In early May of each year, America's small businesses are
recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration during Small
Business Week activities for contributions, and rightfully so.
a small business owner and the author of this column, I always enjoy
learning about the new and exciting innovations and successes of
Byron Kennard, executive director of The Center
for Small Business and the Environment, recently shared with me the
successes of several "Green Gazelles," small businesses that make a
profit doing environmental good. The CSBE, a nonpartisan/nonprofit
organization, works to promote small businesses and entrepreneurs
that are succeeding by developing and using new technologies and
processes to dramatically increase efficiency and resource
productivity and exploiting lucrative opportunities in environmental
protection, pollution prevention, energy and materials efficiency
and resource conservation.
You may question whether there is a
market for these Green Gazelles.
A recent study conducted by the
Center for Women's Business Research shows that more than 75 percent
of women business owners feel that the environmental friendliness of
a product is either a moderate or major influence on their purchase
decisions. Similarly, 77 percent of working women said that
environmental friendliness is either a major or moderate influence
on their products.
Factor this information with the fact that
women business owners are the fastest-growing segment and that women
are 52 percent of the population and there is definitely a market
for environmentally friendly products and services.
The story of
A.C. Wilson gives hope to the thought that small businesses can help
save the planet.
The Knoxville, Tenn., entrepreneur has invented
a device that allows long-haul truck drivers to heat and cool their
cabs when they stop to rest without having to keep their engines
Federal law requires truck drivers to rest for eight
hours for every 10 hours they drive, so they pull into a truck stop
and run their engines to heat or cool their cabins as needed.
Drivers often complain that the noise and fumes from the idling
engines makes it difficult to sleep. Not to mention the effect this
practice has on fuel consumption.
Wilson's company, IdleAire
Technologies Corp., has its individual heat and air units above
parking spaces at truck stops. These units are powered by
electricity. A tube attaches these units to a console that allows
drivers to turn off their engines and still adjust interior
temperatures, providing a safer, quieter sleep environment.
units also allow access to cable TV and the Internet. …