Since our founding in 2005 by leaders in Silicon Valley and Boston, more than 700 cleantech companies from across the United States have participated in the Cleantech Open. In May, 160 entrepreneurs were accepted into the 2013 Cleantech Open Accelerator — let’s check in on their progress.
We like to stress that the Cleantech Open Accelerator is more than a chance to win a prize and get national visibility with top investors and the media; it is, first and foremost, a highly successful training program that accelerates all participants toward commercialization of their ideas. The Cleantech Open Academy plays a key role in this training process.
Last month, around 100 cleantech startup teams from across the western USA gathered in Santa Clara, California for a three-day boot camp of intensive training, workshops and mentoring sessions at the West Coast Academy. A week later, another 60 teams gathered in Boston, Massachusetts for the East Coast version.
At the Academy, participants essentially received a “Mini Cleantech Entrepreneurial MBA” — a two- to three-day introduction to creating fundable, successful, sustainable cleantech businesses. At both Academies, entrepreneurs were supported by a host of mentors, sustainability experts, world-class speakers, and educators. National Education Sponsor, Apollo Group provided essential entrepreneurial and business skills training.
A “who’s who” of industry gurus and thought leaders were on hand to offer practical advice and inspiration. Among them:
This video captures some of the energy that electrified the attendees, and features the viewpoints of speakers, mentors, sponsors and the entrepreneurs for whom the Academy was conceived.
Here’s what a couple of attendees said:
“The Academy was real ‘a-ha’ moment!” – Greg Bynum, Precision Fuel Measurement, Western Region team
“One of the greatest assets taken from an experience such as this is the visibility — both for one’s own company, and for other companies in a similar space. I appreciate the fact that I could locate the entire value chain of our product in one room. No longer did we seem to be operating in a vacuum. The knowledge gathered and the possibilities opened within the space of four days was greater than I had discovered in the last four years. I would recommend coming in with a curious and open heart – I believe the connections formed here are the ones that change lives.” – Kathlyn Kinney, Biomethane, Northwest Region team.
Here are some photos taken at the East Coast Academy.