Green Entrepreneurship Workshop with Victor Branagan

Posted on May 26, 2016

Workshop was organised by Institute for Sustainable Development and Holistic Solutions – InTeRCeR, together with the Institute for the Development of Social Responsibility – IRDO. Workshop took place on Monday, on 23.05.2016 in the premises of the Maribor Development Agency.

The workshop entitled “Green Entrepreneurship” was carried out a little differently than most of us expected. Workshop leader was Victor Branagan (M.Sc. M.B.S.) more about him and his work can be found on their website “” We were in one word – surprised. His way of teaching does not fall within the established frameworks, which most teachers today perform. Already at the beginning of the workshop was announced that we will hear something that certainly we have not, therefore, we should tied us to not be thrown from the chairs. In fact, he does not teach anything new to say, since this knowledge was centuries maintained and develop by many other teachers, but now increasingly coming to the foreground, because of the wrong way of operation of most companies in the past. We also noticed that he has constantly moved around the conference room, because he wanted wanted to connect us into a circle of equivalent actors in discussion.

Viktor began with an explanation of the apparent separation of systems and objects like we were wrongly taught in the last 400 years in schools, starting from Galileo Galilei. He said that green and social entrepreneurs are capable to view things and events in a broader perspective, integrate them and thereby smooth the sharp edges, which are formed due to the prevailing doctrine of the measurement, evaluation and compartmentalisation of everything, which we are dealing today. In this way modern entrepreneur is entering the path of the system operation and thinking, which requires not only change of established practices, but completely different actions from the very beginning. It is a change of thinking about things and events that do not always bring the desired results, because in order to achieve these results we need to start at the beginning, approach in a different way, as they have done for decades and centuries in a dominant entrepreneurial logic. Therefore, it is often easier to start completely anew, rather than to change old patterns and try to act differently. In the parables Viktor told us how to get rid of things that embitter our lifes and steal leisure. Simply throw them out the window, especially if you live on the ground floor!

Viktor told us also that the Irish social enterprise is in almost every village, as a result of the strong emigrant community who have helped each other in order to facilitate survival. The problem arises when some companies are guided by the logic of dictatorship and also quite dependent on “foreign” money. Victor has pointed to the danger, often misreading of sustainability performance, which draws us in rearranging the natural principles of sustainability to economic calculations. So we get a sustainable Coca-cola or sustainable wood products from plantations, which are based on the destruction of natural forest area! Survival of green or social enterprise is also illustrated as too severe dependence on the state, regional or municipal money, which is identical with severe drug dependence. Therefore should be growth of companies perceived differently, not only through economic calculations, but also through the benefit to society. This requires that we grow slowly, step by step in accordance with the three principles of sustainability, which are essential for success. If we use only one or two principles we can otherwise progressing rapidly, but also have a quick stop, and are not able to reach the next step/stage. He therefore proposes to take into account the principle of sustainability, the principle of sociality and spiritual principle, obtained by aesthetics, music, painting, yoga, philosophy, religion, prayer, meditation, … Only combination of all three principles of sustainability and gradual progression leads in a stable and successful sustainable-oriented entrepreneurship.

Green and social entrepreneurship is a new value and is always the result of the operation of all participants in the process, so it blends with the total value and can not be subject to evaluation by the traditional economic key division of the merits. Individuals must inevitably terminate desire for the valuation of their stake in the common, of course not at the expense of the laziness of others, but at the expense of the satisfaction of others. It is important to see the pleasure, since it is highly contagious!

Every beginning is difficult and requires a lot of sacrifices, especially the uncertain and ambiguous, and it is always a sign that we are on the right track erasing sharp edges and operation in the interspaces that link seemingly separate parts into a whole. Attracting larger stakeholders and necessarily synergistic operation, which is in the initial steps uncertain and is leading to appearances, to results. There are no direct answers to questions because they are depended on each individual and do not represent solutions, because this is not the result of a linear way of thinking, but intertwined combination of the three principles of sustainability!

Doing something new necessarily mean smooth the sharp edges and change the existing practices, which still encounters disapproval. The hardest is to abandon the mentality of I and focus on me, open pressed palms and direct it upward, because it is not in accordance with the prevailing mode of entrepreneurial thinking. But it is necessary in the green and social entrepreneurship, because only by giving we can receive and only with the satisfaction of the participants in the overall process, we can be satisfied with ourselves, he said.

Summary…..Gregor Erzetič – InTeRCeR