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Posted: April 01, 2010

State of the state: Small biz

Program offers help to green startups with limited means

Randi Abels

For Richard Eidlin, business isn't just about the bottom line - it's also about the greater good.

Eidlin's Greater Good Project, part of his for-profit Progress Group, helps low- to moderate-income businesses become more focused on community and sustainability.

"The Greater Good Project guides you step-by-step and allows you to acquire the knowledge you need so that you don't have to stop, you don't fumble, you don't make giant leaps and bounds," says Karen Megel, whose business, Alpha Goods, got a boost from the Greater Good as part of its business showcase. "They don't set you in places you shouldn't be, and they do not set you up to fail."

Mentors chosen from larger, more established companies in Colorado provide insight and support to the emerging businesses in the program. Eidlin believes "sustainability is the driver of innovation," leading the Greater Good Project to focus on triple-bottom-line businesses - those concerned with environmental sustainability and social responsibility, as well as profitability.
Debra Brown and John Hand opened a company that provides text messaging services to large groups that would normally be left out of the technological advancements.

Their 5-year-old business was part of the Greater Good showcase, and they are looking forward to the project's first-ever training, the Greater Good Academy, this spring.

"The greatest help we have gotten from the showcase for the Greater Good Project is the connection to a group of like-minded people committed to establishing triple-bottom-line businesses that really can flourish here in Colorado, particularly reaching out to minorities," Brown says.

Eidlin hopes the program will help to raise people out of poverty, create a sense of self-sufficiency and develop a connection to community. The eight-week Greater Good Academy, which begins April 20, "will focus on showing how business is a vehicle for improving society," he says. During the course of the training, each company will be assigned a mentor to help them during and after the Academy.

The training fee will be based on a sliding scale, most likely starting at $150 for low- and moderate-income businesses to $450 for established companies. Scholarships will be available.
To register for the Greater Good Academy visit www.proggroup.com/greater-good-project.html. To learn more about the project or to become a mentor, contact Richard Eidlin at Richard@proggroup.com.

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Randi Abels is a ColoradoBiz intern.

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