We want to remind all of our Bay Area green business friends that this Thursday is the San Francisco Business Times’ annual Cleantech & Sustainability Awards (previously called the Green Awards).  There are a lot of great green leaders being recognized on this year’s finalist list (below).
Check out our previous post, which includes the interview with Lindsay Riddell, the cleantech and green business reporter for the San Francisco Business Times.  

San Francisco Business Times Cleantech & Sustainability Awards 2011

  • Date: Thursday, June 16, 2011
  • Time: Registration at 5:30, Awards from 6:00 – 7:00 followed by gala reception
  • Place: InterContinental Hotel San Francisco, 888 Howard St., San Francisco

Follow this Link to RSVP:    Cleantech & Sustainability Awards

2011 Finalists:

Cleantech & Sustainability Awards Info & Registration Form:  http://www2.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/event/37371


Chuck Slotkin, founder and managing director of Nature’s Equity, a boutique investment firm operating in the sustainable business space for the past 20 years, joins show host Dick Lyons to continue his conversation regarding business trends in the natural products industry in Episode 16 of The Wendel Forum(originally aired on May  21, 2011 on Green 960 AM radio).

Dick Lyons in Studio

Show host Dick Lyons interviews Chuck Slotkin.

In this episode, the two take a deeper look at innovation happening in the natural food and supplements industry.  They share insights into the qualities that they see in successful start-ups.  They address the business reality check that many entrepreneurs must face in order to jump to the next level (whether by raising capital for product or geographic expansion or positioning for sale).  What are the essential early steps a young business should do to prepare for these possible futures?  A good start is to really understand the market dynamics you face and anticipate a potential suitor’s mindset regarding the perceived value and position of your company.  Is it possible to preserve the core triple-bottom-line values of a company after it’s sold to a more traditional investor?  What challenges do company founders face if they stay with the company as a division manager within the new corporate structure?   Dick and Chuck also discuss the importance of early valuations and normalizing financials to help give the founders a realistic path to their future goals.

Listen to the episode to hear this experienced industry insider share his observations regarding trends in the natural food and product industry and his advice for companies currently contemplating their growth arc.

Post Links:

Listen to the interview with Chuck Slotkin:Episode 16 of The Wendel Forum (27 min 46 sec)

Nature’s Equity: http://naturesequity.com/

About show host Dick Lyons: www.wendel.com/rlyons

Green 960 AM radio: www.green960.com

The Wendel Forum LogoShow me the money!  Growing businesses need the help of sound business advisors, whether looking for capital or positioning for mergers or acquisitions. Many company leaders at young businesses in the sustainable marketplace are great entrepreneurs despite never having had formal business training. As their ideas take off, they need investors to scale their operations and guidance to make their company attractive in the right financial markets.  Add to that a desire to maintain their sustainable values and it can be hard to know who to trust.

Enter Chuck Slotkin, Founder and Managing Director of Nature’s Equity, a boutique investment firm operating in the sustainable business space for the past 20 years. Chuck joins show host Dick Lyons for a discussion of green business financing from the investment banker’s perspective on Episode 15 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on May  14, 2011 on Green 960 AM radio).

The two discuss the movement of specialty natural food and supplement products into the mainstream during the past couple of decades and what that means for companies looking to grow their operations.  Chuck addresses the importance of seeking investment teams and advisors who understand the natural product market, as well as the underlying value of products that tend to have very little strong science behind them.  They talk about issues unique to sustainable companies, such as maintaining the integrity of a supply chain post sale and taking companies through the investment process in a way that reflects their values.
Post Links:

Listen to the interview with Chuck Slotkin: Episode 15 of The Wendel Forum

Nature’s Equity: http://naturesequity.com/

Show host Dick Lyons: www.wendel.com/rlyons

Green 960 AM radio: www.green960.com

Scott Leonard, CEO and co-founder of Indigenous Designs, a fair trade organic fashion clothing company, talks about starting up his business15 years ago with show host Dick Lyons in Episode 12 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on April 23, 2011). 

According to Scott, “We thought we could create a product that brought two different hemispheres into the actual garment.  One hemisphere was that it would be environmental product that respected the earth and the other hemisphere was that it was respecting people.”  He continues, “What we say is that we honor both people and planet in the product.”   He discusses how organic textile certification in the EC provided the foundation for certification in the U.S.  This raises the question of what other laws and regulatory structures could we import from the EC and localize for U.S. markets to promote green business here.

Post Links:

Indigenous Designs website: http://www.indigenousdesigns.com/

Indigenous Designs blog: http://www.indigenousdesigns.blogspot.com/

Discussion with Scott Leonard of Indigenous Designs: Episode 12 of The Wendel Forum (27 minutes)

“There are fantastic stories behind every fair trade cooperative.” That’s one of the messages of Alter Eco co-founder and CEO Mathieu Senard in the latest episode of The Wendel Forum.  In Episode 11 of The Wendel Forum (first aired on April 16, 2011, on Green 960 AM radio), our host Dick Lyons talks with Mathieu about how Alter Eco brings products from third world farmers to North American consumers in a way that earns investors a return on their money, as well as a return on their values.

The company started in 1999 with a small store in France. By 2005 it decided to launch operations in North America and currently imports items including coffee, quinoa, sugar, rice and chocolate.  Placed in independent grocery chains throughout the U.S., including Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, Alter Eco products allow previously marginalized small scale farmers in third world countries an opportunity to bring their products to larger markets and earn a fair wage in the process.

Mathieu shares the story behind Alter Eco and gives us a glimpse into a business model that prioritizes gradually closing the gap between rich and poor – so-called developing countries and industrialized countries.

Post Links:

Interview with Mathieu Senard: Episode 11 of The Wendel Forum

Alter Eco website: www.altereco-usa.com

Rainbow Grocery website: www.rainbow.coop

About the host: www.wendel.com/rlyons

Green 960 AM radio: www.green960.com

In Episode 8 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on Saturday, March 26 on Green 960 AM radio), Dick Lyons continues a discussion inspired by his attendance at the Natural Products Expo West 2011.  What’s the real difference between “organic” and “natural” from a legal standpoint?  Labeling can be confusing. What percentage of a product must be organic if it says “made with organic ingredients?” When can you use the organic USDA seal?  Dick attempts to sort out the subtle differences, which can be confusing to consumers.

Post Links:

Listen to Episode 8: Episode 8 – The Wendel Forum

Natural Products Expo 2011: www.expowest.com

In Episode 7 of The Wendel Forum on Green 960 AM radio (originally aired on Saturday, March 19), Dick Lyons discusses the exponential growth of the Natural Products Expo over the past 30 years – a corollary for the growth of the natural products and organic food industries during that same period.  The event was held in Anaheim March 10-13, 2011 in Anaheim and was the largest turn out ever.  Did you attend?  Did you see anything that surprised you?  If so, we’d like to hear about it.  What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the natural product industry?

Post links:

Natural Products Expo West 2011: www.expowest.com

Listen to Episode 7:  Episode 7