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'Green' Entrepreneurs Learn How to Get Research to Market

March 1, 2007

Researchers with projects holding promise for conserving energy and other natural resources will learn how to take their environmental solutions from the lab to the marketplace at a UC Davis program for entrepreneurs March 26 to 30 at Lake Tahoe.

The Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy, hosted by the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship, is at the forefront of an accelerating effort by universities to transform research into businesses that solve real-world problems.

"With the growing global environmental crisis, the need for practical solutions to energy and resource conservation has become a major issue," said Andrew Hargadon, director of the entrepreneurship center and the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center. "The challenge lies in translating environmentally sustainable technologies and research into viable business ventures."

About 35 participants -- science doctoral students, business students and professors from universities across the country -- will work under the guidance of UC Davis faculty, technology transfer experts, entrepreneurs and investors from environmental science and technology-based ventures.

Projects they bring with them will include those that could produce environmentally friendly packaging, improve inventory methods for forestlands, significantly reduce electricity usage for air conditioning and eliminate the use of drinking water for evaporative cooling.

The program will integrate lectures, exercises, team projects and informal fireside chats. Tracks will focus on clean energy; clean air, water and soil; sustainable agriculture; remediation; and sustainable materials.

Hargadon said students will learn to manage the dynamics of entrepreneurship, evaluate technology and market opportunities, pursue patent and licensing strategies, write business plans, manage interdisciplinary teams and find funding.

On March 28, the keynote address will be made by William Rosenzweig co-founder of Physic Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on health, wellness and sustainable living investments; and managing director of Great Spirit Ventures, a portfolio of health and wellness investments.

His speech, titled "How an Idea Becomes a Business," will discuss the entrepreneurial process by which purpose, passion and persistence help bring concepts to fruition and the ways entrepreneurs manage the creative tensions between visionary and pragmatic perspectives. Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki also will visit.

The five-day intensive academy is modeled after the UC Davis Graduate School of Management's yearlong and weeklong programs in which doctoral science students develop skills to commercialize research.

Hargadon, an associate professor in the management school and its director of technology studies, oversees the academy. A former design engineer for IDEO Product Development and Apple, he studies innovation and new product development. He is author of "How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate."

Academy sponsors include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the National Science Foundation, PG&E, Sierra Angels and the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment.

The academy will be held at the new Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences in Incline Village, Nev. A $24 million green building housing research and teaching programs, the facility is a collaboration of UC Davis and three other educational institutions.

The UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship, one of four centers at the UC Davis management school, serves as a nexus for entrepreneurship education and research and as a springboard for entrepreneurial initiatives, private equity and venture capital activities on the UC Davis campus.

For additional information, visit the academy's Web site at: http://entrepreneurship.ucdavis.edu/green/.

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