutions to make their operations run efficiently. That’s why this Earth Day and every day SBA encourages small businesses to incorporate a green office environment. Whether it’s changing to a more energy efficient lighting system, implementing a recycling program, or considering eco-friendly machinery—all of these techniques help to conserve energy and save money. SBA also helps entrepreneurs and organizations build on green ideas and turn them into a successful business.
 
Taking an Idea and Turning it Green
 
Small business owner Carina Whitham of California took her passion for renewable energy and used SBA’s counseling services to help start an executive search firm Whitham Group Executive Search. Today, Carina’s firm successfully recruits and places executives in the arenas of Solar, Wind, Biofuels, Biomass, Geothermal Energy and all other areas of renewables. 
 
SBA also supports sustainability through initiatives such as the Regional Clusters Initiative—which combines a network of organizations and businesses in a geographic area that grow through increased collaboration, efficiency and innovation. SBA funded its initial clusters in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and several other agencies.  Regional clusters such as Illinois Smart Grid, Clean Energy, and GreenMe are expanding thanks to the support from this initiative. Today, they are making their communities more sustainable and eco-conscious.
 
And for small business owners seeking to upgrade an existing facility with energy efficient upgrades or financing innovative eco-friendly tools--SBA.gov has a reference list ofgreen financing and green certification options
 
SBA Green Practices
 
SBA is also reinforcing green practices throughout its office culture. The Agency’s priority goal for Fiscal Year 2014 was to increase paperless loan processing.  SBA succeeded with this goal and saw an increase in the use of paperless processing with both the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. The 7(a) program use increased from 72 percent to 90 percent and the 504 program use increased from 55 percent to 75 percent. Additionally, SBA is collaborating with the General Services Administration to ensure that SBA’s Headquarters and Field Offices are housed in facilities that are energy and water efficient and are maintained with non-toxic and recycled content products. SBA has also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from employee commuting by nearly 15% since 2010 in part through the increased use of mass transit and telework. This year, SBA initiated an agency-wide toner and ink cartridge recycling program in partnership with the U.S. Postal Services.
 
Go Green and Thrive
 
Celebrate Earth Day today and everyday by adopting new environmentally sound practices for your business.  SBA is here to help you grow your business and succeed in your green efforts.  Visit our website or connect with our local offices and resource partners for your small business needs. 

About the Author:

Stephen Morris

SBA Official

Stephen Morris is online media coordinator for the U.S. Small Business Administration where he manages digital outreach to the small business community.

Comments:

Great Article! I think once a business can get past the initial expense of going green there can be massive increases in profit margins. I have recently heard that even companies such as Walmart have been going green and even implementing solar technology in an effort to reduce electricity consumption. I believe it is also pretty impressive that the SBA reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 15% since 2010. Great article.
A great initiative. Going green not only protects the environment, it also reduces your business's operational costs and lets you manage your finances more efficiently. For a small business this is a highly desirable situation. Further more, ultimately at a certain point you would be compelled to move to green alternatives, but at that point the costs of converting your operational systems would make you think twice before reaching a conclusive point, so its better to switch while you are at a smaller scale and grow with the green alternative.
Well i totally agree with SBA's initiative towards adopting green efforts to not only save our coming generation from destruction but our earth too. Since utilization of resources available to us needs to be made at optimal level, but there shouldn't be any wastage which can add more woes to the worries. As we are responsible citizen who knows how well we can work out on cost saving strategies but can also works towards conserving natural resources too.
An environmentally sound practice for your business is to contract your cleaning services to an agency that practice green cleaning principles. If you have in-house cleaning staff, make sure to review your current cleaning procedures. You are looking for green products, green tools, and a green methodology.

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