Training Next Gen Entrepreneurs

Training Next Gen Entrepreneurs

Project Premise

Entrepreneurial endeavors are a vital part of our economic traditions. Entrepreneurs helped this country to become an industrialized nation and the economic leader that we are today. Entrepreneurialism has been, and remains an important part of the American Dream. Our Bay Area regional economy is driven by entrepreneurs designing the next generation of technology. Google, Apple, Oracle, Intel, Tesla, Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, Adobe, EA, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Pandora, Genentech, YouTube and Zynga are all examples of companies that started here and continue to define the Bay Area as a global center of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit.

However, our race to innovate and build wealth has not been without problems. The endless consumption encouraged by American culture has brought many consequences which we are now forced to address. Global warming due to an over-reliance on fossil fuels is a global concern with more violent weather patterns emerging and sea levels on the rise. Our ground water is increasingly polluted and our fresh water resources in many areas of the world are drying up. Additionally, there exist large areas of the world where new technologies, processes and services are essential to address widespread environmental degradation. New entrepreneurs and new ideas are needed to usher in a new way of doing business that respects our planet and its resources while simultaneously meeting the needs of our growing global population. We are at a time of boundless opportunity for those with the ideas, knowledge and work ethic to change the world.

Project Challenge

During this project you and your team will develop a company and create a plan to bring a product to market. However, the product(s) you design must be intended to make the world a better place. Your energies should be on developing products that address our environmental issues, solve problems with waste and inefficiency, meet our increasing demand for power, or make our lives safer and healthier. The rules for developing products, as well as some examples of these industries follow:

All products or services developed by student teams:

  • must have an environmental, health/ safety, or positive social benefit compared to current products and services performing the similar tasks.
  • cannot include weapons of any kind.
  • may be marketed to consumers, businesses, or government.
  • must contain elements to create barriers to entry for other companies.
  • must be one of the following: 1) new technology, 2) an original combination of existing technology, or 3) a new application of existing technology
  • should increase efficiency and decrease waste with respect to current methods

CleanTech Industrial Sectors

The concept of CleanTech embraces a diverse range of products, services, and processes across various industries designed to 1) Provide superior performance at lower costs 2) Greatly reduce or eliminate negative ecological impact, and 3) Improve the productive and responsible use of natural resources.

  • Energy Generation – wind, solar, biofuels, etc.
  • Energy Storage – fuel cells, advanced batteries, hybrid tech, etc.
  • Energy Infrastructure – energy transmission and distribution
  • Energy Efficiency – lighting, building, glass, electric components, etc.
  • Transportation – vehicles, infrastructure, fuels
  • Water & Wastewater – water treatment and conservation, waste water treatment, etc.
  • Air & Environment – emissions control, cleanup, monitoring, etc.
  • Materials – nanotech, biomaterials, building materials, etc.
  • Manufacturing – advanced packaging, efficiency, smart production, etc.
  • Agriculture & Nutrition – natural pesticides and herbicides, aquaculture, etc.
  • Recycling & Waste Management


LOHAS stands for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability and encompasses a broad range of consumer goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. LOHAS Market Sectors:

  • Personal Health – natural/organic products, nutritional products, dietary supplements, etc.
  • Green Building – sustainable flooring, renewable energy systems, wood alternatives, energy efficient appliances, etc.
  • Eco Tourism – eco-tourism and eco-adventure traveling
  • Natural Lifestyles – apparel, indoor & outdoor furnishings, organic cleaning supplies, efficient lighting, etc.

Other important product categories

  • Health, safety, aging, teaching & learning, assistive devices

Plans, Fairs, Presentations and Competition

Creating a sustainable business and positive product for the planet is only part of your problem. As a start up company you will need to seek money and investors:

1) You will write a compelling business plan showing the potential marketability and profitability of your product, create marketing materials and television commercials that will bring it attention. This document outlines your entire strategy for creating and selling your product as well as providing financial projections and an environmental impact analysis.

2) You will create an effective trade show presentation to bring in small investors.

3) Finally, you will present all of this to our panel of venture capitalists to get the millions of dollars or virtual funding available to top team in the competition.

At the Innovation Fair, all companies will compete before judges from the business community. This high energy showcase of your talents will crown the winning companies in this year’s competition. The evening begins with an investor’s fair during which companies will hustle the crowd for virtual investments. Each attendee of the fair receives $50,000 in virtual cashier’s checks to invest as they see fit. Competition for those investment dollars will be intense. In addition, there will be several anonymous “million dollar investors” circulating – secure investments from them and you’ll go a long way towards winning the investor fair competition.

The Innovation Fair culminates with the finals of the Business Plan Competition in which the 5 top companies present their company on stage before the audience and vie for the overall competition title before our panel of venture capitalists.

To make it to the finals companies will have to be strong in the three major areas of the competition.

  1. Score based on the quality of your business plan and deliverables – scored by your instructors
  2. Score based on the quality of your preliminary business plan presentations – scored by the mentor team
  3. Total amount of investment money your team raises during the Tech Expo segment of the Innovation Fair – “scored” by the all of the guest investors

The five companies with the highest overall combined scores in these three areas will move to the finals and a chance at winning the overall title.

This project represents a semester long journey through the world of business and economics. It will be hard. It will be fun. It will test your mettle. It will show you through authentic experiences the kinds of success awaiting those willing to put in the time, effort and work to be great. The remaining pages of the wiki provide the details and instructions for each component of the project to get you and your team to the finish line.

Good luck!