How Native American Green Entrepreneur Robert Blake launched a solar enterprise

July 29, 2021

In this week’s episode, I had the pleasure to talk with Robert (Bob) Blake. He is a tribal citizen of the Red Lake Nation of Ojibwe Indians and the founder and CEO of Solar Bear, a solar installation company based in the US, in Minnesota.

Bob shared with us how he got inspired to start the company after a personal family tragedy that profoundly changed his life. Like every great entrepreneur, he identified a problem and went about finding the solution. He decided to combat climate change by creating renewable energy microgrids and harvesting solar power.

Once he started the business, Bob engaged the community through non-profit projects and youth education programmes. He provides previously incarcerated citizens with training and a chance for a second act in their lives, engaging solar energy and a goal of fighting climate change with an opportunity to start a new life. We talked about his circular approach and commitment to a circular economy – he believes that healing is in the environment and that saving our planet is also saving our people.

Robert is a passionate, knowledgeable pioneer and a true advocate of changing our children’s future. “The kids are going to have to be prepared for the climate crisis and we don’t want them to feel like they don’t have the tools to deal with it,” he said.

He inspired me and I hope he will do the same for you!

Key points of discussion:

  • Introduction (00:32)
  • Key facts about fossil fuels and renewable energy (02:50)
  • The genesis of Solar Bear – How and why Bob started his company (05:00)
  • How did the renewable energy industry evolve and what was the response of your community? (09:15)
  • Bob’s circular approach – Healing is in the environment (11:04)
  • Non-profit work with former inmates – saving the planet by saving people (16:56)
  • How have Bob’s origins formed him and made him who he is today (20:12)
  • What was the biggest influence on you from being in the Native Nation while growing up? (25:28)
  • Have you experienced the “American dream”? (27:29)
  • What are the things you are excited about? (29:10)
  • If you could have coffee with anyone, who would it be and why? (31:50)

Additional Resources: 

Follow Bob on Linkedin

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