Thursday, September 29, 2011
Fort Worth company promotes green ideas with contest
The Small Business Development Center for Enterprise Excellence will award $10,000 in prizes to the best idea.
Have you been hoarding a green product idea? Now’s the time to share it.
The Small Business Development Center for Enterprise Excellence in Fort Worth and the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center are hosting a competition called Greenovation. Organizers are offering $10,000 in prizes for the best original green idea and want to help bring the winning product to market. The contest is open to participants in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton and Johnson counties. Deadline to enter is Oct. 14.
Tom Pryor is the director of the SBDCEE, a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the state of Texas, and the University of Texas at Arlington. He said the main objective of the contest is to take the best green ideas and put them in the marketplace. “This is not just a grandiose science fair, we want to make the inventor money as well as have a positive impact.”
Year-round, SBDCEE offers consulting to new or existing small businesses in 49 counties in North Texas. The Fort Worth center is one of only five SBDC specialty offices in the country that focus on what’s known as the triple bottom line -- profit, planet, and people -- and the center’s clientele is growing. “Because of the high unemployment rate, I’ve seen a significant increase in entrepreneurs,” said Pryor.
In his workshop for pioneering business owners called Riches in Niches, Pryor touts his business theory in another rhyme: “If you’re not unique, you better be cheap.” “A lot of people think of niche as meaning small but it’s a vacancy in the marketplace,” said Pryor. “Green is one way to make yourself unique.”
He describes one client, a civil engineer. “That’s not unique. But he has a real passion to be a green civil engineer, that’s a niche.” Pryor’s said his clients come from a variety of industries and range from a woman opening a green line of cosmetics to some former Texas Instruments engineers who’ve created an LED bulb to replace the tube-shaped fluorescent bulbs commonly used in overhead lighting.
The center is also working with the leaders behind the Energy and Resources Technology Hub - North Texas, an innovative 1,000-acre green development north of Fort Worth designed for sustainable businesses and residences that aims to be energy neutral. (See earthnt.org.) This is only the first year for the North Texas Greenovation competition, but Pryor hopes that the winner will be one of the businesses who will eventually manufacture their product in the EARTH-NT development.
Pryor said he’s promoted the contest to local school districts and colleges and is expecting entries from both TCU and UTA students. In addition to promoting green ideas and create jobs, he wants to increase the status of inventors and scientists in the community, especially in the eyes of youth. “We’ve got to promote these professions in the public schools. Otherwise we’re going to dry them up just like we’re drying up our water resources.”
For more information, see sbdcexcellence.org.
Pegasus News Content partner - Green Source DFW
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