05/19/2009 09:51 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Roots and Shoots

The economy's woes are well documented at this point, and many are looking for solutions and a way out of this morass. There has been an overwhelming amount of news and media coverage of new "green jobs" being created for the new "green economy." President Obama has pledged many times that this is one way to grow out of the recession. Well, as the economy continues to teeter and the unemployment rate continues to rise, where will these employment opportunities come from? Some of the stimulus money is being directed toward green jobs creation, but not nearly enough to make a serious dent.

The majority of jobs creation at any time, regardless of economic conditions, comes from small businesses, and many of these are home-based enterprises. Pro Energy Consultants, a company specializing in energy audits, is offering franchises around the country. Though not a yet a household name yet--only 20 franchises so far--this enterprise and others like it are igniting the entrepreurial spirit while offering a vital service. Pro Energy Consultants conducts audits to identify energy inefficiencies that cost residential and commercial properties billions of dollars per year. This is not big news--energy audits are conducted every day by many qualified individuals.

But Pro Energy is streamlining the process, making it easier to become a certified energy auditor. The company, like many franchisors, has a branding and marketing program backing up its franchisees, as well as back-end support systems that assist in making a successful business.

While there are both pros and cons to franchising, the important point is that, as we look for "green shoots" to emerge and take root in restoring a growing economy, it's still the small businesses, like Pro Energy Consultants franchisees, that will get us there.

Jonathan A. Schein is the publisher of and