As the environmental consequences of our business actions have become harder to ignore, so has the increase in the number of start-ups that place environmental values at their core. Having been mobilising UK businesses on climate change and resource depletion since 2007, The Mayday Network also provides invaluable support to emerging businesses keen to harness the economic advantages of starting green.
Katie Webber, Mayday campaign director, says “Small businesses form the back bone of the UK economy. They have a vital and exciting role to play in the move to a low carbon, sustainable future. Innovative and efficient by nature, small businesses in the Mayday Network are learning that simple changes can save them money, and position them well for the future”. Below are some of the channels through which Mayday inspires, engages, and practically assists new and innovative environmental businesses to achieve their goals.
Mentoring - The Mayday Network has teamed up with Rothschild to provide a mentoring programme for environmental start-ups. The scheme matches up employees from Rothschild’s global financial advisory firm with new green businesses, giving small companies professional business support and acting as a sounding board for advice in the early stages of business growth.
Patrick and Sally McEnallay, Managing Directors of Green Kit, are one of the first successful applicants and will be mentored for the next 6-12 months. Green Kit is committed to developing energy efficient, cost effective lighting solutions for the film industry by promoting energy efficient alternatives and by developing the potential for renewable energies to power studios and generators on location.
The Mayday Network will be rolling out mentoring programmes around the UK so look out for the next mentoring programme coming to your region.
The Journey - By signing up to the Prince's Mayday Network businesses have constant access to Mayday’s free step-by-step interactive tool ideally suited to provide support for a start-up’s low carbon journey.
Report Back - Mayday invites all its members to report back every year to see their progress in reducing their environmental impacts. The online tool makes it easier for businesses to calculate their emissions, measure progress, and get ahead by looking at what other businesses are doing to tackle climate change and other environmental challenges. This year Mayday are offering the chance to win 2 hours free consultancy with one of the world's largest sustainability advisory practices - WSP Energy and Environment - to any member who reports back; a fantastic opportunity to any green start-up looking for crucial expertise.
Case Studies - Mayday has an online library of best practice case studies and interviews. These examples of businesses, large and small, that have benefitted from taking positive environmental actions provide a wealth of information, helping start-ups with vital decision-making in the initial stages of founding a green business.
Collaboration - The credibility of the Network encourages various sectors to pool their efforts in tailored collaborative initiatives, whether in the form of a one-off event or a longer-term process. Current sector collaborations include the legal sector Alliance or the food and drink sector, and provide an avenue for start-ups to learn from the positive action in tackling environmental challenges and get support from their related field.
The Mayday Network is introducing monthly online debates around topical issues affecting business as they try to combat climate change and manage their resources efficiently.
Networking - Start-ups who have joined Mayday often say that the networking opportunities are a huge draw. Getting closer to the experiences of market leaders and industry experts within Business in the Community, as well as the option to promote their products and services to a relevant target audience, is something that is invaluable to an emerging business.
Thinking Flowers? Founder Lauren Craig explains how joining the Mayday Network helped her green businesses: “We have found that good networks reduce the risk for small business, and can create perfect environments for supported growth and high return on investment. Leading alone is great for a competitive advantage but leading together is where we build sustainable systems for all.
Workshops - Mayday events provide a platform for new businesses to learn about the practical examples of businesses gaining benefits from improving their environmental impacts at workshops around the UK
Webinars - Online seminars are a brilliant resource for green start-ups, allowing businesses from any location to access the support and best practice these sessions offer for free. Some of Mayday’s more recent webinars included topic areas such as Sustainable Business Travel and Leadership Skills for a Sustainable Economy.
News - The Mayday news listing, together with the Mayday blog, provides up to date environmental stories from Business in the Community members and the wider business world. This channel is great for green start-ups to stay abreast of what’s going on in sustainable business and to keep ahead of the competition.
Expertise - The average company has 54% of its environmental impacts in its supply chain (Green Mondays). Facts like this demonstrate the importance of cross-sectoral knowledge. Mayday provides a network of knowledge and information from across other BITC programmes, such as Workplace, and Marketplace, which is currently producing guidelines to help engage smaller businesses on issues such as supplier diversity and local sourcing.
Practical Tips & Advice - Online suggestions help new businesses make sure they are implementing all activities available to a new organisation to help reduce its impact on the environment at little or no cost. Ranging from office equipment to waste management these tips on energy saving are all quick and easy to implement, and will lead to cost savings that are so important for start-ups.
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