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UC Davis Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy Accelerating Successful Start-Ups in Sustainability
[June 28, 2010]

UC Davis Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy Accelerating Successful Start-Ups in Sustainability

DAVIS, Calif. --(Business Wire)--

At the invitation of the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship, nearly 50 scientists, researchers and engineers from more than 20 universities have gathered this week for a series of seminars and workshops on how to launch a successful green-tech company. All of the sessions at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Research in Incline Village are open to the media.

The fourth annual Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy includes a Tuesday morning session with John Bissell, a UC Davis and academy alumnus, who started Micromidas, a West Sacramento-based company that converts carbon found in organic wastewater into biodegradable, recyclable bioplastics. Most plastic products today are petrochemical based and difficult to recycle.

Bissell will share his experience in starting a new venture based on green technology research. On Friday, attendees will present commercialization strategies to a panel of investors and corporate partners, providing a unique opportunity to gain insight and perspective from investors and corporate partners, such as Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; Chevron (News - Alert) Corp.; Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Menlo Park-based venture capital firm; and Nth Power, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focused on energy technology.

The academy, which runs from today until Friday, July 2, is taught by leading experts from top venture capital and law firms, UC Davis and other research institutions.

"Our biggest impact is to foster these network relationships connecting researchers with investors, big companies, utilities and the public sector. This has been a big missing piece in the puzzle of getting innovation out of the labs," said Andrew Hargadon, director of the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship.

Hargadon, a professor who holds he Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, is one of the nation's foremost experts on entrepreneurship and management of technology innovation. He wrote the book, How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth about How Companies Innovate.

Since 2007, more than 420 scientists, engineers and business students from universities worldwide have attended the Center for Entrepreneurship's 12 academies - including green technology and food and health. In the process, more than two dozen companies have been launched or supported, with more in the pipeline.

This week's participants - graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty working in a wide range of science and engineering fields - come to the green technology academy with a wealth of knowledge and work on cutting-edge, sustainable technologies.

The academy's faculty is drawn from the Northern California venture capital and angel investor community, including CalCEF Clean Energy (News - Alert) Angel Fund, DFJ Element, DCM, Physic Ventures and Sierra Angels. Attorneys from Morrison & Foerster and DLA Piper also will be on hand.

Guest entrepreneurs include Professor Paul Hudnut of Colorado State University, a co-founder of Envirofit International, Ltd, a company that makes clean cook-stoves; and Bissell, whose company, Micromidas, recently raised $3.6 million in its first major round of financing.

"The network that we developed from the 2008 academy has been absolutely instrumental in developing our company," said Bissell. "Two years down the road, I still keep in touch with our academy mentor on a weekly basis. He has been key in helping us secure partnerships and scale our business."

In addition to Chevron and PG&E (News - Alert), major sponsors include the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization and the National Institute of Environmental Sciences' Superfund Research Program. Additional support is provided by the Sierra Angels and Sierra Nevada College.

For more information:

About the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management serves as a springboard for innovations developed in university and corporate research programs. The center's research focuses on developing effective practices for early-stage innovation and entrepreneurship; its educational programs blend effective theory with hands-on exercises to help participants create solution-specific innovations and individual action plans. Through academic programs including the UC Davis MBA entrepreneurship concentration, the Business Development Fellows program for graduate science and engineering researchers, and several entrepreneurship academies, the center provides science, engineering and business students the knowledge and networks that are critical to successful innovation.

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