On Wednesday, October 23, the School of Management’s MBA Student Association (MBASA) hosted “Lean and Clean – Sustainability and Startups in the Community,” a panel discussion on sustainability and entrepreneurship. The event was held in partnership with Twins Ace Hardware in Fairfax, who provided the venue, as well as refreshments for attendees. The hardware store was also launching their use of information labels developed by Savenia Labs that show individuals the energy costs of a product alongside the selling price, allowing individuals to select environmentally friendly alternatives while shopping.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities in the combined area of entrepreneurship and sustainability,” adds Cheryl Druehl, assistant professor of information systems and operations management and faculty advisor to the MBASA. “Students are interested in being more sustainable in their everyday lives and are bringing these same values into their careers.”
The event featured three entrepreneurs—John Jabara, founder and CEO of Savenia Labs, Sean Mallon, senior investment director at CIT Gap Funds, and Bernard A. Ferret, founder and CEO of The Green Job Bank—working on sustainability efforts. The event also featured two speakers from George Mason University, Erik Backus, engineering planner for Campus Planning and Tyler Orton, bicycle program manager and recycling specialist for the Office of Sustainability. Backus and Orton focused on the university’s efforts in sustainability, the green initiatives they are currently involved in, and how they work with the community internal and external to the university.
“I thought it was interesting how all panelists incorporated both sustainability and entrepreneurship. As MBA students, we are interested in how we can gain profits while being sustainable,” says Ju Yi (Jerry) Li, current Mason MBA student and event moderator.
More than 30 faculty, alumni, and undergraduate and graduate students attended the discussion. R. Scott Silverthorne, mayor of Fairfax, was also in attendance.