I can confidently tell you as a farmer, and nature lover, that making the world green requires more than just soil, water and sunshine. Our entire ecosystem depends on pollinators, like bees, to cross-pollinate nearly 1/3 of the world’s crops and 90% of wild plants.
I can also confidently tell you as an award-winning entrepreneur that making a business grow is similar. Growing a business, especially a new kind of business built solely from plants, requires cross-pollination to prosper. Successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they couldn’t have made it without help from ‘believers’ in their purpose. I call these believers pollinators. Much like bees, they are critical intermediaries between growth at the micro level and survival at the macro level. Like bees, they are essential to helping a business build resilience within its niche and gain a foothold in the market.
A Natural Pollinator for Business Growth
Enter Burt’s Bees. Through Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad, a group of 10 women-owned green businesses are selected to get some much-needed pollination each year. Executive advice, networking and $10,000 in cash is provided to small businesses like mine who face extreme conditions in the marketplace. A willingness to ‘pay it forward,’ sharing their own expertise and experiences with the group, and Burt’s Bees employees who want to keep entrepreneurial thinking alive within their culture are key factors to the program’s success. I had the great honor to compete, and be selected to the inaugural class of 2016, and the experience has been even better than anticipated.
How Burt’s Bees Natural Launchpad Helped EarthKind
- We toured the Burt’s Bees factory in North Carolina to help us better plan for own expansion from 50,000 square feet to 100,000 and spared us from potential big mistakes
- We attended a Burt’s Bees Culture Day to give us a clearer understanding of how to build best in class ratings on employee culture. Two executives attended EarthKind’s first Culture Day, after which they invited our staff to participate in their Drink the Honey brand immersion workshop.
- Burt’s Bees team members aided in preparing for two key line reviews with major retailers, and in turn, widened their own perspective on being a small business in a big box world.
- We’ve engaged with other Launchpad members at a regular cadence to deepen and broaden our collective DNA and share best practices at Expo West and on webinars. Each time yielding new (highly practical) insights that we could put to work right away.
Here’s what Burt’s Bees has to say about EarthKind’s participation in the program:
“Kari is a true force of nature in her own right. We knew when Kari decided to join the program that she’d be an influencer. Kari’s engagement throughout the program as a guest presenter and participant during our community calls as well as her involvement during our Expo West recruitment events made her an asset to the program. How she and EarthKind took full advantage of what Natural Launchpad had to offer will make her a great guest presenter at our upcoming Natural Launchpad Cohort #3 CEO Exchange at our HQ October 24-26.” Paula Alexander
Please reach out to me if you are considering applying, or would like more information on the program. I went through many questions in my own mind before applying.
As Benjamin Disraeli said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”