Greenja: Connecting Student Entrepreneurs with Eco-Friendly Investors

Greenja is an online community platform, which offers everything one needs to start a business in one place. It is aimed to connect student entrepreneurs who are interested in building sustainable businesses with investors who want to invest in eco-friendly businesses. Services: Greenja offers its members (students) a network of supporters, business plan tool kits, professional advice and potential investment. The platform gives investors access to a database of eco-friendly business ideas for potential investments.

Customers: Greenja believes that the market can be divided into three distinct groups that it aims to target.

The first group are students, which count for 2.1 million out of which 48% are interested in starting their own business1. The second group that will be targeted are private investors (business angels) with a potential number of 50,000. The third group are specialized consultants to whom Greenja offers advertisement space.

There is a positive economical climate for entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom. This is reflected in the fact that the UK has the biggest number of business start-ups in Europe.

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2 Around 30% of the European investments in Software and IT are going to the UK.3 The number of businesses is also growing. In 2003 there were 189,900 registrations and 174,400 de-registrations.4 The UK government actively promotes entrepreneurship by sponsoring business start-up fairs and offering grants.5 581 grants were offered in 2000 and 2001 combined, and totalled in US$52.2m.6

Private investors, referred to as 'business angels', invest increasing amounts. Business angel investment doubled from 14 million in 2003 to more than 28 million in 2005.7 The number of business angels in 2004 was estimated at 50,000.

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8 On the other hand there is a large group of aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business. The main challenges they are facing are finding investment and specialized information, i.e. official regulations. There is also a demand for professional advice and contact with like-minded people.

In the last few years several businesses and organisation have been created to satisfy the demands of these two groups. The products and services they offer can be divided into four main categories: 1. Communities Communities in form of online forums, blogs, chat rooms, and networks where entrepreneurs can find like-minded people and form groups, find inspiration, and develop their ideas. Many communities also employ a ranking system to stimulate active participation.

2. Information and tools Information offered can range from guidelines to writing a business plan, looking for finance as well as advise on regulations and legal aspects of setting up a business. Tools are mostly business plan templates and basic strategy tools. 3. Professional advice Services range from professional assistance in writing a business plan, legal advice and market research to web-design and accommodation. 4. Finance Finance is offered in two different ways, being direct finance or links to potential investors.

Not all of these businesses and organisations offer the same products and services. Based on what is being offered, three main types of 'competitors' can be distinguished: Type 1: Linking platforms These platforms focus on connecting entrepreneurs with investors, building communities of entrepreneurs and investors, and offering free information and tools. Additionally, they provide professional advice, which can be offered by themselves or in the form of links to external consultants. There are only a very limited number of platforms with a clear focus on sustainable businesses, whereas most have no specific target group or business. These platforms receive fees for providing contact details and offering professional advice. Their strengths are their investor networks, partnerships and sponsors.

Type 2: Direct investors These private companies focus on providing finance in form of direct investment in exchange for equity of business. Most of them also provide professional advice. Often their websites also offer free information and tools. These companies have no specific focus on type of entrepreneur or business. Their main sources of revenue are fees received for professional advice. Another important source of value creation is their share in the equity of the businesses. Their strengths are their financial resources, experience and know-how. The fact that they are more expensive than other services makes them less attractive.

Type 3: Government and university-based organisations These organisations provide tools and information as well as finance in form of grants and subsidies. There is no focus on specific type of entrepreneur or business. They are funded by the government or universities, which make them free for users and easily accessible. Their main weakness is the very limited finance possibilities and the selective process. Often information and services are of questionable quality.

As mentioned above, most of these competitors do not offer all the products and services in the same place. Some organisations target specific types of entrepreneurs or businesses, but there is only a very small number that targets both specific entrepreneurs and businesses. In fact, there is no competitor that we know of that targets students as well as sustainable businesses. The Opportunity The opportunity for Greenja is to focus on the niche of students and their specific needs as well as on sustainable business ideas, and to build a place where entrepreneurs can find a community, tools and information, professional advices and finance in one place.

Context Political

Increased public and political demand for protecting the environment, led governments to take more and more measures to stimulate sustainable development. The introduction of new legislations such as congestion charging systems, tradable permits, market friction reductions and government subsidy reductions influences the way businesses use resources and treat the environment. Economical Environmentally and socially sustainable businesses become increasingly profitable since the introduction of new laws, higher oil prices and fast growing ethical consumerism.

The ethical consumerism market has reached a size of �29.3 billion in 2005 and increased by 11% compared to the overall household expenditure of only 1.4%.10 Social Growing awareness of the importance of sustainable development. This has been emphasized by Kyoto protocol in 1997. Another example is the hurricane Katharina where people could realize the necessity of sustainable behaviour.

In addition the growing number of people willing to start a business is a sign of a good economic climate in the UK and raised the number of UK businesses up to four million. Technological The increasing demand in sustainable products has resulted in new innovations in eco-friendly technology. Many car-companies offer alternative energy sources in their cars and companies like Tanfield provides whole fleets with electric powered Vans for logistical operations.12 Other products like solar cells have been improved and are more reliable and more efficient today.

"Be the link between you and a better, cleaner and healthier world." Objectives 1. Stimulating the realisation of economically, ecologically and socially sustainable businesses. 2. Developing a platform that will be the link between the different players involved in sustainable business start-ups. 3. Building a community where entrepreneurs (students) can find inspiration and motivation, meet other people and form teams, and find knowledge and support to develop high quality business plans. 4. Creating a database of business plans available to investors interested in sustainable businesses.

5. Building a network of investors interested in sustainable business to provide finance to the members of the community. 6. Building a network of consultants specialised in sustainable business to provide high quality consulting to the members of the community. Products and services In order to reach the company's objectives we plan to offer a range of online products and services. The website will be divided in two sections. One section contains our offer to entrepreneurs while the other section will be targeted at the investors. Entrepreneurs' section This section is an online application based on the Facebook format and is called 'Greenja community'. Entrepreneurs can subscribe to two types of membership that give access to a different range of services.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Greenja: Connecting Student Entrepreneurs with Eco-Friendly Investors. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Greenja: Connecting Student Entrepreneurs with Eco-Friendly Investors essay
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