December 16th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
In my mind, green businesses are our best chance to make America great again. NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are effective in many ways but they have to be funded by either government or business. Governments (both state and local) are so big, and bulky and fickle. They can help, but they're not really providing much leadership these days, are they?
So it seems to me the burden of leading an American renaissance rests squarely on the broad shoulders of business. In Vermont, businesses are small though. The average business has only a handful of employees. But that hasn't stopped all of us from trying to change the world… because we have a secret weapon. It's collaboration over competition.
Take, for example the Vermont Wood Manufacturer's Association, VWMA. This is an organization of over 100 small businesses in Vermont's wood industry that employ about 6000 people who produce wood furniture, bowls, toys, carvings, flooring, windows, doors and much more. VWMA's mission is to "support the industry in Vermont and promote its long-term viability by expanding members presence in the marketplace, ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials, increasing workforce skill and acting as responsible employers and community members". All of us who produce wood products in Vermont need the services that VWMA provides us, but none of us could do that work on our own.
Organizations like VWMA are going to play a huge role in making America great again. Does your small business belong to an industry group like VWMA? If not, maybe you need to sign up and get a seat at the table. There is strength in numbers and the Internet has made collaboration pervasive and necessary. If you're not collaborating with the right people, you're being passed by. Don't get me wrong… Vermonter's aren't just collaborative. We're extremely competitive too, but we're competing against foreign imports that steal American jobs and wreck local economies. Join us. Let's get going! There's no time to lose.