SDEE Workshops – A Great Resource for Entrepreneurs

May 4, 2017 SDEE How to Create a Green Energy Company: A Guide for Entrepreneurs

By B. Jack Pan, Ph.D. Student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

I was fortunate enough to participate in a recent SDEE event -- "How To Create a Green Energy Company." The event began with a lively crowd, productive conversations, and meaningful exchanges. During this networking opportunity, I was able to learn about each attendee's company, as well as to experience the diversity of green energy businesses in our region.

The presentations that followed were particularly illuminating. Three speakers, Ted Torre-Bueno, Carol Curchoe, and Lane Sharman, offered their insights on entrepreneurship in the green energy sector. They discussed a variety of topics in great detail, and specifically focused on three themes: 1) the current environment for green energy businesses and how to identify opportunities, 2) advantages and drawbacks of private and public funding for renewable technologies, and 3) trends in technology and regulation, and where opportunities may reside in the future.

After the speakers' presentations, there was an extended Q&A and general discussion. Event participants were invited to give a short pitch that introduced their businesses. My startup focuses on constructing a mechanical device that can harness and store oceanic wave energy. I had only spoken with investors privately in the past, but I had not done an "elevator pitch" in public. Thus, that was a very important learning opportunity for me. The audience’s response to my short introduction was extremely informative. I received many helpful advice and suggestions from multiple areas pertaining to funding, entrepreneurship, and public policy, as well as meaningful tips on how to move forward.

Entrepreneurs in the green energy sector are facing tremendous difficulties. Technologies are novel and sometimes unconventional, and so funding and resources can be scarce. The path to success in this sector is very different in comparison to others. Public policy support is often unknown and regulations are often extremely complex. However, this event provides a very important platform for green energy entrepreneurs to engage in productive dialogues and resolve these difficulties. Furthermore, it was particularly encouraging to see these local entrepreneurs come together. Deep decarbonation of our grid will be one of the most critical interests in the coming decades. This SDEE event contributes to that goal by mobilizing local communities and fostering synergistic efforts. It was undoubtedly an eventful evening, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank SDEE and Dr. Scott Thacher for organizing this event.

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