The 8-week course guides entrepreneurs through the process of developing a triple bottom line business plan. This plan will specifically lay out your company’s mission, operations, marketing, budgeting and related growth strategies. You’ll also learn how to build an inclusive organizational culture, forecast your future needs, and reduce your waste in your operations, thereby decreasing unnecessary costs and potentially harmful social and environmental externalities. It will also enable you to develop mission-driven initiatives that integrate financial, environmental and social perspectives into your overall business strategy.
The curriculum includes a series of lectures, guest speakers, and hands-on excercises (both in-class and as homework). Week by week, the entrepreneurs are supported in developing another key section of their overall business plan, with special consideration given to enhancing eco-efficiency & social impact. The program is designed so that each class builds upon the previous class, providing focused, logical flow to the creation of a well developed plan. The classroom lectures and exercises are supplemented with additional readings and mini case studies of successful TBL entrepreneurs.
The result: Your business will become far better positioned to financially benefit from the growing public interest in sustainability & better positioned for long-term success in an evolving marketplace.
Graduates of the Academy receive a Certificate from the Denver Office of Economic Development.
The Academy serves a wide range of small businesses. Our entrepreneurs represent a wide range of industries and sectors including community-focused nonprofits, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, and service-oriented businesses. From developing effective leadership skills to learning how to forecast demand, you'll discover the key steps to making the TBL relevant to your venture. Our faculty, mentors, and ecosystem of socially responsible companies are committed to help you succeed.
Topics for our upcoming Spring 2013 Academy:
4/29 - The Business Case for the Triple Bottom Line
In this introductory class, we review the overall 8-week curriculum and provide a basic familiarity with Triple Bottom Line thinking. We explore the increasing importance that the public places on corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and how these practices help companies distinguish themselves. We will spend a significant amount of time helping students understand the importance of a well developed "mission statement", and how this statement serves as the foundation for any successful, impactful organization.
5/6 – The Foundation of a TBL Action Plan
Once students have an overall understanding of TBL thinking, they start designing their business plans. In week two, we discuss the value of a having a business plan and begin the process of developing this document. This starts with gathering the appropriate information about the market opportunity, industry trends, and competitive landscape. Students are asked to conduct each of these of analyses and are guided and given access to a variety of resources to assist in this research. We also discuss the prevalence, growth, and values of the emerging LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) market segment.
5/13 – Sustainable Business Strategy and Positioning
This class represents the end of the first module (Strategic Planning) of the 8-week curriculum. Now that we have a firm understanding of our mission and have conducted the appropriate research, we can determine how we will position ourselves in a competitive marketplace. We’ll discuss some contemporary sustainable business strategies and spend significant time in class with an exercise designed to illustrate our strategic objectives
5/20 - Marketing Strategies for TBL Entrepreneurs
With a solid understanding of how TBL thinking will transform their company internally, students will next learn how to communicate those initiatives effectively. We ’ll identify four specific aspects of a compelling marketing strategy for TBL-oriented companies, explore the concepts of green washing, and examine a case study of a brilliant form of “community engagement” marketing.
5/27 - Memorial Day (no class)
6/3 - Operating a Responsible Company
This session examines the day-to-day operations of your business. We’ll discuss topics like facilities, human resource management, supply chains, and how to keep your operations lean and eco-efficient. We also will conduct an exercise in forecasting demand to help build skills necessary to manage production and staffing requirements to match supply with anticipated demand.
6/10 - Finance & Accounting for the TBL Entrepreneur
We’ll be joined by some of our financial partners in week six to discuss some of the financial options available for early-stage entrepreneurs in the Denver area. We’ll also go over the basics of constructing & interpreting financial statements, understanding fixed vs. variable costs, what your "break even" point is, and how to accurately forecast revenue.
6/17 - Leadership and Organizational Culture
This session centers on strategies for creating a corporate culture that has a positive impact on stakeholders: employees, customers/clients, and neighbors. We’ll explore local best practices in community engagement, learn about business ethics and hear from a panel of local business owners about how they’ve improved employee satisfaction, built market share, educated their customers and developed partnerships with nonprofits. Students will apply these lessons to their own business, strategizing how to make a positive difference in their community, while generating revenue.
6/24 - Conclusions and Class Presentations
In the final classroom session, students hand in their final TBL plans and give short presentations about their TBL strategy. Each student will evaluate their peers’ presentations, provide constructive feedback, and help determine which of their classmates will present at the public showcase.
Founder, Greater Good Academy
Executive Director, LOHAS
Bill Morris &
Blue Star Recyclers
Downing Street Garage
ProLevation Inc. &
University of Denver
Communication Strategies Group