Monday, June 23, 2008

Introducing Bootstrap Sustainability

"I'm just a small operation with (fill in the blank) employees. There's not much my company can do in sustainability and corporate social responsibility, right? Besides, I'm not even sure what this term "sustainability" really means to me and my business!"

That's a synthesis of what many emerging entrepreneurs have told me during the past several months we've been visioning the new charter for Bootstrap Sustainability. Guess what? Right now in your current business venture, there's plenty of "low hanging fruit" of changes you can make that will improve your company's impact as viewed from the lens of long-term stewardship.

What is Bootstrap Sustainability and how can it help my venture? Glad you asked. Bootstrap Sustainability is an official subgroup of Bootstrap Austin.

Bootstrap Sustainability exists to (1) identify businesses in sustainability that can be bootstrapped, (2) hook those ideas up with entrepreneurs and help nurture new and emerging bootstrap companies in the sustainability (or related) sector, and (3) provide education to the general Bootstrap Austin community.

We recently conducted a 6-hour workshop which brought 20 local thought leaders together in one room to help each other learn more about ourselves and the true nature of our current initiatives.

Bijoy Goswami led us through a fantastic Bootstrap Bootcamp where he informed, enlightened, and challenged us. Most of us start a company thinking we know what the business model should look like. One of the key insights Bijoy conveyed is that, "the business model emerges. You must first say to yourself, 'I do not know the business model' and get to the position of 'not knowing' and then you can start to discover it."

After the Bootstrap Bootcamp, the group rolled up their shirtsleeves and helped each other work through some of their most pressing immediate issues.
In the spirit of the bootstrap community of bootstrappers helping each other perspectives and tactical advice were freely offered. By the end of the day, everybody was delighted with what we accomplished in the workshop and excited with where we are going individually and collectively.

Steve Harvey is the founder and CEO of the new bootstrap startup Cleantegrity, which exists to help emerging "cleantech" companies (such as solar, wind, energy efficiency, green building products, and new water-related technologies) bring more of the right products to market faster. For more discussion or information on Bootstrap Sustainability (or Cleantegrity, of course), please feel free to call Steve during the week at 512.878.6550 or send him an email.

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