Natural Resources: The Next Wave of Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

Please enjoy this guest post from my colleague Becky McCray.

Natural Resources are the center of major entrepreneurial opportunities. Are you paying attention to this next wave of action for entrepreneurs?

Natural resources play a central role in business opportunities, tourism, entrepreneurship, and of course agriculture. This is especially true in small towns and rural areas, where the tie to natural resources is most evident.

Where can small businesses find opportunities around natural resources? Here are three places to look.

1. Look for businesses making a pivot.

One example is power companies helping customers reduce consumption. That is a major transition. More farms going more towards organic, etc. Agriculture is transitioning in a number of ways. Any time an industry or business is looking to pivot, there are opportunities in that area.

2. Look for intersections, like green jobs and food production.

The Agriculture Utilization Research Institute recently issued a “Green jobs in food production” report. (Read more about it at AURI) The number and diversity of entrepreneurial opportunities just around green jobs in agriculture, production and processing is staggering.

3. Look for projects pioneered by RC&D Councils

My local resource conservation and development council, High Plains RC&D in Oklahoma, is quite forward thinking. They work on turning the invasive eastern red cedars into marketable products. They are exploring the geothermal potential in our area and how it ties to algae production. These aren’t just dreams; they are successful businesses, pilot projects, and demonstration units active now. Or they were. See, all RC&D councils have been completely defunded by the Federal Government. Lots of amazing natural resource projects had to be stopped. That’s an opportunity for a smart entrepreneur to step in and restart something good.

Becky McCray (@beckymccray) is a small town entrepreneur. She believes small town entrepreneurs have a lot to teach other businesses. And when local entrepreneurs prosper, they help their small town prosper, too. Becky writes about small business and rural issues, based on my own successes and failures over at the Small Biz Survival blog.

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