The UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship is currently hosting 50 students from around the world for the second annual Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy (GTEA) in Incline Village, Nev.
Doctoral and postdoctoral students and research faculty from 23 universities around the world are attending the academy and working in a wide range of science and engineering fields to gain knowledge about new sustainable technologies.
“The goals of our academy are to provide scientists and engineers developing green technologies in their research with the means to develop and communicate the commercial value of their research in order to have the greatest impact possible,” said Andrew Hargadon, director for the center in an e-mail interview.
Students were chosen based on applications, the quality of their work and level of interest. Most of the participants are from the United States but also included are countries in Europe and South America.
“GTEA is a unique opportunity for scientists and engineers working on sustainable technologies to come together and learn from top notch entrepreneurs and investors in the green tech space – and the opportunity to build a network to help further their ideas,” said Nicole Starsinic, assistant director for the center in an e-mail interview.
The five-day program will include basics of entrepreneurship with various sessions focusing on intellectual property, elevator pitches, business plan presentations, developmental strategies and more. Venture capitalists, attorneys and research scientists on the academy’s faculty will give lectures, and entrepreneurs will hold mentoring sessions.
Hargadon will be teaching a few sessions throughout the week and also had a hand in developing the week’s curriculum.
“Students learn about the path from the lab to the market. They apply this knowledge directly and immediately to their own work and do so with guidance from entrepreneurs and investors who are experienced in bringing green science and technology to market,” Hargadon said.
Dan McDonald is an MBA and economics graduate student at UC Davis currently participating in this week’s academy and hopes to gain better networking from the program.
“Networking, learning to focus on the financials – even for nonprofit…. It’s not an easy thing to do when it’s a social venture that started from societal pain, not customer pain,” McDonald said.
So far this week, participants were able to listen to lectures from different angles such as experienced wind energy entrepreneurs, intellectual property lawyers and a talk by Hargadon about enabling and managing innovation.
“Obviously green technology is critical today, given climate change, energy security issues and other environmental concerns,” Hargadon said. “The challenge, as we see it, is to create leadership in green solutions that is built on and guided by the best science.”
Students were also able to participate in exercises such as “speed dating” which allowed students to pitch ideas and basic financial models and then receive feedback.
Hargadon believes that having such programs is important for UC Davis as leaders in the field of science and engineering for energy efficiency.
“Our program complements that research by creating a national [program] that brings other researchers, as well as investors and entrepreneurs, together to help make that research make a difference,” Hargadon said.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at email@example.com.