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In the financial world, a unicorn is a term that refers to a privately held startup firm with a valuation of more than $1 billion. Unlike many other developed countries, the U.S. is home to some of the most popular unicorns in the world and most of these unicorns are tech-based. If you would like to know more about them, then detailed in the article are the ten best-known unicorns in the U.S.

Our list of the best-known unicorns in the U.S. is based on the list in Tech Startups used consumer awareness, i.e. how familiar consumers are with the product or service offered by the unicorn, to rank the unicorns. Following are the best-known unicorns in the U.S.

10. Postmates (46 percent)
Founded in 2011, the company provides local delivery of restaurant-prepared meals and other goods. The company enables anyone to get any product delivered in less than an hour. Postmates relies on a mobile app and Global Positioning System to connect inventories and consumer demand. In December, Uber announced that it completed the acquisition of Postmates for $2.65 billion.

9. Epic Games (49 percent)

Founded in 1991, it is a leading video game and software developer and publisher. The company also offers 3D engine technology. It operates Fortnite, which is among the biggest games globally with more than 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic is headquartered in Cary, N.C., and has more than 40 offices worldwide.

8. 23andME (54 percent)
Founded in 2006, it is a leading consumer genetics and research company. It is popular for providing a direct-to-consumer genetic testing service, where users need to provide a saliva sample. The name 23andME is inspired by the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell. In 2019, it was named as one of the "Best Places to Work" by Glassdoor, and in 2017, it featured in MIT Technology Review’s list of the "50 Smartest Companies."

7. Quora (54 percent)
Founded in 2009, it is a Q&A platform that allows users to ask questions and answer other people’s questions. It was co-founded by former Facebook employees. “More than a billion people use the internet yet only a tiny fraction contribute their knowledge to it. We want to democratize access to knowledge of all kinds….” the company’s LinkedIn page says. Last year, the site had 590 million unique visitors a month.

6. Ibotta (58 percent)
Founded in 2012, it is a mobile technology company. Ibotta is basically a mobile shopping app that enables users to earn cash back on groceries and more. The company has partnerships with leading brands and retailers, such as Walmart, Target, Procter & Gamble, Kraft Heinz, Amazon, Uber, and more. Ibotta is among the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., and in 2019, it became the first mobile consumer technology company in Colorado to hit $1 billion valuation.

5. Grammarly (58 percent)

Founded in 2009, it offers a digital writing assistance tool, which is based on natural language processing and artificial intelligence (AI). The company is headquartered in San Francisco, but has offices in Kyiv, New York City, and Vancouver. Grammarly’s toolkit is used by about 20 million people to better their written grammar. The software is compatible with several browsers and can be used as a browser extension, web app, mobile and desktop app, as well as with specific apps such as Microsoft Office.

4. Credit Karma (71 percent)
Founded in 2007, it is a multinational personal finance company. It is popular as a free credit and financial management platform. Credit Karma is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., and has its operations in the U.S., Canada and the UK. The platform enables users to access credit scores and other credit information from Equifax and TransUnion. Also, it helps users to better their credit rating.

3. Buzzfeed (73 percent)
Founded in 2006, it is a leading digital media and tech company that provides news and entertainment content. Buzzfeed covers breaking news and comes up with original video and content that users can share on the web. The company is based in New York City and has offices in 18 cities around the world. It was initially known for online quizzes and pop culture articles, but has now grown into a global media and technology company.

2. Airbnb (86 percent)
Founded in 2008, it is among the biggest vacation rental online marketplace companies. The company is based in San Francisco, Calif., and operates in over 81,000 cities and 191 countries globally. Airbnb allows users to arrange for lodging and tourism experiences, as well as list properties for rental. Thus, for hosts, it serves as a way to earn passive income, while for guests, it allows them to get relatively inexpensive accommodations. Technically, Airbnb is not a unicorn anymore because it became a public company last month.

1. Reddit (86 percent)

Founded in 2005, it is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website. This social platform is home to thousands of communities, such as tech topics, TV fan theories, breaking news, sports, and more. As per the data from Alexa Internet, it was the 17th-most-visited website globally and the seventh most-visited website in the U.S. as of October 2020. About 40% of its user base is from the U.S., while the UK accounts for 10 percent of its users.

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IIM-A grad Kaushalendra has changed the way one grows and sells vegetables.

A vegetable vendor carrying an IIM-Ahmedabad MBA degree sounds like a spoof of some 1970s Hindi movie on unemolyment, but ask Kaushalendra, who has chosen to do the unthinkable, and he will give you an eye-opener: “No business is small, as long as it delivers a big mission.”Kaushalendra ventured into selling vegetables in Bihar after receiving MBA degree from India’s top B-school IIM-A. He topped the PGP-ABM batch in 2007 but declined offers from MNCs and boarded a train to Nalanda to work with his ‘own people’. The son of a farmer, who mostly studied under street lamps, always had an aim to revolutionise the lives of farmers.In 2008, he formed KNIDS Green in 2008, bringing together more than 3,000 farmers to deliver fresh vegetables in major districts of Bihar. This public-private partnership firm was set up with the support of Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), which supplies fresh vegetables in air-cooled push-carts.

Read more at:

The challenges facing the world right now are shaking up global economies, pushing healthcare systems to their limits, and upheaving people’s daily lives.

Currently, more than one-third of the world’s population is under some form of lockdown. To put it simply: there isn’t a business, government, or person that hasn’t felt the effects of coronavirus, even to some degree. One very noticeable impact of the outbreak is its influence on how and what people purchase. This is having a knock-on effect on various industries and key groups.

Travel purchases are taking the brunt.
More expensive purchases, and those that involve travel, are the most likely to be delayed while the outbreak is still ongoing.
For example, 41% of global consumers have delayed purchasing vacations and holidays. This rises to 53% in China, a country that has been in lockdown for over 6 weeks and is only starting to re-emerge on the other side.

chart showing big purchases will take a hit.
1 in 4 consumers have also delayed purchasing a flight, jumping to over 2 in 5 consumers in Singapore.

Heightened delays in Singapore are likely because of very early restrictions that were implemented there, such as strict border controls, aggressive testing measures, intensive tracing of carriers, and surveillance actions.

The country has managed to contain the virus so far but, understandably, consumers are still cautious about booking new travel.

Among travel enthusiasts (those who express an interest in travel), around half say they are delaying purchasing a vacation and close to 1 in 3 are delaying purchasing a flight.

On the other hand, only 9% of Japanese internet users say they’re delaying purchasing flights and just 14% say they’re delaying booking a vacation or holiday – the lowest of all countries we’ve tracked.

Additionally, 61% of consumers in Japan selected “none of these” as an option, suggesting that they’re not delaying purchases on the same scale as other countries.

Interestingly, even though they’re not as prohibitive with their own plans, Japanese consumers are the least optimistic of all markets surveyed that their country and the world will overcome the coronavirus outbreak.

Japan has certainly been the exception so far, having seemingly managed to dodge the explosive rates of the virus that other countries have experienced.

Despite concerns that they’re being too optimistic and lenient, daily life seems to continue as normal for many, with people flooding national parks and gathering in large groups at various events, which may partly explain why consumers there are less inclined to delay purchases.

Luxury is taking a backseat – especially in China.

The luxury market is also taking a hit, with 15% of consumers delaying purchases of luxury items.
This rises to 22% in the Philippines and 20% in China.
And among an audience of affluent, luxury buyers in China, around 2 in 5 say they’re delaying purchases of luxury items.

For brands operating in China, this presents a serious blow as this country currently dominates the luxury purchases market and in fact, is expected to account for 41% share of the global luxury market by 2025. On Singles Day last year, Alibaba saw revenues of $38.4 billion.

In addition, our global research found that 65% of Chinese consumers say they try to buy the premium version of a product, compared to 55% of global internet users. This underlines the challenges facing brands in the luxury sector who rely heavily on Chinese consumers.

Age is also a strong influencer for delaying purchases. We found that Gen Z are most likely to be delaying purchases in several categories, no doubt in part to their lower average income levels.

Notably, over 20% of Gen Z say they’re delaying buying technology devices such as smartphones. This is important because Gen Zs are the biggest users of mobiles, spending an average of 4 hours and 9 minutes globally per day on their smartphone.

Purchases could be delayed for quite some time.
It’s clear that purchasing habits could take a long time to return to normal.

Over 40% of consumers say they will buy major purchases only when the outbreak decreases or ends in their country.

But close to 20% say they will wait until the outbreak decreases or is over globally.

Chinese consumers are most likely to say they’ll resume purchasing when the outbreak decreases or ends on a national level (52%). In comparison, Singaporean consumers would prefer to wait until this happens globally (35%).

Younger generations are also more inclined to wait until the outbreak improves on a national level. Similarly, the top income group are most open to making their purchases once the national situation begins to improve.

All categories risk being affected significantly until the crisis is over. Looking at our breakdown, around half of consumers who are delaying purchases of flights and technology devices say they will buy these only when the outbreak is over in their country or globally.

And 53% of those who are delaying purchases of vacations or tickets to sporting events say the same – increasing to 56% among sports fans.

Consumers aren’t just delaying purchases either; when it comes to travel, many are abandoning their plans entirely. 22% of global consumers say they have canceled planned trips to another country (rising to 49% in Singapore) and 35% have canceled planned trips within their own country (rising to 46% in China).

Consumers are struggling to buy essentials.
Many of us are now familiar with the sight of empty supermarket shelves, devoid of the essentials we usually buy. Fear has undoubtedly taken over consumer’s usual shopping behaviors. Pasta, toilet rolls, hand sanitizer, and other long-life foods are just some of the products that consumers have been loading up on in recent weeks.

45% of consumers globally say they’ve purchased extra food and drink supplies.While 43% say they have purchased extra household supplies such as toilet rolls, tissues, and cleaning supplies.

According to Helen Dickinson, Head of the British Retail Consortium, “There’s £1bn more food in people’s houses than there was three weeks ago”. Retailers are facing the level of demand that’s typically seen around Christmas time, which unlike now, is expected and they have time to plan for. Many retailers say they have enough food supplies, but they’re struggling to get items into stores as fast as consumers are purchasing them.

This has left many supermarkets in the UK, such as Tesco and Waitrose, with no option but to limit the amount of items a person can purchase. And the UK government is urging consumers to shop responsibly and to be considerate of others. Many UK retailers have also implemented dedicated shopping hours for elderly, vulnerable groups, and NHS medical staff to allow them to get the items they need.

We’re certainly seeing the impact of this excessive behavior across markets.Our data shows that Australians are struggling the most to buy fundamental household and food items. Two-thirds of Australian consumers say they’re struggling to buy essential household items like toilet rolls, compared to just 8% in China and 7% in Italy.

Also, just over a third of Australians are also having a difficult time purchasing food and drink items (globally just 11% say the same). This is partly because of supply issues from countries Australia relies on for trade, such as China.

There also seems to be an information gap in South Africa. For example, 29% of South Africans have the biggest issue with getting up-to-date information about the situation in their local area and 22% struggle to get up-to-date information about the situation in their country.This highlights just how important accurate, timely, and trustworthy news is at this time.

PPE and medical supplies are in high demand.
Face masks (45%) and hand sanitizer gel (30%) are the top items globally that consumers are struggling to purchase. By country, Japan sees the highest struggle to buy face masks at 78%, while the Philippines struggles the most to purchase hand sanitizer gel at 70%. This is a common occurrence across most countries.

Google searches for hand sanitizer have skyrocketed, while many pharmacies and stores have sold out. With the increased demand, Amazon and Walmart sellers have also been criticized for price gouging

But some brands have been lending a hand. Louis Vuitton owner, LVMH, started making hand sanitizer to meet demand and SpaceX is also manufacturing its own hand sanitizer and face shields with plans to donate materials to hospitals.

The onus is on brands to do more.
More than ever before, consumers are expecting brands to take action. As we covered recently, brands are being put to the test to see how they respond and consumers are taking note.Around 80% of global consumers agree that brands should close non-essential stores.

But there are notable country differences here. There are some countries that are overwhelmingly in favor of brands closing non-essential stores, such as Italy, Spain, and France. In the worst and second worst hit countries in Europe, Italy and Spain, 93% of consumers in both markets agree that brands should close non-essential stores.

In contrast, just 36% of consumers in Japan feel the same. This is likely because their current situation is very different to countries like Italy and Spain. Notably, Japan is the least likely of all countries to believe lockdown is necessary. Just 16% believe the whole population should be locked down at home compared to 79% in France and Spain and 74% in Italy.

Brands around the world are stepping up and closing stores to protect staff and the public. But some brands, whose response has not been as strong, have come under scrutiny. Recently, UK retailer, Sports Direct, came under fire from the government and social media users after it went against the advice of the government to close non-essential stores.

In an open letter, Sports Direct, owned by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, claimed that its sports equipment stores were an essential service in the fight against the pandemic and would remain open. But after serious backlash from the government and users on social media, the company did a U-turn on its initial stance. It’s an important lesson that during times like these, brands will be remembered for putting public benefit ahead of profits and for taking action that supports the uphill battle we all face.

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Written by
Katie Gilsenan
Katie is Consumer Insights Manager at GlobalWebIndex. Working as part of the Trends team, Katie produces a wide range of assets including reports, blogs, and infographics, with a particular interest in healthcare trends. Before moving to GlobalWebIndex, Katie worked at a creative branding agency advising large FMCG clients on brand strategy and insight challenges.


While many companies are hurting during the coronavirus pandemic, some small businesses are seeing lots of new and returning customers.

With the U.S. business landscape radically changed in the past few weeks due to coronavirus, the majority of stories people are hearing concern businesses closing or laying off workers. However, some small businesses are uniquely suited to the COVID-19 crisis and have seen an uptick in demand.

With all kinds of businesses creatively learning to adapt to coronavirus, it should come as no surprise that some traditional businesses have seen success in this new landscape as well. Businesses that help people “social distance” themselves from others and retailers that help people stock up for eating and drinking at home are primary examples.

Here's a list of small business types that are seeing business boom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cleaning services
With the spread of coronavirus fears around the country, it should come as no surprise that professional cleaning services that sanitize offices, restaurants and homes are in high demand. Cleaning companies, such as Columbus, Ohio-based Corporate Cleaning Inc., said demand has increased substantially for commercial buildings and medical facilities in light of COVID-19.

Delivery services
With many consumers afraid to leave their homes or being advised by state governments to shelter in place during the coronavirus crisis, professional delivery services have stepped up to make sure goods can be delivered to homes and businesses. While nationwide food delivery services and corporate retail deliveries have been the largest beneficiary, local delivery services such as GrubSouth in Huntsville, Alabama are also seeing strong demand.

Drive-in movie theaters
One of the most peculiar small business categories that have recently seen success in the coronavirus era is drive-in movie theaters. With standard movie theaters seen as less safe (most are now closed) because they encourage hundreds of people to gather in small spaces, drive-in theaters allow people to take in a show from their own car and provide a way for families to get out of the house.

Grocery stores
With the general public practicing “social distancing” and many U.S. states closing restaurant dining rooms, more families are stocking up on goods and eating at home. This has led to large and small grocers alike to see surges in customer demand.The CEO of Stew Leonard's, a grocery chain with seven supermarkets in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, told Fox News recently that its goods had been flying off the shelves. Some of the store’s top sellers have been toilet paper, hand sanitizer, pizza and chicken.

Liquor and wine stores
With many bars closed around the United States due to COVID-19, local liquor and wine stores have dramatically increased sales. JD Phelps, store manager at New York City’s Vintage Grape Wines & Spirits, told Bloomberg that it’s been difficult to keep up with demand in the past few weeks with people wanting to stock up at home.

Meal prep delivery services
Many of the top brands for meal preparation and delivery are skyrocketing due to people spending more time at home and less at restaurants. Taking advantage of this trend, several small businesses that offer meal prep and delivery are also seeing increased demand.

Canned and jarred goods companies
With many people wanting to stock up on canned and jarred food, small businesses that manufacture these goods are seeing more business. Charlotte, North Carolina’s Cannizzaro Sauces, for example, has seen a lot of new sales for its fresh tomato sauce.

Game makers and sellers
With the novel coronavirus forcing many people to stay at home instead of going out, small businesses that create board games and puzzles are popular since they help entertain families.  Additionally, small video game makers that work on creative titles for children are seeing an uptick in demand with many kids unable to attend school.

Fitness equipment companies
With many gyms closed across the U.S., Americans have turned to home gyms in order to help them stay fit during the coronavirus crisis. While yoga mat purchases are likely the number one purchase for many working out at home, other fitness products are seeing success.

Landscaping and yard care companies

As more people than ever are stuck at home due to coronavirus fears, homeowners have much more time to tend to their lawns and gardens. As such, landscaping and general yard care companies are seeing unseasonably good business.

Bread-baking companies
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed more people to spend time at home cooking and baking, making all sorts of new recipes. One part of this new trend is specifically baking bread, which is helping Americans alleviate stress and tap into their creativity. In turn, companies that enable the baking of bread have seen their demand sharply increase, including makers of flour and yeast.

Coffee subscription companies
With many consumers unable to buy coffee in person because shops are closed or they are hesitant to leave their homes, coffee companies that offer home delivery are seeing increased demand. These providers include those who ship freshly roasted beans, pre-packaged cold brew and other variations.In particular, coffee subscription companies that deliver new beans weekly or monthly are getting a lot more attention from consumers. Companies including Mistobox, Trade Coffee and Yes Plz Coffee are beneficiaries in the social distancing world. Additionally, some coffee shops that have been closed storefronts have been able to generate new revenue streams by delivering beans, including many shops in coffee-dependent New York City.

Gardening suppliers
With so many people at home and the weather beginning to get warmer around the U.S., home gardening has gained new popularity. People are growing their own fruits, vegetables and plants because it can be a little scary to go to the grocery store, supply is constrained at stores, and there’s simply more time to try your hand at being a green thumb. Naturally, gardening companies including seed providers are booming.

Mask makers

While mask-making wasn’t exactly in high demand at the beginning of 2020, just a few months later it has become a popular choice for new entrepreneurs. Americans all over the country want to obtain high-quality (and in some cases creative) masks to protect themselves and those around them.

Telehealth services

In the era of COVID-19, many people don’t want to leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary, and they especially don’t want to go to medical offices where they could be exposed to the novel coronavirus. Thus, telehealth companies that allow patients to see doctors or therapists via their computers or phones have become more popular, increasing an estimated 50% nationwide.

Boston-based telemedicine technology company Amwell, for example, said it has recently seen more than five times the volume it experiences during peak flu season. “In the past seven days we were 624% higher than our expected volume for this week,” Mike Baird, President of Customers Solutions at Amwell, told the Orlando Sentinel. “We have seen multiple large health systems come to us and say, "I want to enroll 2,000 or 1,000 providers [quickly].”

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Entrepreneurship education has been defined as “a collection of formalized teachings that informs, trains, and educates anyone interested in participating in socioeconomic development through a project to promote entrepreneurship awareness, business creation, or small business development”.

1. Nurx

Nurx is improving women's access to birth control through an easy-to-use digital application. This tool gives users the ability to simply request a prescription online. The prescription is then delivered right to their door.

"We realized there were certain things people wanted done in healthcare rather than research them and birth control is certainly one of those," cofounder Han Gangeskar told TechCrunch. "Everyone we spoke with, friends of friends said friends called them with a birth control prescription emergency."

For users with health insurance, birth control is free. Additionally, for those without health insurance, contraceptives start at $15 per month. The application is currently available in more than 15 states. In 2019, Nurx will continue to cause major disruptions in women's health through their first-of-its-kind birth control subscription service.

Founders: Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth

Total Equity Funding: $41.4M

2. Shippo
Shippo allows users to save time and money with a cloud-based shipping software. This easy-to-use tool helps customers get rates, print labels, track packages, and more. Shippo supports more than 35,000 customers including retailers, e-commerce platforms, marketplaces, and logistics providers.

"Shippo’s product is an automated system that companies can implement in order to provide users with a wide variety of shipping options from ecommerce sites," says Blair Hanley Frank, contributor at VentureBeat. "The company is able to set its customers up with easy access to several different shipping providers, rather than requiring firms to implement various systems."

Shippo joins Square, Stripe, Shopify, and others working to revolutionize the shipping industry.

Founders: Laura Behrens and Simon Kreuz

Total Equity Funding: $29.3M

3. Gladly
Gladly enables businesses to create highly-personalized experiences for customers. From retail and hospitality, to travel and finance, Gladly provides a targeted solution to build better connections with customers. With Gladly, connecting customers to the right customer support agent is easy. Moreover, agents have all the tools and information they need to support customers quickly and efficiently.

The San Francisco-based tech startup was incubated by Greylock Partners in 2015. To date, Gladly has raised a total of $63 million and employs more than 50 people.

Founders: Dirk Kessler, Joseph Ansanelli, Michael Wolfe

Total Equity Funding: $63M

4. Biome Makers
Born in Silicon Valley, Biome Makers is a biotech company that specializes in the identification and understanding of the microbiome. The company uses DNA sequencing technologies and proprietary Intelligent Computing systems that allow users to improve agricultural production and quality of their products. Biome Makers impacts the following areas:

Reducing reliance on chemicals
Decreasing the impact of diseases
Making solutions based on microorganisms
Recently, the company was named as one of the Top 10 U.S. Terroirs.

"The company believes that vineyard microorganisms should be put to use to the winemaker’s advantage. The biotechnology startup derives its name from the word, biome: a complex biotic community characterized by distinctive plant and animal species unique to the climate and soil of a region," reports Thomas Pellechia, contributor at Forbes.

Founders: Adrian Ferrero, Alberto Acedo

Total Equity Funding: $2.3M

5. ImpactVision
ImpactVision is on a mission to build a more transparent and secure global food system through "hyperspectral technology." This technology combines the power of digital imaging with a chemical technique called "spectroscopy." Users can simply take a picture of the food and understand its unique composition including nutritional content, freshness levels, proteins, fats, sugar, and moisture levels.

Benefits of the tool include:

Replaces destructive sampling techniques
Reduces waste and increases quality
Integrates in-line production facilities and distribution
Increases transparency
Enhances brand value
"What we are doing is providing rapid and non-invasive mechanism to assess food quality during the production process, and in real time," says Abi Ramanan, CEO at ImpactVision.

Founders: Abi Ramanan, Gustav Nipe

Total Equity Funding: $1.4M

6. uses blockchain technology and the Internet of Things to transform the digital food supply chain. This technology gives users the ability to learn more about the quality of their food, where it was produced, and more. Additionally, farmers can use this technology to automate internal processes and meet market demands around growing high quality and sustainable products. impacts the following areas:

Supply chain tracking and visibility
Secure data aggregation and sharing
Brand quality and trust verification
Scaleable blockchain, sensor, and Internet of Things integration
Founders: Raja Ramachandran

Total Equity Funding: No Information Available

7. Biomarker Labs
Biomarker provides customers with real-time and data-driven access to health supplements. The company measures users' symptoms, health metrics, and other contextual information to match them with high-quality and beneficial nutritional supplements.

"The sheer number of supplement users with smart phones and wearables around the globe means that we can gather data in bigger numbers than ever. Information can also be collected with far more regularity — hourly or even minute by minute," says Biomarker. "With every new user, Biomarker gets new insights about how people respond to supplements. More users mean more data and more meaningful results. Biomarker is already producing insights and discoveries from millions of data points gathered from thousands of supplement users."

According to a research report from Unternehmensgrün (the German Federal association of green economy) into green startups in Europe, the biggest challenges facing founders are financial and bureacratic.The Borderstep study came to a similar conclsion. While initial financing is a hurdle for all new startups, the financing requirements for green startups was estimated to be considerably higher (on average 200,000 EUR) than for non-green ones (on average 35,000 EUR), making it significantly more challenging for green startups to turn their idea into a successful company.

But while the environmental challenges constantly grow, and more and more environmental policy goals are set to tackle them, we need business models that address these challenges more than ever. In order to support ecopreneurs and what they do, we need:

    more committed and targeted startup funding for ecopreneurs and green startups
    more political support, both in terms of reducing regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles and raising capital.

In the EU, Climate KIC runs several different programmes from entrepreneurs with ideas for climate impact business ideas - offering funding, coaching and networking opportunities.

And RESET actively supports green founders too: We accompany ecopreneurs on their way to successful financing (seed, early stage, growth capital), providing practical assistance along the way and answering questions about sustainable business models and financing opportunities. Find out more in our Green Impact Finance section.

Author: Sarah-Indra Jungblut (RESET Editorial), with the collaboration of: Dr Paul Stadelhofer / February 2019
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Not everyone is convinced that entrepreneurship can come up with genuine solutions that protect the environment and the climate. How can the preservation of our planet be achieved using the same means that have triggered so many of the problems in the first place, i.e. our growth-oriented, capitalist economic model? And won't ecopreneurship just further strengthen dominant economic patterns instead of breaking new ground in alternative ways?

Ecopreneurs take a different view: if they stay stuck in a niche or they don't manage to establish themselves on the mainstream market, solutions to environmental and climate issues will only ever be able to have a limited influence. By contrast, working to shake up the market economy "from within" can have a significant positive impact - like if a company succeeds in making an environmentally-friendly service or product so successful that it asserts itself on the mass market.

However, not everyone who claims to be an ecopreneur really does follow truly sustainable goals. Many companies have adopted ideas of ecopreneurship and integrated them effectively into their market strategies and CSR concepts. However, they often don't communicate their exact working methods and impact in a completely transparent manner.

Radical transparency in business is another key characteristic of the way that true ecopreneurs work. By communicating clearly about how their business works and constantly questioning its own structures and methods, it's clear for everyone to see what exactly is that the company stands for. And at the same time, it ensures that the company itself doesn't lose sight of its ethical goals or allow itself to be swallowed up by an economic system that is geared exclusively to maximum profits and growth at any price.

What do all those examples have in common? First and foremost: Ecopreneurs aim to solve a specific environmental problem through sustainable business. Armed with innovative ideas, they search for gaps in the market and use creative solutions to realise their vision. At the centre of all of their entrpreneurial activities is the development and promotion of ecologically-oriented innovations.

Large companies often have a sustainability department or CSR strategy, but in those contexts environmental innovation is often limited to just reducing environmental costs. While those environmental measures (reducing resource use, switching to renewable energy, improving waste management, etc) often reduce the negative impact of their operations, environmental and climate impact is still far from being a core part of those companies' missions.

The work of ecopreneurs is often grouped together with other "conscious" entrepreneurs, under the umbrella term of social entrepreneurship, but the term is slowly establishing itself in its own right. And a quick look at the statistics suggests that green enterprises are certainly deserving of their own name: According to a study by the Borderstep Institute into green startups in Germany (pdf), between 2006 and 2014 each year around 21,100 companies were founded that could be described as being part of the growing "green economy", meaning an average of 14.7 per cent of startups had an ecological mission.

Department of Innovation & Entrepreneurship / What About Eco-preneurship
« on: February 25, 2020, 11:09:04 AM »
what about "ecopreneurship"? A combination of the words ‘eco’ and ‘entrepreneurship’, here the focus is on enterprises that combine business with environmental or climate impact.

The rise of digital technologies often plays a key role here, with ecopreneurs making use of the new tools available to implement their visions of a sustainable future. From cutting down on food waste, to protecting marine life and making smart use of renewable energies - as the following examples of ecopreneurship show, the solutions are just as diverse as the challenges they're developed to tackle:

The Finnish startup RePack has developed a deposit scheme for online retailers to help cut back on the packaging waste caused by the increasing boom of online shopping.
The Banana Pinger is a small, simple-looking and affordable device that can be clipped onto fishing nets to warn dolphins and whales of the presence of large fishing nets and protect them from ending up as by-catch.

A road surface that generates electricity from sunlight, absorbs noise, breaks down nitrogen oxides, defrosts ice in winter, provides valuable data and supplies electric vehicles with electricity - the German startup Solmove has installed its first ever "Voltstreet" just outside Cologne.
Online energy market place Enyway wants to make the major energy companies a thing of the past. How? The Enyway platform decentralises the energy market by connecting green energy producers - both large and small - directly with consumers.

The CityTree from Green City Solutions kills several birds with one stone: it filters CO2 from the air, provides environmental data via the IoT and lowers the temperature in the surrounding area. This rectangular-shaped piece of city furniture can be installed almost anywhere in the city and is covered with a certain type of moss that has the same pollution-fighting power as 275 trees.
WEtell is Germany's first all-round sustainable mobile network provider: climate-positive, secure, transparent and fair.

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The new demands upon the universities are not entirely novel, if all fields and higher educational institutions (HEI) are considered. What is new is the global nature of the phenomenon, national systems of knowledge production and innovation, believed to underlie national competitive positions, are undergoing deep changes nearly everywhere.
b] The emerging system has been captured in the triple helix model (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 2000), consisting of three poles: university, industry, and government, previously assumed to constitute separate systems, each with distinct, stable roles. Increasingly, they are becoming intertwined and with partially overlapping functions.[/b]

Universities are shifting their paradigms towards entrepreneurship development in the recent years because of implications and development of the business which will enhance the macroeconomic development of the country. The role of knowledge commercialization and active contribution of developing private enterprises in the local economy. As such university has become the national innovation system.

Here are 3 examples from India which are not only doing things differently but at the same time contributing to environment also. Sustainability is the need of future business world & these startups know it very well.

1) Log 9 materials: - This one is delight for smokers! This Uttar Pradesh based company was founded by 23 year old IITian Mr.Akshay Singhal to promote graphene nanotechnology. Their product PPUF 'Smoke safe' is plug on filter for cigarettes ensuring that Cancer causing toxins are filtered without disturbing the taste or the flavour of the smoke .Company claims that it reduces 90% chance of Cancer caused due to cigarettes if an individual uses this product.

For further betterment they have collaborated with IISc institute from Bangalore for R&D. As country is getting more & more fitness conscious day by day, in near future this innovation is going to have spectacular demand as according to WHO India has roughly 120 million smokers, which are 12% of world’s smokers.

2) Bakeys:- This one has a unique concept of edible cutlery .Yes,one can eat your spoon once your eating is done. Founded in 2010, this Hyderabad based company works under the leadership of Mr. Narayana Peesapathy. Idea behind doing this is not completely new, which is to replace plastic from eating outlets (In school/college canteens, Food courts in malls etc.).However the solution is cool.

Company introduced edible spoons made up of ‘Jowar’ majorly, in combination with other flour giving it a healthy & nutritious value , also at the same time reducing the environmental hazard which plastic causes (to some extent). Organization is well supported via Crowd funding (No wonder when your initiative is efficient & unique, money will roll in ).

3) I got Garbage :-We are doing MBA to attach Managers tag to our profile. However this project has given an opportunity to Rag pickers to become a Recycling Managers & that also without any MBA degree. Thanks to Mr. Prashant Mehra, Project Manager from Mindtree an IT Giant,who was keen on initiating this 'Waste management' idea & chose Bangalore city, our very own Indian silicon valley for starting this project, considering the fact this city generates nearly 3000 tonnes of waste solid waste per day.

This company has given an opportunity to Rag pickers to earn more than what they earn on regular basis by contributing in waste management work .(On an average, Rag Picker associated with ‘I Got Garbage’ earns Rs.4828 per month).So along with Waste management this company is also impacting the livelihood of rag pickers by generating monthly salary for around 8000 of them.


"Ecopreneurs are entrepreneurs whose business efforts are not only driven by profit, but also by a concern for the environment. Ecopreneurship, also known as environmental entrepreneurship and eco-capitalism, is becoming more widespread as a new market-based approach to identifying opportunities for improving environmental quality and capitalizing upon them in the private sector for profit. "

Product design offers the opportunity to incorporate green and socially responsible attributes into a product. Referred to as Design for Sustainability (D4S), it is a process that addresses environmental and social considerations in the earliest stages of the product development process to minimize negative environmental and social impacts throughout the product's life cycle and to comply with the principles of economic, social and ecological sustainability.

Sustainable product design can encompass the selection of materials, use of resources, production requirements and planning for the final disposition (recycling, reuse, re-manufacturing, or disposal) of a product. It takes into account the socio-economic circumstances of the company and the opportunity for the firm to address social problems associated with poverty, safety, inequity, health and the working environment. It is not a stand-alone methodology but one that must be integrated with a company's existing product design so that environmental and social parameters can be integrated with traditional product attributes such as quality, cost, and functionality

Business Administration / Digital Marketing Channels
« on: May 15, 2018, 02:06:56 PM »
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Here’s An Overview Of The Different Digital Marketing Channels That You Should Consider For Your Business.

Before you start planning an effective digital marketing strategy, you need to understand the different channels in digital marketing. Identifying what channels work best for your business and working on them will help you propel your business forward.

Display Advertising

This channel involves designing graphical advertisements and placing them next to content on websites, e-mails and other digital format, and instant messaging applications. The advertisements can be text, images, audio or video clips, animation, or other interactive content.

While surfing the internet or going through your mails, you may often be presented with advertisements of all sorts. That’s exactly what display advertising is, but it’s important for your adverts to be relevant to what people are looking for. That’s because the success of a display advertising campaign is determined by calculating the number of clicks an advert receives given the number of times it was displayed to the consumer or made an impression on him/her.

You can target your adverts according to consumer behaviour, demographics, or geographic location. Say for example, you own a salon in Raleigh and are offering attractive discounts to locals, there’s no point in letting people across the continent know about the same. A digital marketing services Raleigh firm will be able to set up your adverts in a way that will be beneficial to your business.

With the help of analytics, it is possible to track the number of people who have seen your adverts or clicked on them, what a person did on your site after entering it, and the conversion ratio.

Display advertising not only helps you promote new products or offers, but it helps you increase your online presence and reach out to your customers. Display advertising can help drive leads and increase brand awareness too.

E-mail Marketing

As the name suggests, you market your products or services to your targeted customers via e-mail. E-mail marketing is a great way to gain new customers or improve relationships with existing customers.

E-mail marketing campaigns are good for companies that may not be able to shell out a lot of dough for promoting their business. E-mail marketing also allows companies to promote other marketing channels effectively. However, building customer database and designing newsletters/e-mails can be very time consuming.

Furthermore, not all your customers may have the patience to go through your e-mails as most people have full inboxes. On the other hand, if you keep sending multiple e-mails, it may irk your customers and they may end up marking your e-mails as spam. Find the right balance and avoid sending e-mails that go with the line ’Do not reply’. Have a specific e-mail domain as communicating with your customers is of prime importance.

Social Media Marketing

Social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, blogs, micro blogging websites like Twitter, forums, wikis or open encyclopedias, content communities like Flickr and YouTube, and podcasts are all forms of social media. All of these forms involve the building of networks or communities by allowing users to interact with each other.

Social media tools encourage users to share opinions, participate in discussions and engage with others in real time. As such, social media marketing can be the best way to market your brand or company, and connect with your customers. However, know that all digital marketing tools have different purposes; you’ll need to identify your company’s goals and your targeted audience before you get started.

Note that encouraging users to engage and participate is often a challenge, so you’ll need to figure out how you’ll go about these things. Furthermore, continuous communication with customers is necessary and you’ll have to make sure that you are aware of all the positive and negative things that customers have to say about your brand.

When posting new content or comments, always think and review more than twice as social media mistakes aren’t easily forgiven. Keep in mind that any user can take a screenshot of your blunder and even if you edit or delete an erroneous post later on, the damage will already have been done.

Lastly, follow social media etiquette so you don’t come across as a spammer.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing involving a business owner and one or more websites or affiliates. The affiliate website owners place advertisements on their own websites to market the business owner’s goods or services in exchange for a percentage of profits.

Considering an affiliate marketing campaign for your company is generally a good choice; you get mass coverage at no additional costs. You also get more exposure when more websites are affiliated to your business.

Your affiliates can make money in three ways: Pay Per Click, Pay Per Sale, or Pay Per Lead. This means that your brand is advertised for free and you only incur a cost when an agreed action occurs- when a user clicks on your advert on the affiliate’s website, or when a user is led from the affiliate website to your website and purchases a product/service or if the user registers on your website.


While all of this sounds good, know that you’ll need to strategize first. It’s common to see companies marketing their goods digitally without a plan in place. If you dive into digital marketing without a plan, not only will you be unsure of your goals, you won’t even know what you’re achieving.

A plan will help you estimate your online market share and that of your competitors too. With so many companies turning towards digital marketing, it’s important that you pull your socks up and make optimal use of what you can.

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Many small businesses struggle with deciding which kind of marketing to do, because their budget will only stretch to one or the other, not both. The decisions that must be made are not easy: which method of marketing will give me the most bang for my buck? How do I know if my marketing is working? Who should I trust with my marketing? Should I do it myself? The answers may surprise you.

To clarify the terms, the use of print ads on newspapers and magazines is a simple example of traditional marketing. Other examples include flyers that are put in mailboxes, commercials both on TV and radio and billboards. On the other hand, when a business invests on building a website, advertising the brand name through different social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, this kind strategy is called digital marketing.

Benefits of Traditional Marketing

traditional marketing, digital marketing,You can easily reach your target local audience. For example, a radio ad might play in one location: your city or region. Or mailbox flyers will go to households in a select number of suburbs.

The materials can be kept. The audience can have a hard copy of materials of which they can read or browse through over and over again.

It's easy to understand. It can be easily understood by most people because they are already exposed to this kind of strategy.

Neuroscience seems to support the benefits of hard copy marketing. A study sponsored by Canada Post and performed by Canadian neuro-marketing firm TrueImpact compared the effects of paper marketing (direct mail pieces, in this case) with digital media (email and display ads).

The technologies used in this study were eye-tracking and high resolution EEG brain wave measurement. The three key metrics evaluated in the study were cognitive load (ease of understanding), motivation (persuasiveness), and attention (how long subjects looked at the content).

Direct mail was easier to process mentally and tested better for brand recall.  According to the report,

Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media (5.15 vs. 6.37), suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable. Post-exposure memory tests validated what the cognitive load test revealed about direct mail’s memory encoding capabilities. When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%).

The Downside to Traditional Marketing

There is very little interaction between the medium used and the customers. It is more of providing information to the public that the brand exists with the hope of these people patronizing the brand.

  • Print or radio advertisements can be very costly. Printing materials can be expensive and you need to hire people to distribute these.

    Results on this marketing strategy cannot easily be measured. Was the campaign successful?
Benefits of Digital Marketing

You can target a local audience, but also an international one. Further, you can tailor a campaign to specific audience demographics, such as gender, location, age and interests. This means your campaign will be more effective.

Your audience can choose how they want to receive your content. While one person likes to read a blog post, another person likes to watch a YouTube video. Traditional marketing doesn't give the audience a choice. Most people hate receiving sales flyers in their mailbox or phone calls at inconvenient times on stuff that they have little interest in.  Online people get the choice to opt in or out of communications and often it is relevant because they were the ones searching for it in the first place.  Don’t underestimate the power of market segmentation and tailored marketing.

Interaction with your audience is possible with the use of social media networks. In fact, interaction is encouraged. Traditional marketing methods don't allow for audience interaction. You can encourage your prospects, clients and followers to take action, visit your website, read about your products and services, rate them, buy them and provide feedback which is visible to your market.

Digital marketing is cost-efficient. Though some invest on paid ads online; however, the cost is still cheaper compared to traditional marketing.

Data and results are easily recorded. With Google Analytics and the insights tools offered by most social media channels, you can check on your campaigns at any time. Unlike traditional marketing methods, you can see in real time what is or is not working for your business online and you can adapt very quickly to improve your results.

Level playing field: Any business can compete with any competitor regardless of size with a solid digital marketing strategy.  Traditionally a smaller retailer would struggle to match the finesse of the fixtures and fittings of its larger competitors.  Online, a crisp well thought out site with a smooth customer journey and fantastic service is king – not size.

Real time results: you don’t have to wait weeks for a boost to your business like you would have to waiting for a fax or form to be returned.  You can see the numbers of visitors to your site and its subscribers increase, peak trading times, conversion rates and much more at the touch of a button.

Brand Development: A well maintained website with quality content targeting the needs and adding value to your target audience can provide significant value and lead generation opportunities.  The same can be said for utilising social media channels and personalised email marketing.

traditional marketing, digital marketing,Viral: how often do your sales flyers get passed around instantly by your customers and prospects?  Online, using social media share buttons on your website, email and social media channels enables your message to be shared incredibly quickly.  If you consider the average Facebook user has 190 friends of which an average of 12% see their liked posts – your one message has actually been seen by 15 new prospects. Now imagine a number of them also like and share your message and their friends do the same?  That's why high-quality content is so important.

So which kind of marketing is better?

Well, we would recommend both. Obviously, we are passionate about digital marketing, because we know that it works. But we do use traditional marketing materials, too.

A 2009 study conducted by Bangor University and branding agency Millward Brown also used fMRI to study the different effects of paper and digital media.

Some of their key conclusions were:

Physical material is more “real” to the brain.  It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.
Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of the ads.

How We Use Both Digital & Traditional Marketing

Our traditional marketing methods support our digital marketing efforts. The two do not operate in exclusion from each other. But we only use hard copy marketing materials to further strengthen a relationship with a contact, referral partner or client. We don't invest in television or radio ads, for example, but we will give brochures to someone who is interested in our services.

Rather than taking an all or nothing approach, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best.


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