Skidmore College is launching a state-funded program aimed at teaching experienced business professionals about renewable energy ventures with the hope of creating clean-energy companies.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is providing Skidmore $400,000 to support the New York Executive Clean Energy Leadership Institute, which aims to spur both job creation and business growth in the upstate region. Skidmore will be joined in the effort by the Syracuse Center of Excellence, Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, the New York Battery and Energy Storage Consortium in Albany and the Pace Energy and Climate Center in White Plains.
“With the launch of the NY EXCEL program, the state is fostering the growth of its clean-energy economy by working with experienced business and investment professionals who have the insight and expertise in creating new clean-tech business ventures,” said John Rhodes, the authority’s president and chief executive officer. “These collaborations are providing innovative approaches to meeting the demands of the state’s clean-energy sector.”
The program will combine one-on-one learning with structured opportunities for networking among leaders in the clean-energy industry. Skidmore College will develop the content and oversee the program, while business and clean-energy experts from across the state will act as mentors for participants.
“The New York Executive Clean Energy Leadership Institute will educate experienced executives on how to start and run successful energy efficiency and clean-energy companies in the state, which will increase the number of clean-energy entrepreneurs, create well-paying jobs in our communities and help address one of the most significant long-term challenges facing our nation and the world,” Skidmore College President Philip Glotzbach said in a news release.
Skidmore officials anticipate the program launching in August with 30 hours of classroom work and residency on the campus in Saratoga Springs. Participants will make five weekend visits to some of the state’s clean-technology assets — ranging from wind farms to manufacturers of clean-technology materials.
The program will require participants to develop a business plan to start a clean-technology business in the state. These plans will then be pitched to prospective investors at the program’s final workshop.
Experienced mentors will be assigned to each participant or project. All classes, visits, panels and discussions will be designed to help participants build a robust network in the clean-technology sector.
The program will join a number of clean-technology business incubators NYSERDA has already established. Over the past four years, NYSERDA has funded six programs that have worked with 119 client companies and raised nearly $100 million in private capital. The initiative has led to the creation of 89 new products and 292 new jobs.