Semi-finalist Q&A: Sapona Green Building Center, LLC

Sapona offers a "one-stop-shop" for green home and business solutions. They sell and install cork and bamboo flooring, Icestone countertops, and high-efficiency plumbing. Additionally, they offer services for home efficiency upgrades like blown insulation and HERS rating.

Information from their grant application is available here. Read below for more, and if you have questions for our semi-finalists don't hesitate to ask them in the comments section.

Also, don't forget to cast your vote! YOUR vote will determine which entrepreneurs most deserve to be amongst the finalists.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

The idea for our business came from a local growing demand for renewable energy support. New governmental incentives (up to 65% off!), a growing green community, and technological developments have primed the solar and wind industry for a rapid launch. I started the business on these basis, combined with personal interest and educational background in power generation and renewable energy. We're excited to launch into an industry that can sustain the business and offset carbon emissions and peak-loads.

What makes your business unique? Why do you think it will be a success?

Our business is unique because we strive to become the first "One-stop-shop" for green building needs. We are combining green home interior products with a new renewable energy and conservation division. Currently, it's easy to find a solar installer or Safecoat paint retailer, but we strive to bring all green services under one roof. All too often, traveling customers come in and ask for us to expand into their location.

What are some of your top business-related accomplishments, or business lessons learned?

This year, Sapona received the 2009 Coastal Entreprenuer of the Year for Retail & Hospitality. This award, from the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, establishes Sapona as the best startup in our area in the Retail & Hospitality industries. Additionally, our partner, Elaine Jack, was featured in the October 09' WILMA magazine as cover girl for her dedication to green building in the area.

Why should the Idea Cafe regulars vote for you?

A vote for Sapona is a vote for the environment. This industry is poised to reduce high electrical loads on a declining grid system and offset carbon emissions throughout our country. Sapona has just installed its first 3kW Solar Photovoltaic system and Solar Hot Water System, a carbon offset of 4.5 acres of forest!

In addition, your vote will support Sapona Green Building Center through financial and moral support. As most entrepreneurs are aware, starting a new division is a costly and risky proposition. The partners at Sapona have calculated these risks and created a detailed business plan to ensure that the new Renewable Energy Division is not a futile venture.

In conclusion, your vote will count towards a sustainable business model in a ramping industry.


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