Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Annual Entrepreneurial Meeting Fast Approaching

It’s hard to believe it’s already September and, although it may still feel like summer in Georgia, Fall means CARE’s 10th Annual Entrepreneurial meeting is fast approaching! This year’s meeting will once again be held in Atlanta with industrious individuals from across the country flying in for a daylong meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn on Wednesday, October 23rd.

Given CARE’s mission is to encourage and facilitate market-driven solutions for the recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet, the annual entrepreneur meeting is one of our favorite times of the year!  The event provides a chance for existing CARE members, as well as businesses that are hoping to get involved with carpet, to come together, share ideas, and network.

The meeting will kick off the Tuesday night prior with a reception dinner, also held at the hotel, to welcome weary travelers and offer opportunities for networking prior to the event. The following morning the meeting will officially commence at 8:30 am with some brief introductions before transitioning into the day’s first session, the ‘Marketplace Forum.’ 

As in previous years, the Forum offers an opportunity for all attendees to briefly go over what materials and services they currently offer for sale and/or what materials and services they are currently looking for. Past attendees have found this session very useful for generating conversation and ideas, essentially helping companies to link inputs to outputs and close loops.

The Forum will transition into updates from CARE’s New Products and Markets Committee, Marketing and Communications Committee, and PET Committee. Updates will then be succeeded by a more in depth conversation on PET, which makes up a steadily growing portion of the diverted carpet stream. While PET fiber is generally made from post-consumer plastic bottles and thus environmentally beneficial, opportunities to continue to repurpose the plastic once it’s in a carpet fiber form are currently limited. The discussion will report on CARE’s focused efforts to open PET opportunities.

Fortunately, if there is any place to move forward on the PET problem it’s at a conference full of entrepreneurs! That is, when you gather such enterprising individuals into one room the word problem dissolves into dozens of opportunities! However, it is well known that in the world of business an idea can only as good as its ultimate profitability and that is why a team approach is so vital at this stage.  

The afternoon will cover a discussion of AB2398 in California as well as the status of similar EPR legislation under discussion in Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota and Washington. The day will then appropriately close with a session dedicated to entrepreneurs, providing them time to discuss their current issues, concerns, and ideas.

The first Annual Entrepreneurs meeting back in 2003 may have had less than 30 participants but it was a huge success. Since that inaugural year participation and interest in carpet recycling has only grown. CARE has been very pleased with the level of thoughtful conversation and energy participants have brought to previous years’ conferences and is very excited to see what ideas and relationships this year’s meeting will generate.

As the president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute, Werner Braun, wrote in reflection of last year’s conference, “What’s unique about CARE is that it combines meeting our collective goal (reducing waste) and encouraging private enterprise (creating businesses) in a win-win partnership that benefits both the environment and the economy” (CRI, November 2012).

On that note, CARE would like to give a big thanks to this year’s sponsors: Aquafil’s Econyl Brand, Interface, Shaw Floors and Starnet Worldwide, and looks forward to seeing many of you shortly!

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