Interview: BioDiversity and Co.

Courtney Consulting Solutions (2009 Interview)

Interview with Erica Courtney, Co-Founder of Biodiversity and Co, and CEO of Courtney Consulting Solutions
Are you currently running / working with a mission-driven business? What is it called?
Yes, Courtney Consulting Solutions.

Is it for the business plan you entered the William James Foundation Socially Responsible Business Plan Competition with? (If no, is it similar to the plan you submitted?)
No but is has a similar mission.

Who are your customers? What is the benefit you are offering them? How many people are you employing?
My customers are established businesses looking to do business with the federal government. The larger part of my clientele are ‘green’ responsible companies ranging from very small to multi million dollar firms. We offer them a chance to grow in a marketplace where spending is it at an all time high. We at CCS are different than most government business development consulting firms as we not only get them pre approved contractor status which limits their competitions drastically and reduces wait time for an award from 248 days to on average 14 days, but we give them the know-how to succeed. We develop contract specific business plans, targeted sales leads, help with marketing efforts and train the client every step of the way so they are ready to use the completive advantage they have. It takes time and patience to become a federal contractor. Companies that offer products or services that are energy efficient, sustainable and employ LEAN techniques have an excellent opportunity as all federal agencies have a buy green first policy. We at CCS do not only write about the benefits, but we work to quantify the social and environmental benefits they offer society. There is great satisfaction in helping good companies that offer great products or services grow through government sales. We at CCS believe we are contributing to green workforce development as many of our clients see their sales at least double, thereby contributing to growth. By working with good sustainable companies we help the environment, improve the security of the US, employ more people contributing to the national tax base within the US and reduce social benefit costs. Currently there are three people working with CCS.

Where are you based? How long have you been in business?
Jacksonville, Florida. CCS was incorporated in September 2008. We currently have five full time clients and are about to take one more on. The process from start to finish takes about 10 months.

Was the feedback and/or prizes (if applicable) you received from the William James Foundation helpful? How?
Yes, absolutely. As the owner, going through the scrutiny of having our business plan critiqued in all business areas and having to revise the plan in order to make it to the finals was an invaluable experience. The judges were world-class and gave great feedback which can set anyone up for success if they have the drive to follow through. I got to the point where I felt comfortable about writing a socially responsible business plan. I learned to quantify and tell a story. Taking first place from the Foundation for a Sustainable Future and second from the WJF has put me in a position to help others with their business plans or create one from scratch. Without this experience, a key component of my business would be missing. Strategy is an important element of my clients success.