Sonoma Clean Power Seeks to Empower the Next Generation of Local Sustainable Business Owners
By: Kate Kelly
June 20, 2019
(SANTA ROSA, CA) – Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), the public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, recently awarded grants to students participating in the Santa Rosa Junior College’s (SRJC) Business Entrepreneurship Certificate Program.
During the SRJC’s Spring 2019 semester, SCP launched the inaugural “Spirit of Entrepreneurship Grant”. After years of developing the groundwork, SCP’s Commercial Accounts Manager, Nathan Kinsey, was thrilled to see this new venture come to fruition.
“It’s great to see the grant assisting in the entrepreneurial efforts of local students in our communities. Seeing the gratification in the eyes of the students makes it all well worth it. I look forward to a continued partnership with the SRJC Business Department and students for years to come,” said Kinsey.
The purpose of the grant is to support local entrepreneurs who are choosing to place sustainable practices at the forefront of their business plans, allowing SCP to further invest in establishing a strong culture of environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social equity throughout the region.
As part of the requirements for the grant, students demonstrated how their business would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, embed themes of sustainability in their enterprise, and promote energy efficiency, energy conservation, or renewable energy. Strategies could include improving air quality, reducing the use of fossil fuels, promoting eco-friendly transit, conserving water and resources, and utilizing environmentally sensitive products and materials.
Three students were selected to receive grants between $2,000 and $5,000 to assist them in starting up their new businesses. The first-place winner of the contest was John Guice for his plan to develop an environmental board game.
“I am working very hard to bring [to life] my vision of producing an environmental education board game that inspires people to be stewards for the earth, and that is both sustainably and ethically made. These funds will be a great help to achieving my goals,” said Guice, when asked about his winning proposal.
The other winners were Jeremy Arroyo, who was awarded $3,000 toward his new business, Pickled Peppers, and Jennifer Longman, who received $2,000 to support her business plan for Jen’s Canine Connection.
“I'm grateful to live in an area where people support both entrepreneurship and sustainability. This grant has given me the opportunity to pursue my vision, and I'll use these funds to start my business and contribute more to my community,” said Arroyo.
“Thank you to Sonoma Clean Power for believing in my business and assisting me in my journey to owning my own business and doing what I love!” added Longman.
In addition to the annual “Spirit of Entrepreneurship Grant”, SCP established an endowment with the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation. The endowment is meant to ensure that, even during periods of economic uncertainty, the program will continue to receive the financial support necessary to promote an ongoing, locally grown workforce committed to incorporating sustainable practices in their businesses.
About Sonoma Clean Power
Sonoma Clean Power is the public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. SCP’s services and programs are practical, affordable, and inclusive, empowering everyone to be part of the transition toward a clean energy future. To learn more, visit sonomacleanpower.org or call 1 (855) 202-2139.
About Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa Junior College was established in 1918 and has since been home to more than one million students. SRJC is known for academic excellence, superb faculty and staff, comprehensive student services and beautiful facilities. This treasured community institution enrolls approximately 37,000 students annually. SRJC is dedicated to removing barriers to students’ success and making higher education accessible to all.