In distinguishing between mainstream entrepreneurs and environmental entrepreneurs and how they conduct their operations, it is only appropriate to first go through various areas where the two approaches exhibit some form of similarities. The two concepts are seen to thrive on cohesive and strategic planning and idea development as well as the channeling of resources both financial and human, the adoption of creative and innovative techniques and above all, the taking of calculated risks by both individuals and organizations (Schaper 2002).
Notwithstanding their similarities, eco-entrepreneurs have also been seen in many ways to demonstrate features that are either non-existent with mainstream entrepreneurs or that they (entrepreneurs) have knowingly refused to explore. Whereas entrepreneurs are seen as using their operations to create wastage in environmental resource exploitation, it has been recognized as a trademark of ecopreneurs to rather create new and environmentally responsible communities. Even though, both entrepreneurs and enviropreneurs are stimulated by the strong motivation to transform or create new products, ecopreneurs are known to adopt corrective measures to address ecological opportunities and challenges in communities geared towards sustainable development.
They also receive and enjoy lot of both internal and external economies of scale from the media by way of free advertising.
Another area that the two concepts show some differences is in their ability to apply their environmental consciousness in business development to redirect community environmental resource use towards sustainability (Isaak 2002). In relating the operations of the “Ben and Jerry” ice cream shop started from an abandoned fuel filling station, Isaak (2002) paid a huge tribute to ecopreneurs for the manner in which they move on to create new start-up green-green businesses. The author also acknowledged the fact that these ecopreneurs do not get stuck up with trying to hang on to the authority and power hierarchy they create in their previous ventures after such businesses grow and become established beyond certain size. This attitude of ecopreneurs portray their underlying relentless desire to continually adopt and use innovative means to diversify the ways businesses need to be operated in order to satisfy the strong and growing penchant for sustainable development in communities.
Yet again, ecopreneurs have the strong ability to protect their innovations from any form of acquisition by large corporations and multinational institutions that hardly pay any form of recognition to the originators of these innovative ideas. This was the position and intent of the Honey Bee philosophy developed by Anil Gupta (1997) to assist entrepreneurs in developing economies in protecting their inventions and innovative ideas from being poached by large corporations and the multinational institutions from developed economies. And this was in response to some of the identified problems of ecopreneurship (Pastakia 1998).
(Source: A Review of Environmental Entrepreneurship as an Agenda for Rural Development: The Case for Ghana
Patrick Tandoh-Offin, Clemson University)