MENTOR SESSION – Entrepreneurship and Circular Economy -- Brandon Highland

Hello. I am @brandonhighland, a “New Venture” development specialist (I primarily develop innovative ideas into new business ventures)

#Ask Me About

You can ask me about entrepreneurship and developing new ventures for the circular economy, especially about the intersection of innovation and ways to develop a business or startup from that innovation–whether it’s a solo endeavor or within a large corporation, university, etc.

#When & How Will I Answer Questions

I will answer your questions here in the chat. Feel free to post them as a comment below.

I will sit down to answer for an hour on: Monday, June 13th 8am Los Angeles time / Pacific

But I may have time sooner on Saturday or Sunday, so you might get your answer even earlier! :wink:

#About Me

I am Brandon Highland. Together with entrepreneur Rob Bueschen I founded the venture development firm CoFounders Crunch, located in Southern California. We develop new companies and initiatives that primarily focus on advancing entrepreneurial learning, growing startup communities, or involve social impact.

My latest endeavor at CoFounders Crunch is an innovation lab dedicated to circular economy–hence, how I became involved in OSCE Days (Thanks to the awesome innovators at Future Flux in Germany–thanks Svenja @svenja.bickert !).

For OSCE Days I am helping organize the Los Angeles event.

I’m also an avid snowboarder :snowboarder:


What can entrepreneurs and laypersons do to improve public visibility and adaptation of the circular economy mindset?


Great question @alexis! Entreps = Especially regarding public visibility, have a wildly successful “success story”–whether that’s in the form of a venture, product, service, commercialized innovation, initiative, org/nonprofit/hybrid, all of the above, etc…i.e. “prove” that the circular economy (CE) works both in terms of its core values/standards as well as financial rewards for investing your focus in this field…I believe you will naturally gain mainstream visibility through that process/success from things such as publicity, PR, social media, etc–simply maximize that visibility for the positive in regards to the CE movement (Plus, I believe in that process you will inspire other entrepreneurs to do the same, creating a compounding positive adaptation and visibility). I think the by-product of that implementation/achievement is that the “adaptation of the circular economy mindset” can’t help but occur :wink: For the “layperson” = simply start to educate yourself, and make a personal stand to only purchase/support/and word-of-mouth products/services/initiatives, companies, and entrepreneurs that meet the CE standards; or one’s that are supporting at least in some way as an entity…other option for lay person to adopt mindset = join an entrepreneur’s endeavor that is focused on CE–as entrepreneurs/owners of CE related initiatives, we need awesome employees, team members, etc.!!! :blush: …How about you @alexis, how would you answer your own question? [Thanks for being the first to ask a question :sunglasses:]

What are some of ways design thinkers can be entrepreneurs for this?

A few ideations:
-Produce workshop$ on design thinking + CE,
-Create info products,
-Coordinate a local/regional summit/conference,
-Consult on design thinking + CE (My innovation lab would be interested in this)
-Co-found a venture with a fellow entrepreneur with opposing but synergistic skills,
-Start an agency dedicated to this field,
-Add a division to your existing biz that’s dedicated to CE,

What are some of your own ideas @jesse?

Thanks for asking!

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I think for Layperson could take a class online such as edX? I found Ellen Macarther Foundations site to be helping too:

Awesome @jesse I agree! I think online classes are great start, plus most of them are free! :yum: Here’s the EdX one if anyone is interested: …and Yes to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s website, a ton of great info there for people to adapt the mindset through.

Perhaps this is an oversimplification (from a layperson), but in order for the Circular Economy to gain traction, there must be an overhaul of the consumer mindset to redefine value and outweigh convenience with reason. There is a communal need for holistic economic education through increased visibility about the impact of our current consumption practices. We all speak with our $, but few people comprehend the language of traditional and reverse (post-consumer) supply chain operations. Therefore most consumers are unable to translate or comprehensively understand the statements they are making when choosing convenience or supporting businesses who focus solely on profit. Because we aren’t given the context we need to make informed decisions, we continue to make choices that violate the rights of others while damaging our environment and future prospects. When we demand transparency in the economic process, metrics beyond profit become illuminated and the definitions of product value and consumer responsibility become much more nuanced. When people fundamentally understand how the world works, they can see more clearly the value in systems that work for the world.

I don’t have any specific answers to my question other than some form of education, but I suppose understanding the audience is the first step!

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I believe there is a wonderful problem to solve within this :wink: Thank you for sharing @alexis

How would you implement Permaculture principals into a new business?

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@lesmoore might be able to input here.

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Hi Josh (and Brandon). I hold a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and participated in the 2016 London events. Yours is a great question - to answer needs a deep understanding of both permaculture AND business principles. Phew!! But as we say, the solution is the problem :slight_smile:

So I am assuming (dangerous - I know) that you have some knowledge of both permaculture and business principles. Permaculture is very much about design, and design of productive systems following deep observation. For land based design this can be anything up to a year.

Whilst the answer to your question is long, the short version would be to focus on the ‘observation’ stage. Just what is happening in the business sector in which you are interested? And if you tracked that for, say, six months, what differences can you discern? Are your start-up costs going up or down, and by how much? How many new players are entering the market, what is happening to them, how are market shares evolving? Does your business idea still stack up?

And are there new opportunities emerging in complementary markets? Starting a new business is like taking a stake in the past. It is no guarantee of a future.

Stop, look, listen. And do your research.

Good luck!

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Hey Lesmoore,

Thank you for the input! Where did you get your Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design? I took my PDC in Ojai, CA. I would like to add the Idea of incorporating the three ethics of Permaculture in a Permaculture business to make sure it is sustainable.


I received my Diploma in 2014 in Dalston, London. I’d be happy to help or advise if you like.


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