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How we can help your green business
We coordinate, consult, and train in these areas (click to go to the section on this page):
We do research and consultation in resource management, with particular interest in the promotion of services to aid green business development in agro-forestry, crafts, and eco-tourism.
Through service contractors, we provide training, product design, access to markets, and financial resources, as well as liaison to promote self-sufficiency, long-term business and resource sustainability, and integrated development strategies.
All services are based on cost recovery by hour or per project. Contact us for more information.
Countries with past and present TFF projects include Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Cameroon, Kenya, Cameroon, Madagascar, South Africa, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines
“Green” Business Management
We help develop business management skills and training courses for small to medium-sized sustainable livelihoods projects. We can review and report on an organization’s operations, or organizations or individuals can participate in workshops or courses.
These courses can be part of already existing programs or can be specifically designed for a group. Training can be coordinated with business school and university programs in the U.S. or overseas. Short-course, training workshops or degree certificate programs also may be available.
Curricula cover a number of management topics, including writing a business plan, financial management, marketing, and others. We emphasize:
- fair trade models;
- low-impact, environmentally sustainable technologies;
- management strategies that incorporate natural and social capital;
- economic sustainability;
- natural capital as the bottom line;
- building the self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and continuity of
We have assisted dozens of producer groups in many countries in developing the management skills to grow their organization or business. We have helped direct growth and improve communications, identifying constraints and limitations as well as resources for improved management. We have an extensive network of dedicated trained and experienced professionals that can assist an organization, short or long-term, in-country or out.
We strongly believe that training is a long-term commitment, and we emphasize building capacity in-country to continuously train and educate. So, we are working hard to develop and extend networks not only through our Working Group in Sustainable Livelihoods, but also through including local university and educational facilities in growing the next generation of social and environmental entrepreneurs.
Natural capital is the source from which all other forms of capital are created. Socio-economic relationships must embody this principle. Opportunity costs for its neglect are high and place an undue burden on future generations. Using nature as a guide, we can build systems that not only conserve natural capital but restore and rejuvenate it,
creating a bounty that can be reaped into the future.
We have developed a state of the art curriculum that is not static but dynamic, changing, and interactive. Every day we learn something new, try a different approach, and adapt to changing environmental conditions. It is critical that our curriculum reflects not only the fundamentals of organizational and entrepreneurial management, but also is highly adaptable to a rapidly changing planet.
Flexible Courses, Workshops and Consultancies
Please contact us for curriculum, scheduling, or current course dates. Group discounts are available.
Using the Internet, we are developing a communication and training system that lowers overhead and is based on social networking and case studies from around the world. We are promoting a South-South dialog where experiences of developing country producers, entrepreneurs and NGO’s can be shared.
Product Design and Development
TFF provides critical design and product development assistance in crafts and other value-added goods. In these efforts, we pay attention to market demands, the sustainability of component harvest, and raw material production. Design is where sustainability must begin, and consumers as well as producers must move towards recognizing and understanding this.
Adapting to rapidly changing market demands is difficult under any circumstances. TFF appreciates and honors the constraints under which most producers in developing countries are working, particularly those working in biologically diverse regions. Consistent, steady, and slow product development, combined with rapid market feedback, is critical to avoid the pitfalls of over-capacity and vagaries of globalization. Building long-term, trusting relationships is key.
Design with Nature™ is a TFF Educational Program to link designers and retail buyers with artisans in developing countries to improve response to market trends and create products with broader market appeal. Materials available to designers include: woods, fibers and natural dyes, all certified sustainably harvested, organically grown, fairly traded and/or hand crafted. In conjunction with TFF ecotours, participants can interact with producers in some of the most beautiful places on the planet, where they can witness the harvest of materials and the hand crafting of these elegant products.
- Experience through partner organizations since 1993
- Recognition by leading designers for unique work
- Assisted dozens of producers and artisans around the world
- Appreciation of unique circumstances of developing country producers
Market Access and Import Services
We provide assistance in marketing and market access through
identifying local, regional, and international markets.
We offer market access by representing producers or providing booth
space at major gift, boutique, and furniture trade shows twice a year
in the United States. We can help with transportation,
export/import logistics, warehousing, distribution, representation,
- Trade show experience since 1995
- Dozens of producers assisted
- Has exhibited at over 12 retail and wholesale events annually
One of our major goals is to increase the perceived value of
hand-made, fairly traded and sustainable products in the market place
through education and presence. Working together with us can help
unify the message, while expanding market share.
Representation, Distribution and Warehousing
TFF offers three options to artisans and producer groups in market
access and importation. Fees may be paid through grants from
agencies, like the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID), Aid to Artisans, or other export assistance or regional
development agencies. Grants and market access services may be part
of larger consultancies, for which TFF can offer assistance or be a
Option #1 – Sales Representation
TFF will take product samples, exhibit them, and
take orders. Orders will be given directly to producers for them to
fulfill and ship. TFF will require a fee for the percentage of booth
space used and a 15% commission on all sales. Booth fees are
approximately $20 per square foot and can range from a shelf or wall
up to an entire 10 x 20 ft. booth.
Option #2 – Sales and Distribution
Same as Option #1, but TFF will warehouse, ship
orders and collect payments from clients, wire transferring the money
to artisans. Artisans are responsible for inventory here in the
States. Fees will be booth space, plus 20% and shipping.
Option #3 – Booth Space
TFF will sublet space in its booth to artisans
and producers at booth cost, which includes square footage,
electricity, exhibit shelving and sales assistance. Available space
ranges from 4×10 to 10×20 foot booths at about $30 per square foot.
If artisans are not available to provide an employee, TFF can find one
for about $150/per day or 15% commission.
Sustainability must be included in project design and a goal
through all development stages. Maximum benefits may be guaranteed
through: research, the creation of resource management plans and the
use of certification in 1) forestry , 2) organic production and/or 3)
fair trade. Such certification is important in educating consumers,
increasing market share and guaranteeing resources will exist in the
future. TFF can provide assistance at various stages of a project’s
life cycle, identifying resources, expertise and networks and/or
coordinate or conduct research. Such resources can support the
development of management plans, monitoring and evaluations.
- Sustainability is fundamental;
- Certification can help increase market share and improve resource management;
- TFF’s extensive contacts and resources can help improve sustainability.
Capitalization, Grants, and Demonstration Projects
Investment capital may be available to those organizations where
viable partnerships exist. TFF will offer micro-lending through
existing lending organizations, providing low-interest loans and
working capital for purchase of equipment and supplies. Grant
programs will support innovative strategies in: 1) Green Business
Management, 2) Resource Management and 3) Networking.
Demonstration projects will promote green business models in the
areas of eco-tourism, craft development, and sustainable agro-forestry.
Models will be developed and reviewed and case studies developed from
which other projects can be improved and replicated.
- Capital needed to implement innovation, grow and expand;
- Reasonable interest rates, with valuable investor advice and involvement;
- Model refinement and replication.