Nevada-Lake Tahoe Cleantech Open Promotes Entrepreneurs
Special to the Tribune
As Metro Director for the Nevada-Lake Tahoe Cleantech Open and an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at University of Nevada Matt Westfield has mentored more than a few entrepreneurs. He now works within the community to build a network of resources to help those who aspire to become one. “What we’re doing in South Lake Tahoe, Westfield said, “is working in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, the folks at Tahoe Mountain Lab and the business community as a whole to build an ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs to access an entrée of resources in a cohesive manner. Our goal is to stimulate growth and awareness and to nurture the entrepreneurial impact around Lake Tahoe and Northern Nevada. The business ecosystem includes community colleges in the region as well as the University of Nevada at Reno (UNR) and it provides an avenue for entrepreneurs to tap into community funding sources and to have access to a network of mentors.”
The Cleantech Opens’ mission is to find, fund and foster start-ups with clean technology ideas or products. Eight categories are targets for business ideas: Energy generation, energy distribution and storage; energy efficiency; chemicals and advanced materials; information and communications technologies (ICT); green building; transportation and agriculture; and water and waste. The Cleantech Open’s Accelerator Program will get people funded,” Westfield said, “However there is a vetting process.” Applications are accepted from now until May 1. Selected participants are announced in mid-May. The 16-week program is held July through October, during which time a multitude of activities prepare participants for the finals. At the Global Forum in November a winner is announced. The winning start-up/entrepreneur receives a $200,000 cash award. The accelerator program will provide training, funding opportunities, infrastructure and build relationships. Criterion for consideration includes suitability, strength of idea, commitment and business viability. Programs can benefit students, possible entrepreneurs, and people moving into the area from elsewhere or anyone with an idea. Dragonfly Energy from Reno, Nev. is a success story. “They came away with $2.5 million in promised funding. You can do this too,” Westfield said. He recommends that people “be different, be tenacious and build a team.” For more information: email@example.com. Visit http://www.2cleantechopen.org.