Six executives with business backgrounds have been selected by the University of Colorado’s CleanTech Program to help student entrepreneurs and federal researchers ready their projects for the commercial market.
Chosen to work with research teams in the Market Assessment Program are Andy Minden, former director of engineering at Sundrop Fuels Inc.; Raymond Johnson, former chief executive of Infinite Power Solutions, Littleton; Longmont; Eben Johnson, director of global sales and marketing at Vairex International Ltd., Boulder; Chuck Hodges, chief executive at Zebulon Solutions LLC, Berthoud; Jeff Probst, former chief executive of Blue Sun Energy, Golden; and Jack Mason, principal of Mason Energy and Management, Boulder.
Trent Yang, the program’s director, said mentors will receive an undisclosed stipend for their work. The program is housed at the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship in the CU-Boulder Leeds School of Business.
The mentor selections follow the news earlier this fall that CU- Boulder was selected as one of six recipients of $2 million in funding from the Department of Energy to create a network of student-focused cleantech regional competitions as part of a broader strategy to expand the nation’s renewable energy efforts.
Yang, who’s full title is director of the CU Cleantech Program at CU-Boulder at the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship in the Leeds School of Business, said the award reaffirmed the university as a leader in the commercialization and research of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
“Clean renewable energy is profoundly important for the next 20 to 50 years as we seek new ways to reduce our carbon footprints and our dependency on foreign oil,” Yang said.
“We’re in great company with the other universities who were selected as well. It’s a great opportunity for our students to be active participants and leaders in the next generation of cleantech companies coming out of the nation’s universities.”
CU-Boulder will focus its competition on the Western Midwest region, which includes Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. Students with cleantech business plans from these states will compete in this DOE-sponsored regional competition, which will work in conjunction with the university’s annual cross-campus business plan competition, New Venture Challenge.
The other awardees are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass.; University of Maryland in College Park, M.D.; Clean Energy Trust in Chicago; Rice University in Houston; and California Institute of Technology in Los Angeles. These academic institutions will host regional competitions to increase clean energy businesses coming out of universities and research labs, create a new generations of entrepreneurs to serve the nation’s energy mission, and elevate the nation as secure and strong leader in the global marketplace.
The funding will be distributed during a three-year period; winners of the regional competitions will receive $100,000 to start their businesses and go on to compete for a national grand prize at the Department of Energy competition in Washington, D.C., in May 2012. Students interested in participating in the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge should email email@example.com.
“We are immensely pleased that CU-Boulder has been selected as a host for this DOE-sponsored competition,” says Paul Jerde, director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business.