Our History

The SEEN is a program of the Green Resource Hub of the Finger Lakes, an Ithaca-based organization whose mission is to expand the marketplace for sustainable living in the Finger Lakes region. In early 2009, the Green Resource Hub hosted a series of events focused on gauging local interest in forming a sustainable business network. They got their answer when a March visit by Holly Harlan of Cleveland’s Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S) drew a standing-room-only crowd of highly engaged local business owners.

Over the following months, the Hub compiled input during public brainstorming sessions and strategy circles. Additional networking events and discussion panels were very well-attended and confirmed that the Finger Lakes Region was ready for its sustainable enterprise network.

In December 2009, the Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneur Network (The SEEN) officially began its charter membership campaign, accepting pledges from local businesses, enterprises, and entrepreneurs. These charter members demonstrated their vision and leadership by committing to becoming The SEEN’s first paying members, and pledging to incorporate Triple Bottom Line thinking into their operations and thinking.

The SEEN formally launched in September 2010, with nearly 100 Charter Members, representing businesses and organizations from all areas of the regional community and economy.

In 2011, the SEEN has begun hiring paid staff to support marketing and programming. Members continue to enjoy monthly networking events, Triple Bottom Line workshops are scheduled to begin in the spring, and the group is building an online presence around its new website, TheSEEN.org.

The SEEN began to host large events regularly.  On Monday August 8th, 2011 over 150 people gathered downtown to hear the Ithaca’s Mayoral Candidates respond to questions about the long-term social, environmental, and economic sustainability of the City.  (See the video!)  In February 2011, over 120 people arrived to learn about and discuss the Finger Lakes Region’s local food system.  On October 28th 2013, 190 people filled the largest theater at Cinemapolis for a screening of A Place at the Table followed by a heartfelt discussion about hunger right here in Ithaca and surrounding areas.

We’ve launched our Member-to-Member Program (M2M), card-based discount system that allows SEEN members to support other triple-bottom-line businesses while reducing overhead costs.   We’ve started hosting regular member meetings to create a platform for SEEN members to co-create the future of the SEEN.   We’ve begun hosting cash mobs to bring new customers to our members.  We continue to adapt the membership benefits annually based on community input and the marketing and networking needs of the SEEN.  Read all about it in the Tompkins Weekly!

We look forward to seeing you soon!