Green Entrepreneurship (2022)

This course will offer a step-by-step framework for transforming a green business idea into a viable business plan. It will provide the tools needed to generate, test, and refine an idea for a green business, together with successful examples of green entrepreneurs’ paths from business ideas to value-generating, market-fit solutions.


Duration: 6 weeks
Estimated effort: 3 hours per module
Languages: English, Spanish, French
 Requirements: Internet connection

Contact course coordinator Course syllabus FAQs

 

 

Do you want to grasp new business opportunities in the field of productive, circular and sharing economies? Are you interested in addressing environmental challenges by selling a green product or service and creating green jobs in your country? Would you like to create and launch an innovative business model that creates environmental and social value?

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Convention on Biological Diversity, EcoEnterprises Fund,  Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business, Lehigh University, Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production, SEED, and The GEF Small Grants Programme joined forces to offer you this self-paced course on Green Entrepreneurship.

Drawing on the training methodology developed by the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) of the UNEP/Mediterranean Action Plan, within the framework of the EU-funded SwitchMed project, the Handbook for Green Entrepreneurs “Create your Green Business,” this course will guide you through your green entrepreneur journey, from defining your idea to the commercialisation of products and services.

Course highlights and outcomes

  • Gain the skills needed to turn environmental challenges into green business opportunities 
  • Join the community of green entrepreneurs 
  • Take a deep dive into rich learning materials
  • Receive a certificate of completion from premier development institutions

Learning objectives

By the time the course is completed, you will be able to:

  • Define your green business idea 
  • Understand your market and define your value proposition
  • Outline all the tasks and resources needed to generate, innovate, and manage the value delivered to customers
  • Create a financial and management plan for your business
  • Deliver an ‘elevator’ pitch to potential investors and customers

Course topics

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Module 1: Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship and Sketching Out Your Green Business Idea
  • Module 2: Making a Positive Impact with Your Green Business Idea
  • Module 3: Identifying Your Customers and Stakeholders
  • Module 4: Putting Your Green Business Model into Context
  • Module 5: Financing Your Green Business Idea
  • Module 6: Managing, Scaling Up and Communicating Your Green Business Idea

Course completion requirements

To receive the certificate of course completion, participants must complete:

  • All online lessons
  • All quizzes
  • The course survey

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If you have any questions, please contact the Learning for Nature team at [email protected].

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Course Includes

  • 8 Modules
  • 65 Activities
  • 6 quizzes
  • Course Certificate

Course Syllabus

Module 1Module 2Module 3Module 4Module 5Module 6

Module 1

Module 1 provides an introduction to green entrepreneurship and sets the background for sketching up your green business idea.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 1: Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship

Objectives:

  • Define green entrepreneurship
  • Describe the differences between green economy, circular economy, and the “business as usual” economy
  • Define social entrepreneurship and understand how it differs from other forms of entrepreneurship
  • Describe the existing trends that affect green entrepreneurship
  • Introduce the concept of “eco-design”
  • Identify the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur

Quiz 1: Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship

Quiz 1 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 1.

RECOMMENDED: Lectures

  • Oksana Aguilar, EcoEnterprises Fund: What it means to be a green entrepreneur
  • Anke Manuela Salzmann, Boticario Group Foundation: Introduction to eco-design
  • Khanjan Mehta, Lehigh University: What is takes to build a sustainable green venture: A case study
  • Sara Farley, Rochefeller Foundation: Systems leadership
  • Iana Aranda, Engineering for Global Development: The role of technology for advancing sustainable development, and what this means for green entrepreneurs

RECOMMENDED: Worksheets

  • SDGs and green entrepreneurship
  • Eco-design

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • Tambul Leaf Plates: Creating youth employment in Assam while reducing plastic waste (India)
  • Asociación de Productores Kemito Ene: Improving livelihood and protesting the forest through organic cacao production (Peru)
  • Sahelia Solar: Increasing clean and affordable energy access in rural areas (Burkina Faso)
  • Safi Organics: Empowering smallholder farmers through an agricultural circular economy (Kenya)
  • Food & Trees for Africa: Transforming South Africa into a green and food secure country (South Africa)
  • Raja Ampat: Reducing pressures on ecosystems by connecting tourists with family-run homestays (Indonesia)
  • Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils Pty Ltd: Embracing sustainable harvesting for sandalwood oil production (Australia)

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. This module we talked about the global trends and underlying drivers that make green entrepreneurship important today more than ever. What is the state of green entrepreneurship in your context?
  2. Lesson 1 talked about the connection between Sustainable Development Goals and green entrepreneurship. Which SDGs would your green business idea address? Fill out and attach the “SDGs and Green Entrepreneurship” worksheet to your answer.
  3. You have learnt about the idea of eco-designing your product or service. How do you plan to apply the eight eco-design principles in your green business? Fill out and attach the “Eco-design” worksheet to your answer.

Module 2 focuses on making a positive impact with your green business idea.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 2: Making a Positive Impact with your Green Business Idea

Objectives:

  • Identify the reasons that drive green entrepreneurship projects
  • Analyze the context
  • Describe ways to turn challenges into opportunities
  • Define the mission and vision for a green business

Quiz 2: Making a Positive Impact with your Green Business Idea

Quiz 2 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 2.

RECOMMENDED: Lectures

  • Bill Whitney, Lehigh University: How to ask the right questions when getting started with your green business
  • Khanjan Mehta, Lehigh University: Opportunity recognition and validation
  • Khanjan Mehta, Lehigh University: Why ventures fail
  • Anna Schaeffer, EcoEnterprises Fund: Understanding your context: PESTEL and SWOT
  • Esther Adhiambo Obonyo, The Global Building Network: Defining the mission and vision for your business

RECOMMENDED: Worksheets

  • Asking the right questions
  • Opportunity recognition
  • Opportunity validation
  • PESTEL
  • SWOT
  • Objectives
  • Mission and vision
  • Summary of context and objectives

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • Rural Enterprise Network (Sri Lanka)
  • Muliru Farmers: Cultivating traditional medicinal plants to protect the last Kenyan rainforest (Kenya)
  • All Women Recycling: Empowering women in South Africa through plastic recycling (South Africa)
  • WASHKing: Upgrading sanitation in low-income urban households (Ghana)
  • Zan Va Zamin (Tajikistan)
  • Trees for Global Benefit (Uganda)
  • Oro Verde: Combatting Environmental Degradation (Colombia)

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. What are the primary reasons that drive your project?
  2. What are the environmental challenges in your context that you can turn into an opportunity? Fill out and attach the “Opportunity recognition” worksheet to your answer.
  3. What is your business’s mission? What problem does it seek to solve? Fill out and attach the “Mission and vision” template to your answer.
  4. What are the key external and internal factors you should take into account in order to achieve success in your project? Fill out and attach the “PESTEL” and/or “SWOT” template to your answer.

Module 3 focuses on identifying your customers and stakeholders.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 3: Identifying your Customers and Stakeholders 

Objectives:

  • Map out relevant stakeholders for a green business
  • Segment a customer base into groups
  • Start building customer profiles

Quiz 3: Identifying your Customers and Stakeholders 

Quiz 3 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 3.

RECOMMENDED: Lectures

  • Chris Kauzmann, Lehigh University: Green business canvas
  • Julia Santander, EcoEnterprises Fund: Stakeholder mapping
  • Khanjan Mehta, Lehigh University: Customer profiling

RECOMMENDED: Worksheets

  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Assessing “the give and get”
  • Customer segmentation and profiling

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • Dichung: Ride-sharing technology to reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions (Viet Nam)
  • IMAI Farming Cooperative: Preserving vegetables to build selfreliance among South African farmers (South Africa)
  • BanaPads: Empowering thousands of girls and women in rural Uganda by providing sanitary pads from natural fibres (Uganda)
  • Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (Cameroon)
  • Yayasan Planet Indonesia (Indonesia)
  • SolSource: Harnessing Environmentally-Beneficial Technologies for Rural Villagers (China)

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. Who are the stakeholders important for your green business idea and why? Fill out and attach the “Stakeholder mapping” worksheet to your answer.
  2. What does a ‘typical’ customer look like for your green business idea? Fill out and attach the “Customer segmentation and profiling” worksheet to your answer.

Module 4 focuses on putting your green business model into context.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 4: Putting your Green Business Model into Context

Objectives:

  • Define and communicate a unique value proposition 
  • Explain the foundations of lifecycle analysis
  • Establish a relationship with stakeholders and customers

Quiz 4: Putting your Green Business Model into Context

Quiz 4 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 4.

RECOMMENDED: Lectures

  • Nathalie Prado, EcoEnterprises Fund: Creating a unique value proposition
  • Rachel Dzombak, UC Berkley: Lifecycle analysis
  • Pali Singh, Villanova University: Establishing a relationship with stakeholders and customers
  • Lorena Luna: Harnessing the power of communities to strengthen your green business

RECOMMENDED: Worksheets

  • Value proposition
  • Customer journey map
  • Key activities and resources

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • Solar Freeze: Pioneering the production of solar cold storage units while increasing local incomes and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Kenya)
  • Provokame: Empowering vulnerable women and combating climate change (Colombia)
  • Belle Verte: Creating sustainable communities in Mauritius through a closed-loop waste management system (Mauritius)
  • Botanica Natural Products: Creating economic opportunity through organic farming for the cosmetic industry (South Africa)
  • Unique Quality Product Enterprise: Empowering marginalised women in Ghana through reviving the cultivation of indigenous crops (Ghana)
  • Green Heat: Providing innovative and cost-effective energy while reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions (Uganda)

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. What makes your business different from other businesses?
  2. What are some of the best ways to engage with your potential customers? Fill out and attach the “Customer journey map” template to your answer.
  3. What are some of the lifecycle considerations for your business? Fill out the attach the ‘Lifecycle analysis” template to your answer.
  4. Which of the key activities that you need to do in order to offer your value proposition do you anticipate to be most challenging and why? Fill out and attach the “Key activities and resources” template to your answer.

Module 5 focuses on financing your green business idea.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 5: Financing your Green Business Idea

Objectives:

  • Identify the cost structure for a green business
  • Outline revenue streams and pricing mechanisms 
  • Describe the basics of main financial statements
  • Provide an overview of possible funding sources

Quiz 5: Financing your Green Business Idea

Quiz 5 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 5.

RECOMMENDED: Lectures

  • Khanjan Mehta, Lehigh University: Income Statement
  • Mirko Zurker, SEED: Cash flow
  • Masud Rahman, UNHCR: Balance sheet
  • Masud Rahman, UNHCR: Bringing income statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet together
  • Julia Santander, EcoEnterprises Fund: Cost analysis
  • Julia Santander, EcoEnterprises Fund: Forecasting and liquidity management
  • Masud Rahman, UNHCR: Choosing funding sources

RECOMMENDED: Worksheets

  • Income statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet
  • Cost structure
  • Revenue streams

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • EcoPost: Preventing deforestation, combatting pollution and creating youth employment by transforming waste into plastic posts (Kenya)
  • Claire Reid Reel Gardening: Alleviating food shortage through sustainable subsistence gardening (South Africa)
  • YICE Uganda: Improving access to training, funding and markets for rural farmers (Uganda)
  • Associação Indígena Kisêdjê: Producing fruit for local food security while restoring degraded lands (Brazil)
  • Mujeres y Ambiente SPR de RL de CV: Promoting agricultural micro-businesses while conserving biodiversity (Mexico)

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. What factors might affect the cost and price of your product or service? Fill out and attach the “Cost structure” template to your answer.
  2. What are some of the uncertainties and variables you might encounter in assessing costs and setting prices? How could you address these?
  3. Do you need external finance for your green business? If so, what kind of finance makes sense for you, and why?
  4. What are some ways you might be able to reduce costs for your business?

Module 6 focuses on managing, scaling up and communicating your green business idea.

REQUIRED: Lesson and Quiz

Lesson 6: Managing, Scaling up and Communicating your Green Business Idea

Objectives:

  • Outline the steps involved in developing a legal management plan 
  • Outline the steps involved in developing an operations and management plan
  • Describe the characteristics of an effective elevator pitch
  • Describe what is needed for improving and scaling up a green business idea 

Quiz 6: Managing, Scaling up and Communicating your Green Business Idea

Quiz 6 checks your comprehension of the material covered in Lesson 6.

RECOMMENDED: Lectures

  • Oksana Aguilar, EcoEnterprises Fund: Developing a legal management plan
  • Masud Rahman, UNHCR: Developing an operations and management plan
  • John McKenna, EcoEnterprises Fund: Elevator pitches
  • Tammy Newmark, EcoEnterprises Fund: Scaling up your green business
  • Hong Durandal, EDP Renewables: Areas for continuous improvement of your green business

RECOMMENDED: Worksheets

  • Elevator pitch
  • Green business canvas: Summary

RECOMMENDED: Case studies

  • Watamu Community Solid Waste Management and Recycling Enterprises (WSWMR): Fighting unemployment and coastal degradation through waste recycling in Watamu (Kenya)
  • greenABLE: Generating employment opportunities through an innovative recycling solution (South Africa)
  • Green Bio Energy: Offering environmentally-friendly energy solutions to low-income families (Uganda)
  • Aharam Traditional Crops Producers’ Company: Working with socially marginalized rural producers to conserve biodiversity (India)
  • Environmental Management and Development Trust: Promoting a powerful alternative to deforestation and single use plastics (Nigeria)
  • Nafore and Afrisolar Energy Kiosks: Addressing rural electrification challenges (Burkina Faso)
  • Pintadas Solar: Implementing small-scale solar-powered irrigation systems (Brazil)

OPTIONAL: Discussion forum

  1. What forces do you envision shaping your business within the next few years?
  2. What are the key elements that might go into an elevator pitch for your business?
  3. What is the single most important message of your pitch? Record your elevator pitch on your phone or any other device available to you, and attach the recording to your answer.
  4. What are some innovative ways to communicate your green business idea in your context?

Frequently Asked Questions