Adbongo builds a tech-style accelerator for municipal zero waste initiatives

John BushWhen Adbongo founder, John Bush, was studying advertising at the prestigious advertising institute at Southern Methodist University (SMU) (the program won the national ad team competition two years in a row) he witnessed the power of the process that traditional ad agencies use to provide services to multi-million dollar clients who can afford the $2,000/hour price tag.

John realized that instead of having students produce materials for fictitious companies, the advertising program should service small businesses working to benefit the community and planet, they’re the ones who really need help. The seeds for Adbongo had been planted.

In 2006, John started Adbongo as an agency that beat to a different drum. Rather than focusing on selling cheeseburgers or SUVs, Adbongo has the dream of growing businesses with products, ideas, or services of benefit to humanity. After participating in Austin’s zero waste plan, Adbongo evolved from an ad agency to a for-benefit business accelerator that focuses on developing the market for reuse, which is needed to meet the job creation goals of municipal zero waste plants.

“Most accelerators are prone to operate and serve the tech sector, and it makes sense to apply the model to municipalities that already have the initiatives and dollars in place, but don’t know exactly how they’re going to get there,” he says. “Our research has shown that business incubators create 20 times more jobs than the current public infrastructure projects. With a zero waste philosophy, we focus on clients who are based on reuse of resources, which creates 7.5-20 times the amount of jobs than recycling.”

Adbongo is currently raising funds from investors to create a revolving loan fund that will capitalize zero waste startups that meet the needs of cities’ zero waste plans, focusing in the short term on Austin and Dallas.

John notes the importance of learning the lessons bootstrapping teaches when starting a company. “Our experience and knowledge has been hard won through trial and error. We are seeing the increasing results after years of testing and editing our process, and Adbongo has become a train headed for the new clean economy, an economy where there are more winners, abundant resources and zero waste.”