Green Entrepreneurship

  • On Leadership: When Politicians Can’t Be Entrepreneurial, Entrepreneurs Must Be Political


Sometimes the market does things that the government can’t or won’t do.

startupPolitics may be a dead end when it comes to addressing the planetary ecological crisis, but entrepreneurship is open-ended. In this crisis swarms of entrepreneurs have seen opportunities and they are rushing to exploit them, in the process creating many new green technological innovations.

In the final analysis, these victories in the marketplace may well count for more than victories in the halls of Congress. And here’s the icing on the cake: ultimately the force of new and growing green businesses will form a powerful constituency that restores balance and health to American politics.

There are some wonderful lessons to be learned here:

True entrepreneurs don’t wait to be told what to do. They don’t sit around hoping that new laws or regulations will improve the entrepreneurial climate. Instead, entrepreneurs accept things as they find them and in that context figure out a way to do their thing if it’s at all humanly possible.

Entrepreneurs focus on solutions, not on partisanship or ideology. That’s why they can sometimes leapfrog over political barriers to progress.

Technological innovation is often easier and more efficient than political solutions while politics is slow, cumbersome and fractious work.

Finally, there’s this: entrepreneurs embrace risk while politicians – most of them – are risk-adverse. Or, maybe, to be fair I should rephrase this observation to state that entrepreneurs can afford to take risks that politicians cannot.

In short, we should thank our lucky stars that entrepreneurs are there to provide an alternative leadership when our political system fails us.

What’s the difference between a new and innovative green technology that finally succeeds in the market and an important new piece of environmental legislation that finally succeeds in getting passed by Congress and signed into law by the President? 

Both have been through a long and grueling process but the green technology was probably improved and strengthened by the tortuous process it endured while the idea behind the new law was probably distorted and debased by the tortuous process it endured.  

Result? The new green technology works well and the new environmental law doesn’t.