A green incubator grows in Bethesda
Bethesda Green has room to expand due to additional donated space at downtown location
The Bethesda Green business incubator has added space donated by Capital One Bank and is seeking more startup and early-stage environmental companies to join the 11 companies and nonprofits at its downtown Bethesda location.
"We have room for at least two or three full-time occupants," said Dave Heffernan, a spokesman for the nonprofit that promotes green practices and sustainable economic growth. The incubator, which added 1,000 square feet to its previous 3,000 square feet, is upstairs from a Capital One branch in downtown Bethesda.
Executives with some of the occupants come to the incubator only one or two days a week. Others, such as Savenia Labs, an enviroscience company that uses a proprietary method to measure the environmental impact of popular consumer products, are there full-time.
Savenia was one of the incubator's first occupants when it opened in late 2009. Others include a rain barrel manufacturer, an organic food vending machine business, a dry steam vapor company and an energy cooperative.
"Bethesda Green has been very helpful in making connections," said John Jabara, founder of Savenia. "The 11 companies here span a wide range of businesses. There is a support network, where you can bounce ideas off of and share contacts."
Bethesda Green was formed in 2008 by Seth Goldman, president of Bethesda beverage company Honest Tea, and Montgomery County Councilman George L. Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, who both remain on the board of directors. Besides forming the incubator, the organization has placed recycling bins around downtown Bethesda; developed initiatives with partners to purchase energy from renewable sources, conduct home energy audits and recycle printer toner cartridges; organized recycling of electronic items with the county; and launched a biodiesel fuel research project with the county involving a restaurant survey.
Other board members come from businesses such as Capital One Bank, Calvert and Federal Realty Investment Trust, county government agencies and community groups.
The incubator will have an open house from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at 4825 Cordell Ave., Suite 200, Bethesda.
There will be presentations by business and organization leaders on the incubator and its new partnership with the University of Maryland.