This article was originally on The Scotsman.
Scotland is a thriving hub of entrepreneurial activity, supported by its internationally
successful universities and enterprise programmes.
Edinburgh was found to be the best in the UK to launch a start-up, according to a study by business solutions firm, Expert Market. And my own experience of Scotland is that of an extremely nurturing country, both in its people and the support it offers those with a business idea.
My company, The Healthy Crop, is an example of environmental entrepreneurship – a growing area in which Scotland is making progress. My first product, lil’POP, is a popped snack like popcorn made from a drought-resistant and water resource-saving crop called sorghum.
I grew up in a small American town where water was a scarce resource. The food and drink industry overcame this by using the sorghum grain in a range of products, such as gluten-free beer and flour.
In Scotland, while there’s no lack of support for entrepreneurs (and no shortage of water, I might add) there could be more emphasis placed on the benefits of environmental innovation. A recent study by the Scottish Environment Business Awards found 81 per cent of previous finalists and winners who had implemented environmental improvements to their businesses had seen significant financial gains, with 44 per cent saving more than £10,000 and 17 per cent saving upwards of £50,000 in a year.
The support is out there to create a business that benefits the environment and wider society. I was lucky enough to work with the Scottish Institute for
Enterprise (SIE), which taught me to think entrepreneurially and develop innovative ways to tackle societal challenges. SIE acted as a catalyst to turn my concept into a viable business.
More companies, enterprise programmes and universities should get behind environmental innovation. Whether it’s a new business with environmental
entrepreneurship at its core, or an established business weaving it into existing practices, becoming more environmentally-focused can bring significant benefits.
It’s never too late for companies to learn more about how they can contribute to the circular economy in Scotland, and launch ventures, products, or technologies that address society's environmental and natural resource problems.
An environmentally-focused business was a natural step for me, and while it was borne from my experiences of living in America, the backing I received in Scotland from organisations such as SIE, brought my environmental innovation to life.
Nothing inspires me more than a business built with the environment at the front and centre. Environmental entrepreneurship, I believe, will be the key to a sustainable future not just for Scotland, but across the globe.
Sydney Chasin is the founder of The Healthy Crop.
Images are from the original article and not property of The Healthy Crop Ltd.