Cleantech Entrepreneurship: From Seed to Start-Up to Seasoned Enterprise

The U.S. Department of Energy’s second annual ACC Clean Energy Business Plan Challenge will arrive at NC State next week and the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster is putting an amazing team of companies on the court to help host the student teams and judge the competition.

Cleantech Cluster companies SiemensSchneider ElectricSensusABBPower Analytics and Duke Energy will be hanging around the hoop to judge morning and afternoon rounds of clean energy biz plans from ten student teams from ACC schools.  The winning team will receive $100,000 to back their venture!

As the judges deliberate the final score, RTCC Managing Director Lee Anne Nance will moderate a panel entitled “Cleantech Entrepreneurship: From Seed to Start-Up to Seasoned Enterprise.”

Cleantech definitely has a home court advantage in the Research Triangle Region.   Our panelists represent the full spectrum of cleantech entrepreneurship from clean water to smart power.  And, impressively, they all got their start right here in the region.

Scott Bolin, CEO of seed company Tethis, will discuss how his water management company launched from a lab at NC State less than a year ago.  Tethis is developing super-absorbent biodegradable foams to treat highly concentrated brine wastewater.

Bob Kingery, co-founder and CEO of Southern Energy Management, a fast growing gazelle headquartered in Morrisville, will talk about how his company is on a mission to reduce carbon emissions and build up according to the triple-bottom-line. Can you say alley-op?!

John Bluth is a Senior VP at PowerSecure International, an RTCC founding board member company headquartered in Wake Forest.  His company has been driving towards the goal with energy and smart grid solutions for electric utilities and their commercial, institutional and industrial customers.

Our panel will also include RTCC founding board member Tim Fairchild, Director of the Global Utilities Practice at SAS Institute. SAS is the world leader in advanced analytics (the science and practice of turning big data into meaningful information) and analytics have an ever-expanding role in the utility sector.  Tim will talk shop and also tell the tale of how SAS grew from an office at NC State to a beautiful sprawling campus in Cary.

The ACC Challenge is celebrating student entrepreneurs.  In that spirit, Rachele Haber-Thomson, an Impact Fellow at Investors Circle, will also join the panel to talk about how supporting institutions like hers can help build the investing ecosystem around the cleantech sector. 

Does the Research Triangle Region have a lot to share with cleantech student-entrepreneurs from the across the Southeast?  We’d say it’s a slam dunk.

You can join the fun, too.  Link to register for the ACC Challenge here.

Author: Christa Wagner Vinson, Program Manager, Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster

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