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Starting and Growing a Sustainable Business

A new course at Cañada College can help budding entrepreneurs grow a sustainable business

Cañada College is offering a new course this spring to help budding entrepreneurs start and grow a sustainable business. Spring semester classes at the college begin Jan. 13. New students can begin registering for classes on Nov. 12. For information about registering for classes at Cañada, go to For additional information, call the Welcome Center at 650-306-3452.

Business 393 – Starting/Growing a Sustainable Business will meet every Wednesday from 6:10 to 9:15 pm, Jan. 15 through May 21. The class is taught by Chris Yalonis, a 25-year veteran of seven start-ups. Yalonis has also served as a strategy consultant and marketing advisor to more than 100 organizations large and small across the technology, consumer goods, and professional services sectors. He is the author of seven books on management, technology marketing and international relations, including the Guide to Writing a Business Plan and a new 24-week online course, Sustainable Innovation in Business, a master’s level program sponsored by the University of Vermont. “This class is designed for students who want to start a business while they are still in school and entrepreneurs who are in the beginning stages of starting a business,” Yalonis said. “It will also appeal to managers at existing businesses who want to embed sustainable practices in their current operations.”

Yalonis said community and business leaders who want to promote sustainability in their organizations and communities can also benefit from the concepts taught in the class.

Students will examine sustainable business success stories and lessons from successful start-ups in Silicon Valley and the North Bay. They will hear success stories from San Rafael’s Venture Greenhouse, a business accelerator and incubator for social and environmental entrepreneurs and a community resource for innovators and new ventures. “We’ve launched 20 new businesses in the past two years at Venture Greenhouse and they all have social and environmental missions,” Yalonis said.

The class is a perfect small business management compliment to the successful efficiency, trade and solar energy classes currently offered at Skyline College. “Great technicians, designers and installers/contractors need business skills to be successful,” he said. Students will learn:
  • Increased awareness and understanding of the broad range of business environments, structures, and management/leadership concepts for small business.
  • Create a business plan, capable of raising money and recruiting team members and partners.
  • Develop critical thinking and decision-making skills to balance environmental, social and economic performance requirements.
  • Self-assessment of personal values and embedding them into the business for social equity and justice, as well as environmental stewardship and responsibility.
  • How to demonstrate the business case for sustainability, its meaning and performance metrics.
  • Understanding profit and value creation using sustainable principles and practices
  • Understand how to conduct a SWOT analysis as well as inexpensive market and competitive research techniques.
  • Raised awareness of business structures, legal issues, ownership forms, regulations and tax implications related to small businesses.
  • Work on a small team to analyze and critique an existing business on its business model and its use (or non use) of sustainable principles.
  • Increased awareness of green business entrepreneurial opportunities in various sectors of business, review of cases across industries
For specific information about this course, please contact Yalonis at (415) 309-0331 or



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