Meet Connie Stacey, Founder and President of Growing Greener Innovations (GGI) Inc., an award-winning clean energy technology company based out of Edmonton, Alberta. With a BA from the University of Alberta and 20 years of experience in the IT and computer programming sectors, Connie founded GGI in 2014, intent on creating a generator that was silent, cleaner, and safer, free of fumes and carbon emissions. Since creating GGI’s patented GRENGINE™ solar battery generator, Connie and her company have expanded into the battery energy storage sector. In addition to being President of GGI, Connie is on the steering committee of NAIT’s Centre for Grid Innovation, is a frequent speaker at cleantech events, and has been the recipient of several awards herself, including the Alberta Business Award for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year.
My first job ever was… Camp Counselor for the YMCA Summer Camps in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I wanted to use business as a way to create positive social change.
I founded Growing Greener Innovations because… Once I learned about global energy poverty and realized the technology I was inventing could make a real difference, I felt compelled to take the leap and build my new technology.
My biggest setback was… People had a hard time seeing a woman inventing new battery technology — there was a lot of skepticism.
I overcame it by… I kept talking to and meeting as many people as I could, trying to find believers who would support me and I looked for alternative ways to get past the barriers I came up against.
I’m passionate about cleantech because… I believe that cleantech is not just imperative for the environment, it is imperative for people. Clean air, drinkable water, sustainable food —these are essential for our planet, and they are essential for all people.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… Stick with it! There will be so much to learn in the beginning and so many obstacles to overcome, but if you believe in yourself and stick with it, you will get through it.
“I believe that cleantech is not just imperative for the environment, it is imperative for people. Clean air, drinkable water, sustainable food —these are essential for our planet, and they are essential for all people.”
The thing I love most about what I do is… I can’t pick one! I am picking two things. One, I love talking to people: My colleagues, our customers, our vendors, and everyone and anyone with interest in cleantech. Two, I love inventing; I love the process of unravelling a problem and finding innovative ways to solve those challenges.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… The love and support of my friends and family. Many of them did not understand the deep technology I was building, but they believed in me and made sure I knew it.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I am a huge fan of Star Wars and all things geeky! My coffee mugs are Star Wars, I have a Rey bobblehead on my desk, and I even have rebel alliance cufflinks! I spend my (few minutes of spare time) making 3D prints and toys for my kids and I love it!
I stay inspired by… Spending time with my kids. I have three beautiful children and they remind me of how important it is to leave the world a better place than we found it. I want them to enjoy the beautiful planet we inhabit and truly be equal with all of the people who live on it.
The future excites me because… Now that we are moving from development into commercialization, we are truly starting to see the positive outcomes our work can create. Knowing we are on the brink of so many positive results is unbelievably exciting, and I cannot wait to do even more!