Funding Your Green Business

Position yourself to be considered for venture capital

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Carolyn Green

Carolyn L. Green is co-founder and managing partner of EnerGreen Capital Management, a Radnor, Pennsylvania-based private equity firm that focuses on late venture and growth stage companies involved in the energy and environmental industries. She says business capital will continue to be scarce in the next year or two as the nation moves out of the recession, but you can position yourself well by bearing the following tips in mind.

Show your track record.
“Show investors that your product works in the marketplace,” she advises. “If you are someone who wants to get into business, think about what you do well and how you can make that attractive to someone. Stay in your area of expertise and add value where you can.”

Look to buy. “You don’t always have to look at start-ups,” Green points out. “Take a look at the community around you and find out who has a business that they’ve been operating for 10 or 20 years. They’ve been successful but the owner may be aging and may not have children to take [the business] over. Keep your eyes and ears open at community meetings, in your church, lodge, or fraternity. There are real opportunities out there if you’re open to them.”

Think big. “Black-owned companies need to be competitive – period,” Green declares. “We don’t dream big enough. It is generally easier to borrow more money than to borrow less. You go through exactly the same process, filling out the loan papers and getting the credit checks, borrowing $7.5 million as you do borrowing $75,000.”

Maya Payne Smart is a frequent contributor to Black Enterprise.

  • CD Gray

    Carolyn is spot-on with all 3 points. The New York Chapter of the Council of Urban Professionals recently held a Forum to discuss the acceleration of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) growth via incorporation of Merger & Acquisition (M&A) strategies. A White Paper published as part of the Forum cited the majority of the nation’s largest MBE’s, achieved their growth through strategic M&A, Joint Ventures and/or other types of Partnerships. Other sources for acquisition candidates may include Professional Associations, Chamber of Commerces as well as out-sourcing opportunities within your current organization. There’s no better place to apply these principles today, than in the Renewable Energy Sector.

  • Charles Pulliam Consulting

    As we seek to define this new “green economy” and find a nitche, Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) will need to learn new strategies to obtain access to capital. Access to capital has been somewhat of a challenge for MBEs seeking to do business. The “Green Economy” which includes renewables and alternative energy certainly has its own challenges being capital intensive. Minority Business Associations, Chambers, etc. will need to seek sources such as EnerGreen Capital Management.

  • Very informative. I believe now is the time to position ourselves for the “Green” boom.

  • Kerry


    We are a startup non profit minority business who is seeking startup funding.  We will be “greenovating” retrofitting low income housing to be energy efficient.  We are searching for the right avenue to take in looking how to fund our business, if you anyone has any tips please email us at  Thank You!

  • Derwin Binion

    I am interested in funding sources for green industry business opportunities. At your earliest convenience, send literature on your venture fund and the specific profile business must meet to secure funding. My address is 513 Chaucer Way, Stockbridge, Georgia 30281.