How To Become a Greentrepreneur

in Energy & Environment Sector, Entrepreneurship, News, Sectors
December 9th, 2011

Next session begins Feb. 15 - Apply now

“People want to break into the green sector, but they don’t know how,” says Paul McManus, managing director of the Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization (ITEC) at Boston University.

“We’re in touch with all kinds of entrepreneurs and people with great business skills who want to dive in and be part of the alternative energy, environmental, and sustainable business areas,” Mcmanus continues, “but they’re all looking for ways to get up to speed before getting involved.”

lightbulbIt’s one of the specialties of Boston University faculty and the School of Management has a program that fits the need perfectly.

Last year, The Executive Leadership Center at Boston University School of Management partnered with the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC) to form the Leading Clean Energy Ventures Certificate Program. Now accepting applications for its second year, the program’s goal is to encourage and prepare experienced entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to enter the clean technology sector, leading to new venture formation, job creation, and growth of the clean energy industry.

According to McManus, “The program addresses a simple but acute problem: a lack of experienced entrepreneurs and seasoned executives in the clean energy sector. Our goal for this program is to help individuals accelerate their transition into the clean energy sector.”

Participants examine the finite details of clean energy with industry experts and develop practical capstone projects that result in a new business concept, market strategy, business plan, or financing model.

First Year Testimonials.

Veda Ferlazzo Clark was CEO of a commercial lighting manufacturer before deciding to enroll in the 2011 Leading Clean Energy Ventures Certificate program. In her role as CEO, Veda had driven the company’s mission to become a sustainable manufacturer of energy efficient products.

“In lighting, we were ‘beside’ clean tech, but not in clean tech,” said Veda. “I wanted to learn more about the structure of and influences on the many industries that compose clean tech.”

“The program touched on, and in some cases took a pretty deep dive into, all of the key pieces—technologies, financing, regulatory issues. It helped to bring into focus many relevant topics and an understanding of how the pieces of the puzzle sometimes fit together – and sometimes don’t.”

Since completing the program, Veda has been assisting several start-ups she met while in the program. She is also helping Mass Manufacturing Extension Partnership develop an energy and sustainability roadmap for small to mid-sized manufacturers.

Her ultimate goal? “Help a clean-tech company grow in the role of CEO.”

Ramesh Kumar, head of corporate development at Mavizen, attended the program in 2011 and focused on developing an electric powertrain technology for an electric bike. The serial entrepreneur had recently sold his mobile couponing and ticketing firm, Activemedia Technologies, to a British company. “Over the course of the program,” Kumar says, “the project evolved; it expanded into applying the powertrain technology for cars, bikes, or even jet skis. I was able to use the capstone project of LCEV program to refine our pitch to OEMs. In fact, I left the BU lecture theater after our final capstone presentation to pitch to one of the largest motorbike manufacturers in the world at our facility in the UK.

“After the program, our company has further evolved it into a battery management system that we sell to auto OEMs and battery manufacturers and our value-add to them is the software that manages the energy efficiently, monitors the cells, and extends the life of a battery pack for different applications.”

Kumar came to the program to help refine an idea. He not only did that, but added, “This group really helped accelerate the iterations in the business, gave me access to new relationships, finding resources, being exposed to funding sources and ideas. I made some new contacts that will be valuable through the entrepreneurial journey. We have recently developed some new IP that has allowed us to pitch on a proposal for grid storage at the residential level for 30,000 homes. We are talking to city governments and utilities to help them manage the day and night load through innovative storage solutions at residential level. That’s a whole other direction for us as we continue to find the right niche.”

Applications Due January 16.

To insure a good mix of participants, all applicants will be interviewed. The module-based classes begin February 15 and end May 16.

To learn more about program specifics or to apply, visit