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A new voice for green business

A nonprofit aims to help earth-friendly companies find partners-and an ear in Washington.

By Mina Kimes, FSB contributor

FSB -- As eco-friendly small businesses spring up in growing numbers, a new group is bringing them together. The Green Chamber (thegreenchamber.org), a nationwide business network for sustainable companies, opened its doors-and launched its website-in late July.

The nonprofit grew out of an e-mail correspondence between Jon Anderson, founder of The Urban Land Preservation Fund of America, and Willi Paul, a Berkeley, Calif.-based sustainable-business consultant. Both are members of Co-Op America (coopamerica.org), an organization for socially-minded business owners and consumers.

Their goal is to offer an online portal where green companies can connect, list requests for business proposals, share market research, and dispense advice to start-ups. Eventually, Anderson and Paul want the Green Chamber to become a political voice, backing issues such as sustainable development and tax breaks for firms that protect the environment. "We've drafted a platform for legislation," Paul says. "You have to combine business and politics to make a difference."

With a dozen or so clean-energy associations already in existence, do environmentally-oriented companies need another representative? There seems to be some demand. The Green Chamber has already attracted about 200 members, who have paid dues of up to $350 to join, depending on the number of employees, according to its founders.

Jeff Marcous, owner of Dharma Merchant Services, a San Mateo, Calif. company that assists other firms in accepting cash-free payments, joined The Green Chamber immediately. His reason? Growing his venture. Says Marcous, "The network will help us find partners."  Top of page

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