Archive for 'entrepreneurship'
The Maturing Face of Entrepreneirship
It used to be you started a business because you saw a money-making opportunity. Someone had a idea, saw a market for a product or service that was needed...
Leadership Practices and Green Business
It is customary for corporations to rotate people they are grooming for leadership positions. The rotation gives them exposure and experience to various aspects of the business - and it does. But it also means that companies are 'selecting' for leadership traits that may not be in their best interest.
Bottom Line Strategies - for an Entrepreneur
Posted by Kathryn Alexander on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 @ 08:42 PM
I'm one of 30 single women entrepreneurs appearing in the new book, Single. Women. Entrepreneurs. by Erin Albert. She is exploring the bottom line strategies used by single women entrepreneurs, wondering if they are any different from men.
The biggest difference, I think, was that for women, money was in second place to making a difference. This is in line with social entrepreneurs, those becoming L3C organizations and Benefit Corporations.
I'm wondering if we are seeing a trend? The new business forms (L3C's and Benefit Corporations), while started by men are expressing a more caring and socially responsible business model than the traditional forms. Social entrepreneuring is done by both sexes, but I do believe a preponderance of them are men, yet the intent is one of caring and making a difference for others.
When I'm asked about the difference between and LLC and an L3C, I explain it this way: in a corporation you have a car with profit in the drivers seat; in non-profits you have a car with mission in
Real Life Implications of Systems Thinking
Posted by Kathryn Alexander on Wed, Feb 02, 2011 @ 05:44 PM
You may or may not have noticed that GMO alfalfa was deregulated this week. Ho hum. For the organic movement and anyone with a commitment to sustainability that event has been a battle cry. If you've been reading this blog, then you know some of my views and opinions about it, but that's not what I want to talk about today.
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the USDA, has a history of being friendly and comfortable with Monsanto. This concerned many folks when he was appointed. However...it seems that he fought this as strongly as he could. What happened? The issue is a systems story. Specifically the fact that systems are nested in other systems. What stopped Vilsack was a law, The Plant Protection Law.
This kind of situation is much more common than you might imagine. The foundational cause for this kind of dissonance is how laws are formed. Many people believe that following the law is not only one's duty, but ensures moral and ethical behavior. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Corporations and other specialized interests write and lobby for laws that support their point of view, their products (prohibiting competitive interests), and methods that favor them above their competitors. So we have a law to 'protect' plants being used to put plants at risk.
Here we have a very rough diagram of how some systems are nested. The exercise is to start at the center (you) and moving out determine how the smaller circle impacts the larger circle. Then reverse the process, how does the larger ci
Nature or Nurture?
This recent article in the Economist gives that old argument new meaning. Japanese scientists have been working to find a genetic link between people and their profession and their satisfaction with their profession. This has come about as scientists have finally discovered that genes don't act alone, but can be influenced by the environment ?
Revisiting the Future - Sustainable Values
Posted by Kathryn Alexander on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 @ 07:39 PM
I had the privilege of being a co-speaker, with a friend, at the Ft. Collins Green Festival on Friday. There we talked to about 300 high school students. We were sharing the Sustainable Values Set?, biomimicry and ZERI with them to show them what a business going green could achieve.
In the 80s I founded an organization called The Entrepreneurial Skills Center, Inc. and we taught high school students how to go into business for themselves. And they did! They had their comics published, hired their parents, bought a new truck, and got offers to buy their businesses. All of this without any capital and the kids were between the ages of 16-18 and all people of color in Oakland, California.
High school students can do so much more than we let them. Since I didn't teach algebra or writing or English they now had real reasons to talk to those teachers because they needed to know how to value stock, track money (I did teach them how to manage a bank account) and how to write contracts.
I recently reconnected with one of my star students ? the one who bought a new truck with the proceeds from his cleaning business. We haven't had a chance to catch up, but he's been to the Great Wall of China and he's reading the ?Tipping Point so it doesn't look like he's done too bad for a black kid from Oakland.
I was very gratified to see that the students we talked to were impacted by the values discussion. The values they could act on immediately and it could have