||The prevailing definition of environmental entrepreneurship comes from a 2007 study
that synthesizes economic and entrepreneurship literature: “the process of discovering,
evaluating, and exploiting economic opportunities that are present in environmentally
relevant market failures.” This definition provides a lens through which the environmental
entrepreneur’s activities can de defined, evaluated, and differentiated. The entrepreneurial
process is by no means a formulaic process, however. It is necessarily iterative and
is characterized by time and financial limitations; one sketches a business strategy
and then executes on that strategy. If and when something does not work, one adjusts
accordingly and hopefully before money runs out or a competitor garners market share.
My three years of startup experience at Duke reflect the “art of the start,” in the
words of Guy Kawasaki, much more than the science of entrepreneurship. Through this
process I developed 10 key insights that may be useful for other environmental entrepreneurs.