The hurdles for eco-companies to scale

The hurdles for eco-companies to scale

No more talking, but act!  That’s what we hear every day. We need to act more. And we agree, really. But why don’t we? Why don’t we use the known solutions? Why do we look for new things as so many solutions are already known? Those questions rose to our mind viewing the European landscape of ecological solutions. Thus, we decided to research it.  

Wow, so many more than we expected! 

Our first action. We start building a database. And wow, we were surprised. We know the market is active, but this was unexpected. We identified over 500 companies in the Benelux alone focusing on ecology. They cover all elements of ecology: biodiversity, energy, carbon, water, circularity, mobility, … Our study finally compromised 135 unique companies, all with different focusses. They all answered a range of questions to better understand the challenges unique to eco-start-ups.  

From technology to storytelling

The main reason? Sales and marketing. Ecological problems are complex. Thus are the solutions. So many solutions solve complex problems beautifully. They enable the same level of life comfort people and companies expect, with highly intelligent solutions. But they don’t know how to translate its value to the market. The complex calculations enabling the halving of energy usage, well … Let’s be honest, I almost lost you here. You were already thinking: what are you talking about?  

And that is exactly the problem. Complex problems often require complex solutions. But, in the end, people want easy solutions. Translating the complex problem to an easy story is a difficult feat. Many struggle.   

Money, money, money, must be funny in a rich man’s world 

We need the rich man’s world. Belgium alone has 280 billion euros in savings account. Money is plenty. But a lot of eco-solutions struggle. Investors are looking for short term returns, whilst eco-companies look at long-term plans. The goal and short-term returns contradict, a lot. Financing should be built on a latitude of parameters, not only ROI.  

“We can’t do it without the government”

Okay, honestly, I hate that. Finger pointing. Could be said. But it is not true. Without the government reshaping the framework in which companies operate we are talking about unequal competition. If it is cheaper to use modern slaves for fashion production, than sustainable practices, certain companies will do it. If carbon can be bought cheaply, companies will do it. We need strong governmental frameworks.  

Companies want to become sustainable, but don’t know how

To add insult to injury. So many companies want to become sustainable. But they don’t know how. They believe no solutions are available. They don’t know where to start. That’s why we need companies to grow. To become known. Only in this way can we help companies become sustainable. By providing the solutions.   

Just read the report

Curious to understand what 135 companies had to say? Read it here.  

Marit Overbeeke

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