Opportunity Green, a sustainable business conference that brings together today's visionaries and leaders, started off on Thursday morning with an emotional argument to expand the use of HydroPacks (shown below) for distressed areas where little to no drinking water is immediately available. The opening presentation by Gaylon White, Director of Design Programs at Eastman Innovation Lab, set the tone for the day by calling future entrepreneurs to social action -- It is clear that business as usual is just not good enough when we live in a global community.
Many of the entrepreneurial minds at the conference are looking to create sustainable solutions, and the finalists from OG25 green start-up competition were no exception. Every one of the the 25 start-ups made a fast-pitch to conference attendees with the speed and smarts we’ve come to expect from clever new companies. Two of the finalists, Cardborigami and Nest, will be familiar to Inhabitat readers, but also worth checking out is Egg-Energy, Solar Mosaic, Bottlehood, and Spinlister. (Go here for a complete list of OG25 competitors.) Each carefully crafted 60-second pitch brought something valuable to the room, but only one start-up could be declared the winner. After all was said and done, that honor went to PrintEco.
PrintEco is a software plug-in suite for Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Internet Explorer and Firefox. How many times have you printed out a spreadsheet only to find two empty cells on extraneous pages? How many times have you printed out pages from the internet, and later realized that half of the content was ads? PrintEco has succeeded in creating an algorithm that automatically eliminates the fluff and creates a “best-fit” for all of your prints to reduce overall printing costs by 17% annually.
In addition to the engaging speakers, panelists, and highly interactive breakout sessions, advanced technology and a showcase of sustainable strategies abound throughout the grounds at Opportunity Green. American Apparel set up an model “open factory” to highlight their vertical integration working teams; the BMW ActiveE was available for gawking; Icon Aircraft displayed its award-winning A5 sport aircraft; and Tern Bicycles offered test rides on their amazing space-saving folding bicycles. In addition, the architects and designers at Gensler created a crowning sculptural piece — an interpretation of the conference theme of “accelerate” — with reclaimed wood from American Reclaimed, and an incredible augmented reality feature by daqri.
All in all, the atmosphere at this year’s Opportunity Green seemed to be a bit more enlightened and collaborative than it has been in the past. Speakers were accessible and hugs were traded as often as business cards. We hope this trend continues through 2012!