Innovation Destination Hartford Website Curator Nan Price spoke with Samuel King, Guru of Marketing & Business Expansion at Blue Earth Compost, in December 2016. (Read: West Hartford Startup is a reSET 2016 Impact Challenge Winner.) At that time, the startup had just finished participating in the reSET Impact Accelerator, and was one of the top three winners of the Impact Challenge.
In 2016, Samuel noted the future of Blue Earth Compost looked bright. IDH checked in and found he was absolutely right.
NAN PRICE: What’s new?
SAMUEL KING: A lot! In early 2017, we settled into a large new space in the north end of Hartford where five (soon to be six) of us are working hard at recycling millions of pounds of food scraps per year. Our revenues are more than triple what they were in 2016 and we are working with larger and more prestigious clients than we have in the past.
This past spring, we learned we have been awarded a grant from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to purchase an electric-assisted bicycle for residential food scrap collection. We also partnered with the Center for Latino Progress, which will help us hire a promising young Hartford resident to perform the collections. We’re very happy about the possibilities of this partnership.
Perhaps most exciting, is that with help from a Department of Economic and Community Development DECD loan, we’ll be purchasing our first organics hauling dump truck. Up until now, we’ve done all our work out of box trucks. The dump truck will greatly expand our capacity, the types of clients we can service, and will bolster our growth potential.
NAN: Have you experienced any major pivots since we featured your story?
SAMUEL: Not in any substantial way. We’ve just gotten better at what we do to secure our position as a leader in this industry. That being said, there are a lot of opportunities to offer different services and make our organization more dynamic. I’m certain we’ll explore those more in the coming years.
NAN: What did you gain from your experience participating in the reSET Impact Accelerator?
SAMUEL: reSET has always been a valuable asset to our business and its network has been vital to our success. We haven’t been actively involved in any startup programs since the reSET accelerator, because we are honing in on implementing our business model.
NAN: How are you building a customer base?
SAMUEL: We get customers in a variety of ways including, social media, print, television, radio, events, and networking. However, a significant portion comes to us organically, which I think speaks to our growing reputation and a desire for composting to become more widespread in Connecticut. We take pride in offering the best service we can, and I believe that’s the reason we’re doing so well.
NAN: Where do you see Connecticut’s entrepreneurial landscape heading?
SAMUEL: I see is a young and diverse crowd of entrepreneurs in my network. I think there are some in my generation who aren’t finding the jobs they want so they’re creating them. I think there are others who are sick of the business-as-usual models of our present form of capitalism and want to see businesses doing the right thing instead of the profitable thing. I think there are others yet who see the potential in Hartford and want to create businesses that will offer the products and services our vibrant and eclectic residents want. One thing I hope all these entrepreneurs share is a dedication to collaborate, no matter the reason for choosing entrepreneurship.
NAN: Tell us about the importance of encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship in Connecticut.
SAMUEL: I think cooperation is important in all contexts, but I think the reason that hits home personally is that Blue Earth Compost and I wouldn’t be here without the support of others. It’s our obligation to pay that forward.
NAN: Aside from funding, what do you need most to move your company forward?
SAMUEL: We need people who believe in what we’re doing both environmentally and economically, whether that be customers, employees, potential business partners, suppliers, or collaborators. If they can see why it’s important for a business like ours to exist, then they’ll make that effort. I’d put a special emphasis on employees; however, because going forward we’re going to need a skilled and passionate workforce that is 100% dedicated to our mission.
NAN: What’s next?
SAMUEL: Right now, our emphasis is getting this new truck on the road and managing the growth we’re experiencing in a sustainable way. I can tell you though, big things are coming for this company. If the last three years are any indication, Blue Earth Compost is going to make a lot of impact for our environment, our local economy, and the Hartford region.