Bethesda Green: Maryland's Green Business Incubator

Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff founded Honest Tea in 1998. In the recently released Mission in a Bottle, the co-founders tell -- in comic book form -- the story of building a successful mission-driven business. Goldman, now president and "TeaEO" of Honest Tea, joins Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner to discuss sustainability, entrepreneurship, and what it means for a socially responsible, health-oriented business to be bought by Coca-Cola  (NYSE: KO  )  .

In addition to his work with Honest Tea, Goldman co-founded Bethesda Green to help green businesses get off the ground, and has been involved with healthy food companies Beyond Meat and Happy Baby. 

A full transcript follows the video.

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Audience member: With the explosion of co-working spaces and incubators, how did ecosystems like Bethesda Green drive your growth, and how do you think it will help early stage start-ups today?

Seth Goldman: Bethesda Green is a nonprofit that I co-founded in Bethesda. It started with the idea that we just needed a recycling business in downtown Bethesda. Then it mushroomed up, and we got the restaurants to recycle their grease.

Then when I went to what was Chevy Chase Bank and said, "We'd love you to be part of this," they said, "Well, we can't write you a check, but we have some office space. Can you use it?"

I said, "Not only will we use it for Bethesda Green, we'll create a green business incubator." We've got 16 entrepreneurs launching green businesses out of there, and they have all the benefits I don't have.

They have offices that's not a bedroom in the house. They have a conference room table. They have a mailing address that's not a P.O. box -- which gives any supplier the willies, because they don't want to send a check to a P.O. box, because they know they'll never get paid.

And they have the collaboration -- and the commiseration -- that you get when you're an entrepreneur, which is so important. I've been really excited to see these incubators spread.

I'm on the Maryland Governor's Economic Development Council, and I really believe it's an important model because not just where we need to change our economy is through entrepreneurs, but also through thinking about where the opportunities are, too. It's starting in small ideas.

Then just quickly, other companies that I've been involved with. I just joined the board of a company called Beyond Meat, which is a vegetarian protein alternative, really exciting. I'm a vegetarian, and they've got the right texture and taste.

I just was on a company that just sold called Happy Baby, an organic baby food company. We knew that the biggest trigger to going organic was getting pregnant and having kids, so organic baby food was right in the sweet spot.


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