Resolve Partners
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Resolve Partners

Accelerate Green — How We Drive Change

David Scanlon, of Resolve Partners, recently held an interview with Austin Ryan, a serial entrepreneur in the waste/resource management industry. In this article, we share some of the highlights of their conversation. This event is part of a series raising awareness of Ireland’s first scaling sustainability accelerator, Accelerate Green. For more details on the Accelerate Green programme, see our website at https://accelerategreen.ie/ — the application deadline is December 10th!

“The big thing we need to happen, and all the indications are that it will happen, but there is a bit of work in it is, that we need to OEM’s to just not give it lip service and to start driving different changes that people want the maximum value of material recovered.”

This is what the CCO of FPD Recycling, Austin Ryan, wants to happen next in the area of waste management and climate action. The guest speaker at one of our recent seminars, he has an extensive and successful background in the green sector. His current company specialises in safely extracting hazardous waste and turning it into reusable materials using technology. Although directives in Europe have tightened where waste is dumped, he says the US has more to do with landfills in Asia still often being the recipient.

One of the biggest challenges to change, he says, is inertia. When someone says they can shred more faster, but it is at the expense of material extraction, it’s difficult to fight — despite offering a much more environmentally friendly alternative. But the fight continues, and one way to make headway is by communicating with the big companies that this greener path is the way forward. Austin is also going to be a mentor with Accelerate Green. When it comes to advice for new businesses in the sector, he has plenty to offer from his wealth of experience on how to achieve success and drive change.

Picking Investors

In a space where our host David Scanlon from Resolve Partners, pointed out, “everyone wants to throw cash at you”, how do you go about selecting the right fit for your business? According to Austin, it’s a case of due diligence on both parts, and despite the best intentions of hitting goals, problems will arise that will slow things down. “Picking the right investor is so, so critical. It’s like a sales process. You’ve to put a fair bit of time into it. And you have to make sure that everyone is aligned…are they the right guys to have with you in the trenches?”

Getting Your MVP to Market

When’s the right time to get your MVP out there? He says as soon as possible. Although there is nothing wrong with perfection, it can be an issue when it hinders progression. Austin says, “There is only so much you can learn in a test environment but in the early days, just get it out there…that’s how you learn.”

Early Stage Customers

These people are more important than you might think. They aren’t only validating your business idea or creating capital; they are the people you can really learn from, so be sure you do. “Identifying those first few key customers that will give you the breaks but also that will educate you on the domain…and if you are able to listen, that does help you with the product management and drive where your product and technology needs to go,” he says.

Choosing Opportunities

It can be difficult to decide what’s the best for your business, so what metric should someone use to pick the right opportunities for them? Austin says, “…a big problem for innovative companies, is that you can get lots of great challenging, innovative opportunities come to you, but unless they add value to what you are currently doing, you should probably ignore them.”

Entering International Markets

Is there an easier route than the scenic one? According to Austin, “a great way to look at international markets is through partners rather than putting your own cost into looking at the market.” From his experience, if you go at the wrong time or with the wrong product, it’s unlikely it will work out and cost you in the process. So instead, this is a better way to go international.

Focus and Change

To simplify the entire process of running a business, it all comes down to one thing in the beginning and then another as things progress. Austin says, “If you are looking at too many opportunities in the early stages, you’ll go nowhere. I can’t highlight enough, focus, focus, focus…you always have to embrace growth and embrace change.”

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David Scanlon

David Scanlon

1.6K Followers

Earthling. Director at Resolve Partners . Ex- @entirl , ex- @StartupGrindDUB , ex- @ndrc_hq . Fan of community, serendipity, Oxford commas, & the open sea.