Where the Green Opportunities Are - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All

Two ideas converge in the term “green economy:” To increase efforts toward conservation and sustainability, a diverse, skilled, blue- and white-collar workforce is needed.

Many small business owners understand that the directive to go green translates into a business opportunity, but they often lack the ability to capitalize on it (See “The Business of Green,” June 2010). This is where advocacy organizations such as Oakland, California-based Green For All (www.greenforall.org) come in. The national nonprofit identifies job, business, and investment opportunities and works to build inclusion within the green economy. Here, Green For All’s CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, who’s named as one of BE’s 40 Next (“Emerging Leader for Our Future,” August 2010) discusses three industries that are sprouting areas of green business.

Industry: Energy
Sector: Energy Efficiency

Creative financing models and major public investment are fueling an explosion in the energy-efficiency market. What’s more, some of that capital and social investment is funding the training of entrepreneurs and workers. Many local programs are also paying special attention to opening these opportunities to historically disadvantaged businesses. Portland, Oregon-based Clean Energy Works Portland is one example. “The results have been impressive,” says Ellis-Lamkins. “Preliminary data shows that [more than] 20% of total program dollars [as of September] have gone to minority- or women-owned contractors [including sub-contractors].”

Industry: Agriculture
Sector: Urban Agriculture

With minimal investment, education, and training, urban farmers who cultivate, process, and distribute food within city limits can create wealth and jobs while helping cities increase the supply, security, and quality of their food. Hundreds of urban farms have sprouted up across the country employing a wide range of business models and practices–a growing number of which are making a profit.

Excluding the cost of land, an entrepreneur can get the basic equipment needed to start for $10,000, according to Ellis-Lamkins. Many cities, including Detroit, Cleveland, and Brooklyn, New York, are adapting policies to make it easier and advantageous for urban farmers to find land they can use.

Industry: Manufacturing
Sector: Green Urban Manufacturing

With ample offerings for entrepreneurs and investors in this sector, green technologies are opening the space for businesses to gain a foot hold. Formerly vibrant industrial cities such as Detroit are considering green manufacturing as a way to revitalize their cities and address persistent unemployment. Developing the manufacturing parts for harnessing wind and solar energy in the U.S. is among the business possibilities. “By taking advantage of emerging policity and market opportunities in America’s industrial cities,” notes Ellis-Lamkins, “entrepreneurs and investors can turn a profit, help the environment, and create high-quality jobs for American workers.”

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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