A Short Guide to Developing Green Business Models - For entrepreneurs, researchers and organisations that support entrepreneurs

May 2018 |
The Ground_Up Centre
Imola Antal, Brindusa Burrows

This paper is intended for those who work with, research, and support green entrepreneurs, as well as for entrepreneurs who are starting a green business. It provides guidance in the process of elaborating a business plan and presenting it to potential partners and investors, based on the understanding of investors’ expectations.

The conclusions and recommendations gathered in the present guide rely on the study of Green Business Models (GBMs) as part of the GREEN-WIN project, an international transdisciplinary research collaboration that applied a solution-oriented approach, targeted at increasing the understanding of the conditions under which win-win strategies and green business models work in practice. To gather relevant insights on how entrepreneurs solve climate and sustainability problems while securing a profitable business strategy, the following activities took place in the project:

  • Literature review on GBMs and the Green Finance Landscape;
  • GBM assessment workshop with asset managers, impact investors, entrepreneurs, green finance clusters, and other green business experts;
  • Assessment of green projects and businesses that are part of the GREEN-WIN research project via a survey and desk analysis.

The study provided a better understanding of what works in the field of initiating and developing green businesses, how it works and why. Based on the conclusions of the first round of research, the first part of the guide provides an easy-to-use tool to think through, plan and analyse business plans, as well as understand the most important questions an investor may pose to an entrepreneur.

The second part of the guide presents some of the financing sources that can be suitable for green enterprises. Funding is an essential topic for any green business. While the funding sources are summarized based on the findings of the literature review, and aim to provide an overview of available options, the list is non-exhaustive. Investment-readiness – what it means 

One of the main factors identified in the course of the research as being critical to the viability of a green business is the level of preparation of the entrepreneur and of his team. We hope that this guide will serve to inform entrepreneurs and those who support them define and develop their businesses and present them in a comprehensive manner.

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The Ground_Up Centre