Greenweavers - networking for Green Business Owners
Greenweavers Chapters in Dallas, Tarrant County and Collin County
By Julie Thibodeaux
It can be daunting starting a business on your own and many turn to networking groups for support, job leads and keeping up with industry trends. For green business owners, starting out can be doubly challenging because they’re pioneering a new field and not always getting the encouragement it requires.
Clayton Bailey, the owner of a Dallas-based green home inspection business, said he was a regular attendee at traditional business networking groups before he launched DFW Greenweavers last summer. “As a sustainable business owner I found myself going out in the world to pitch my ideas toward everyone. A lot of people put up a barrier when they learned I was a green service provider. I found it easier talking to other people in green industries. I said, ‘Why don’t we just all get together and help each other out?’” (photo credit Clayton Bailey)
Turns out, many of his counterparts were feeling the same way. Seventy people showed up for the first Greenweavers meeting he held in August 2010. Today the Dallas-based group has more than 200 members. In addition, two spin-off groups have sprung up. The Tarrant County Greenweavers launched in Keller last spring, while the Collin County Greenweavers group started in Plano in September.
Members include green business entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, including the owner of an eco-friendly cleaning service, an accredited LEED architect, an e-waste recycler and a woman who owns a composting worm ranch.
Mitch Fine, an Addison-based financial planner who specializes in environmentally and socially responsible investing and chair of the Collin County Greenweavers, said he was looking for people who shared his belief that businesses should be the leaders in the sustainability movement. (photo credit: Mitch Fine). “Greenweavers has helped me discover kindred spirits, share my business model with people who are receptive to my ideas and develop and hone my skills and abilities as a ‘green’ business person.” One of the kindred spirits is Jon Reinke, chair of the Tarrant County Greenwesvers. (photo credit Jon Reinke)
In addition to networking, soon Greenweavers members will have additional ways to strengthen their business presence. Starting in January, for a yearly membership fee of $75, they can attend classes, get business listings on the group’s website and participate in Greenweavers’ exhibits at expos. In addition, a third level of membership will offer further marketing and promotional guidance from experts.
Bailey, who serves as Executive Director for all three Greenweavers groups, said he’d like to see the Greenweavers branch out to other cities and states, providing a stronger green voice in the community.
The green business networking movement appears to be gaining momentum. EcoTuesday, a national networking group that started in San Francisco in 2007, launched a Dallas chapter last year meetup.com/Dallas-EcoTuesday. The American Sustainable Business Council, a Washington, DC-based coalition of businesses, organizations and networks, formed in 2009 to inform public policy.
Meanwhile on the state level, the Texas Green Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to launch a North Texas-based headquarters in the coming months, led by chamber president Greg Vaughn ( email@example.com ) . He said the country can no longer conduct business as usual with natural resources being stretched to their limits. He believes green businesses should unite to lead the way. “We’re all about trying to create the new economy and drive it.”
DFW Greenweavers meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month
For more information, go to meetup.com/DFW-Greenweavers.
Julie Thibodeaux is former writer and editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.