Posted by Luke on October 11, 2010
I attended an award ceremony on October 7th that recognized Steve Savage, the Founder and Chairman of Eco-Products, as the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. With Boulder being the Best Town for Startups, according to BusinessWeek, and a top place for entrepreneurs, according to Fast Company, and owning numerous other titles for being an entrepreneurial haven (see my previous post: Boulder’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem), claiming the title of Entrepreneur of the Year is a huge freaking deal. It’s like being named the best sushi chef in Japan, or the top skier in Vail, or the the smartest guy at Harvard Cornell (my school spirit shines on).
Starting companies is no random act for Steve. He also founded Ellie’s Eco Home Store, a natural products retail store in Boulder, and his latest venture is called National Eco Wholesale, a national wholesaler of retail products. Steve also isn’t a newcomer to winning awards. Here are some of the others he’s won in the past 2-3 years:
- 40 Under 40 by the Natural Foods Merchandiser
- Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist from Ernst & Young
- Boulder County Business Report’s Eco-Hero Award
- Champion of the Environment Award by Thorne Ecological Institute
And I know he’s just getting started.
Congratulations Steve. It’s well-deserved.
Posted in awards, Boulder, Eco-Products, startup | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Luke on September 28, 2010
As a rebellious kid, I listened to explicit hip-hop despite my parents’ wishes. For those who can relate, you’ll remember the term “O.G.” I can’t say that I ever actually wanted to be an O.G. (Original Gangster), but that was what young punks like me thought was cool. Well, now I can claim association with an O.G., but this time I’m not referring to Snoop Dogg’s posse. I’m referring to Original Greenies.
When Eco-Products was founded in 1990, we were the first business-to-business distributor in the nation solely of environmental products. And we were also the first company in our industry to sell nothing but green products. Friday is Eco-Products’ 20th anniversary. Relative to the packaging industry as a whole, we haven’t been around as long as some. But relative to the green movement, Eco-Products was one of the originals. That is a hell of an accomplishment. I think all of this qualifies us as being an O.G. We have been green-blooded from the start. We were green before green was a commonly used term.
What’s exciting about this to me is that we’ve strengthened our commitment to sustainability even more as time has passed. We’ve invested in carbon offsets, pushed the boundaries of what is the norm for materials used in packaging products, paid employees to carpool or ride bikes, and invested heavily in our overall corporate sustainability. During the recent economic downturn when our industry was in decline, we hired a full time employee as our “Sustainability Maven” to do nothing but measure and improve our sustainability practices. We could have hired a sales person instead to drive more sales, or we could have not hired anyone at all and just pocketed the money. But that’s not what our mission is. We believed that if we did even more to be sustainable it would pay dividends to our triple bottom line – people, planet and profits – in the long run.
When I write blog posts, there’s a fine line I find myself walking between bragging about all of the cool things that Eco-Products is doing and trying not to make this a nothing-but-Eco-Products blog. The only way readers will get value from this blog is if it talks about broader sustainability topics. However, right now, I’m bragging about my company. I’m proud of Eco-Products. We are committed to our mission, and it’s exciting to be part of a company that truly is driving change in such a massive industry. You can read more about the history of how Steve Savage and his father Kent started the company in their garage here…
I’ll leave you with Ice T’s song “Original Gangster” from 1991… oh, I remember when I used to own that album.
Posted in awards, Eco-Products, environmental products, green products, manufacturing, sustainability | Tagged: Eco-Products, first green company, green companies, Ice T, original green | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Luke on September 20, 2010
Eco-Products was named to the Inc. magazine’s list of Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America again this year. Our 3-year growth registered at 1,012% which is up from our growth in the 2009 list of 844%. However, our ranking dropped from #270 to #297.
That seems odd to me. Our 2007-2009 growth was 168% more than our 2006-2008 growth yet our ranking dropped. I’m not complaining because it’s an accomplishment to be on the list at all. But that either means small businesses and entrepreneurs are thriving in the recession, or ???? I can’t figure it out.
Either way, congrats to all of our employees and a big THANK YOU to our customers, suppliers, and other partners. This means a lot to us. Here are some other green businesses on the list as reported by Earth911.com.
Posted in awards, Eco-Products | Tagged: Eco-Products, fastest growing companies, Inc 500, Inc magazine, sustainable businesses | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Luke on August 31, 2010
In a previous post, I announced a contest – “ReTHINK Your Impact” – in which any business can win an eco makeover. We’re choosing one lucky company (a coffee shop or restaurant or other foodservice establishment) who will win free products from Eco-Products for an entire year. That’s a lot of cups! We’ll also assess all of their operations and suggest eco improvements, essentially giving them free sustainability consulting. Not bad!
The other part of the contest involves us giving away three different $4,000 sustainability grants for a total of $12,000. The grants will be applied to a cause or initiative in the selected company’s community to educate people about composting, environmental conservation, recycling, or another sustainability-related activity.
Click here to nominate your favorite coffee shop or restaurant or check it out on Facebook. And watch this clever video…
Posted in awards, compostable products, cups, Eco-Products, event, sustainability | Tagged: Eco-Products, rethink your impact contest, sustainability consulting, sustainability grant, win free compostable products | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Luke on May 28, 2010
Thanks to all of the loyal customers and dedicated employees of Eco-Products, last night we were named the 3rd fastest growing company in Boulder County. Our 3-year growth rate was 388% growth. We’ve now been in the top 15 every year for the past 5 years. Here’s the history:
- 2010 – #3
- 2009 – #1
- 2008 – #6
- 2007 – #13
- 2006 – #6
I truly feel privileged to be part of such a dynamic and exciting company. Thanks again to our loyal followers and supporters as well as our talented employees. This wouldn’t be possible without you. You make me want to continue to work my ass off every single day.
Posted in awards, Eco-Products, event | Tagged: boulder county, Eco-Products, fastest growing companies, green companies, Mercury 100 | 1 Comment »
Posted by Luke on May 19, 2010
Eco-Products just announced a really incredible contest – Rethink Your Impact contest. We are giving away free product to a business for an entire year and three $4,000 grants to a businesses’ local community. Restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses can self-nominate or they can have their customers nominate them. Imagine winning free product for a year or winning the opportunity to give a $4,000 grant to a meaningful cause in your local community. Pretty impactful.
Free Product for a Year
We want to give a restaurant, coffee shop, or other business a green makeover. If you’ve been considering going green, but aren’t sure where to start or if you can afford it, we’ll give you the resources. The will be challenged to show why their business is deserving of the makeover which includes a full line of Eco-Products made from renewable and recycled resources. Well provide educational materials, including signage and training for staff to exhibit that show how simple choices, such as which cups you use, really add up. We’ll also help you setup a composting and recycling program.
$4,000 Grant for Your Community
For businesses currently using Eco-Products, win a triple-shot of grants designed to spread your positive impact throughout your community. Over the course of a year, you’ll work with Eco-Products to plan three grant programs (valued at $4000.00 each) that will improve access to or educate your community about sustainable and eco-friendly choices. We’ll be looking for initiatives like supporting a composting program for your town’s Farmer’s Market, helping fund a recycling program for a school, promoting a clean-up of your local downtown park, or setting up a community garden. Eco-Products will work with you to create the best program for the most positive impact in your local area.
For more information, visit the Rethink Your Impact web page.
Posted in awards, composting, Eco-Products, environmental products, event | Tagged: contest, free cups, free products, go green, grant, Rethink Your Impact | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Luke on May 15, 2010
For all of the stereotypes that exist about Boulder (see “25 Miles Surrounded by Reality”), it’s a great place to locate a company. It’s commonly referred to as the mecca of both the natural products and smart grid industries. It has also quickly become a haven for tech startups.
I recently heard about an award the city won from Business Week magazine. Boulder was named the “Best Town for Startups.” Way to go Boulder. There are some groups in town that deserve recognition for making this happen.
Of those groups are a couple of progressive VCs such as Greenmont Capital Partners and The Foundry Group who are investing in building an entrepreneurial community. Clearly it’s paying off. They are doing things such as developing entrepreneurial activities at CU, hosting events to connect entrepreneurs with VCs, and creating programs such as TechStars and Startup Weekend. The Foundry Group was recently featured on the cover of the business section of the New York Times for their work in developing Boulder into a startup hub.
Another group that has played an instrumental role in developing the entrepreneurial community here is the Boulder Innovation Center. They do a lot of work with tech transfer startups from CU. To all of these groups and the numerous others who have built Boulder’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, thank you. It’s incredible to be a part of and to live in a community like this. I can’t imagine Eco-Products being located anywhere else.
I’ll close this post with a few other awards Boulder has won which speaks to what a great place it is to work and live. You can tell I like it here.
- #2 Healthiest Town in the U.S. by Men’s Health (2010)
- #1 Strongest U.S. Housing Market by Business Week (2009)
- #1 City to Raise an Outdoor Kid by Backpacker Magazine (2009)
- #1 Town to Live Well by Forbes (2009)
- #1 Most Educated City in America by Forbes (2008)
- #5 Best Green Places to Live by Country Home Magazine (2008)
Posted in awards, Boulder, innovation | Tagged: awards, Boulder, Boulder Innovation Center, entrepreneur, entreprenuerialism, Foundry Group, Greenmont Capital, Silicon Flatirons, startups, TechStars | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Luke on April 20, 2010
The Princeton Review recently published a guide to the greenest colleges. It talks about how students’ decisions in choosing a college are influenced by a university’s sustainability efforts.
- 66 percent of high school respondents said they would value having information about a college’s commitment to the environment
- 24 percent said such information would “very much” impact their decision to apply to or attend the school
I was disappointed that neither of my alma maters – Cornell and University of Colorado – were on the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll. CU was previously ranked by the Sierra Club as the #1 most environmental school in the country. As with most organizations who embark on green missions and must first define what green means to them, I guess the Princeton Review and the Sierra Club have their own definitions for “green.”
Posted in awards, universities | Leave a Comment »