â€œThe nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. â€œ This is what President Obama said in his recent State of the Union address. Building the clean energy economy is not easy. Entrepreneurs have to start building businesses, investors will have to understanding them and professionals will have to get excited about the opportunities.
Transitioning to a cleantech economy means creating an entirely new entrepreneurial ecosystem. TiE Bangalore, CIIE and New Ventures India collaborated in hosting the Cleantech Mentoring Workshop in Bangalore, Indiaâ€™s original entrepreneurial city.
The workshop focused on helping entrepreneurs starting greentech companies connect with seasoned entrepreneurs who have invested in and built (mainly IT and consumer) companies and professionals who are getting excited about opportunities in start ups in this sector.
The first take away of the workshop was this: Innovative ideas in the greentech sector are around. The organizers had been careful in screening businesses that showed substantial traction and even then there were 17 companies who presented their business ideas to an audience of seasoned mentors and experienced professionals. The key sectors covered were renewable energy (solar thermal & PV biomass), energy efficiency, recycling, organic farming, water, micro hydro and green building materials.
Most gratifying, however, was the participation of professionals willing to help out greentech entrepreneurs. I counted more than 20 of them who came up to stage and introduced themselves. Given that it was Bangalore, there were several â€œstart upâ€ consultants who provided services around finance, accounts, IP and marketing and who had lots of experience in working with start ups. There was also one person who provided power point presentation training. But there was also participation from folks working in Wipro, IBM and Infosys who had come to understand how their companies and they themselves could plug into an emerging business. And then there were folks from Indiaâ€™s premier institutions â€“ ISB and IIMs â€“ who had come there just to volunteer their services to anybody who needed them.
And of course there were the investors and mentors Bangalore is so famous for. There was Mohanjit Jolly, Pavan Krishnamurthy and Anand Daniel, who has just joined the community. But there were others equally passionate about start ups: Murlidhar of Merittrac, Sathya of Collbrant, Nandini Vaidyanathan of Start ups, Rajeev Goswami of Shore Consulting, Pavan Soni of Wipro and â€œKimiâ€ Krishnaraj, who was already involved in mentoring one of the companies that presented.
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It looks like there is a momentum to build green businesses in Bangalore. But we have to do this city by Indian city. If you are a green business owner or an aspiring green professional please do send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can participate in one of the New Ventures India workshops.