A rather busy week

EYP held our event last night at the Kensington Roof Gardens – a truly spectacular venue. It was quite strange to be in a garden on the top of a building, but fantastic regardless. I hope it isn’t the last time I go there!

GoLow also got mentioned in Greenbang’s list of top environmental start ups in the UK, so it was great to get that recognition for all the work that has gone on. To read the whole report, just click here.

Umm … a few random things

So I finally did my first ever radio interview today, although it won’t go on air for about three weeks. It was to promote GoLow and an event that is being run by EYP. The radio station is Passion for the Planet and they will be one of our media partners for our October EYP event, which is focused on environmental issues. We will be fortunate to have Dan Ilett from Greenbang as a moderator for our panel discussion which is shaping up to have some really interesting participants.

I think EYP is starting to mature in terms of some of the events that we are doing. Our next event is at the Kensington Roof Gardens, owned by Sir Richard Branson, and is almost fully subcribed after a few days of bookings being open. Our October event is looking really cool, and in November we are planning to do a massive speed networking in London in partnership with Make Your Mark for Global Enterprise Week. And we have some goodies lined up for next year.

A gluton for punishment, I have set up a more formal business GoLow blog – so now I really can’t be too slack with posting.

And finally, I really liked reading about the recently completed operation in Afghanistan where several thousand soldiers got involved in delivering a turbine to a key power station. Providing basic services to locals in such conditions can be quite a challenge but is so unbelievably valuable.

A Low Carbon Transport Week

This week I had the opportunity to participate in a couple of low carbon transport events. The first was at an event called Green Monday run by 2Degrees. Then on Wednesday, I had the opportunity of participating in Mobility 2020 which was run by the Sustainable Development Commission. I thought it would be good to mention some of the items that were discussed. Part of both discussions focused around barries and problems to achieve reduced carbon emissions in the UK Carbon Sector. Some of the comments that arose from these discussions were as follows:

· Incentivising customers: There continues to be a lack of broad consumer awareness about environmental issues, which can also be hampered by a feeling that there is little that an individual can do to improve the situation. The environment is not sufficient of a motivator to get wide spread support – other incentives are needed, particularly financial and status.

· There is a need to provide solutions that are safe, reliable and meet the convenience requirements of customers.

· There are a range of potentially complimentary service offerings and technologies that can advance the cause of sustainability, but they are somewhat fragmented – potentially this is something that can be quite rapidly overcome.

· There are a lack of common standards across IT systems – can telematic devices invalidate warranties; is it possible to share information across systems?

· Difficult to get long term government commitments when franchise operations (eg. rail franchises) have a limited life span – where is the incentive for companies to develop long term sustainability goals when they run the risk of loosing the franchises.

· Is there a fundamental issue around reporting of grams per vehicle per kilometre – shouldn’t it incorporate the number of people actually travelling?

· Is there an aspirational goal for low income groups to own cars? If so, does this conflict with sustainability efforts?

· There will continue to be a percentage of people that are structurally dependent on cars – eg. people in rural areas.

· Do the costs of public transport or potentially bad experiences reduce people’s willingness to use more sustainable forms of transport?

· It was also highlighted that there are some transport services that may have significant structural issues with becoming more sustainable due to security reasons or energy requirements.

In other news, I got to meet with the guys from AMEE today (Against Mass Extinction Engine) – very cool business that they are working on; and hopefully GoLow will do something with them when the time is right. And now to send in a submission to Greenbang for the piece they are doing on startups!

Being studious in my posting!

I thought that I should try and make sure that I post again given the length of time between posts (at least it is only a month this time). The last month has absolutely flown by. GoLow is now starting to really take shape as a business which is very pleasing to see.  Yesterday, I was at a conference hosted at the Said Business School on Climate Change. The opening speech was by Sir David King talking about the threat of climate change, and it was perhaps the most compelling speech that I had heard about this issue.  One of our ‘sister’ companies used this as a bit of a launch event – check out 2Degrees. Oxford University is establishing a really exciting organisation called the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment which should provide great opportunities for identifying how business can address the issues of sustainability and climate change.

The other big exciting thing that I am involved with at the moment is European Young Professionals. This is a great organisation, and I am incredibly fortunate to be the CEO and closely involved in seeing it evolve. EYP has quite a lot of members (i.e. thousands) in Bangkok and London and events are run in both locations around 9-10 times a year. We are working on our strategic plan for the next few years, which is almost complete, and we have some really great relationships starting up with other social enterprise ventures and some corporate partners. I am getting involved in speaking at a few events at the moment; last week I spoke at a Make Your Mark event about EYP and it was really exciting to see some of the enterprising activities that are taking place around the UK. Next week, I have been kindly invited to speak at an event in London for the Network of Entrepreneurial Talent, on a boat on the Thames no less! It should be really fun.

My new business

I have been rather slack with posting on my blog; however for the last nine months almost, I have been working on a fantastic new venture in the United Kingdom that addresses some of the environmental problems that exist here in the transport industry while not burdening users with additional costs. We have just finished getting the seed funding sorted out for the business as well as commencing business development work, so it is great to finally be at this stage. Now that I have run a number of ventures, I think I might start posting some things about my experiences and pointers for other entrepreneurs.

The new business is called GoLow and exists to provide an environmentally friendly and economically efficient way to use taxis and other private hire vehicles (limos, mini cabs etc). It is quite amazing how much money is spent on these in the UK; and also very shocking to see how much these vehicles are under-utilised (they are generally empty about 50% of the time), which creates needless pollution and cost for everyone concerned.

It is my first environmentally-related business and it is good to be involved in something positive that seeks to deal with some of the significant challenges that exist. Most importantly for me, it is something that can contribute in a tangible manner, as there is a lot of hot air (no pun intended) with talk that goes around about ways to save the environment.

Anyway, I will post more about this new venture in coming weeks as we move through the next stages of what we are doing!