I had the good fortune of running into a wise man this week. We talked about the shared and widespread feeling of self doubt among entrepreneurs. Doubt in business is real and exists in spades, but there are also other positive emotions that correspond with running a venture.
The general perception is that people who opt to work or run startups are adventurers that possess a high degree of joie de vivre even though the work can be challenging. This isn’t necessarily true. According to a recent 2012 Gallup poll on entrepreneurs and stress, “entrepreneurs are slightly more likely than other workers to report experiencing stress a lot of the day ‘yesterday’– 45% vs. 42%. They are also slightly more likely than other U.S. workers to say they worried a lot of the day “yesterday”– 34% vs. 30%.”
While these numbers don’t seem like much, I’m sure those in the stressed percentile will argue otherwise. The upside of the data collected is that entrepreneurs feed their intellectual curiosity more often and have a stronger sense of optimism – 30% to 25%. After years of working with entrepreneurs and then becoming one, it’s true that we all swim in a mixture of doubt (not too often!), optimism and curiosity. We’re also a tenacious bunch.
The wise man gave me something to ponder this week and I think him for it: If you get up on a surfboard and look down, then a tumble to the water is inevitable. However, if you get up on the board and fix a stare on the horizon, the likelihood of falling decreases exponentially.
To all the entrepreneurs out there, you are not alone and be sure keep an eye on the horizon.
1776 was the year of our independence and also makes a great name for the newest technology incubator in DC. The crew at 1776, alumni of the Startup America Partnership, are moving forward with a vision that DC can build and maintain a significant startup presence in this region and on the East Coast. Local incubator Fortify, will be moving in to the space along with a few other anchor startups. DC has struggled to carve out a name in the world of urban technology hubs. Where Silicon Alley in New York got plenty of brand spotlight, others including DC have struggled. With the 1776 announcement there is renewed hope for a stronger voice in the venture and startup worlds.
Kudos to the Alliance to Save Energy and National Grid for their leadership around energy efficiency and inspiring renewed interest in generating real commitments from the public and private sectors around their #Energy2030 campaign. Rallying around energy efficiency measures are former Governor George Pataki of New York and Senator Mark Warner (VA). If adopted, the plan will do the following:
- Add 1.3 million jobs;
- Cut average household energy costs by more than $1,000 a year;
- Save American businesses $169 billion a year;
- Increase GDP by up to 2%;
- Decrease energy imports by more than $100 billion a year; and
- Reduce CO2 emissions by one-third.
Part of the plan is to embrace cleaner technologies that will help mitigate carbon while getting smart about our current energy solutions. We look forward to hearing progress on this issue.
Trying to translate the corporate world into public affairs? Think of Congress as the CEO, staff as the sales/marketing team, influencers as potential funders and constituents as investors. Works every time.
What happens when an organization invests thousands of dollars and man hours into unique and potentially newsworthy projects but doesn’t invest in PR? Nothing.
Congratulations to all the semifinalist teams that participated in this year’s Cleantech Open Mid-Atlantic competition and accelerator program. The Gaia team rolled up their sleeves to spearhead marketing and PR around the year long event. This month’s gala reception was the culmination of everyone’s hard work from steering committee to competition participants.
We’ve had a good run with opinion pieces this summer! The latest to press is the International Code Council’s piece in the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The piece tackles stronger building codes and enforcement on the eve Hurricane Andrew’s 20th anniversary. Read more at the Sun Sentinel.
Gaia Group is pleased to work with the distributed and community wind industry to help advocate on behalf of small businesses and communities across the country. Today’s op-ed by (Ret.) General Wesley K. Clark in the Des Moines Register is an example of advocacy at its best.
To read the op-ed click here.
The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment has bestowed the honor of member of the month on Gaia’s founder, Laura Taylor. In the Q&A format, Laura discusses the meaning of Gaia and the journey to being her own boss. Find out more about Laura and Gaia.
Cleantech Open Mid-Atlantic Region Announces 17 Business Competition Semi-Finalists
17 semi-finalists from Mid-Atlantic region selected to compete in the world’s biggest and most successful cleantech business competition
Washington, D.C. May 31, 2012: The Cleantech Open Mid-Atlantic Region (www.cleantechopen.com) announced the selection of 17 companies (“semi-finalists”) to compete at the regional level in the 2012 Cleantech Open national business competition and Accelerator Program. The companies were selected from an elite group of cleantech entrepreneurs that applied from across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. The semi-finalists are representative of applications from a region that includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“We are thrilled to recognize the outstanding achievements made by the Mid-Atlantic semi-finalists who were selected from an increasingly competitive and innovative group of entrants,” said Joshua Greene, regional director of the Cleantech Open, and partner and deputy chair of the Energy and Environment Practice at Washington-based Patton Boggs LLP. “These 17 innovators are working to address our most critical environmental and energy issues. We look forward to their participation in the Program and Competition, through which they will become investment ready and use the Cleantech Open platform to showcase their business solutions to thousands of potential supporters, funders and partners.”
Benefits for the regional finalist (e.g. winner of the Regional Final) include a “Startup in a Box” prize package that consists of combined cash and in-kind services worth up to $20,000. The winning Mid-Atlantic regional company will join other regional winners from across the United States to contend for the prestigious national title at the Cleantech Open’s Global Forum on November 8-9, 2012 in California and a chance to secure the grand prize of up to $250,000 in investment and services.
Details on each of the winning companies, by category, for the Mid Atlantic include:
Air, Water, & Waste
Altenera, North Bethesda, MD
Turbine-less wind energy harvesting
ArkFab, Atlanta, GA
Sustainable urban farming for curing food deserts in the inner cities of America
CCEIS, Falls Church, VA
Compliance partners for the construction industry
EcoQuip’s EQ Crew, Virginia Beach, VA
HybriSorb, Bethlehem, PA
Water treatment solutions for developing economies
Micronic, Sterling, VA
Water desalination and purification
Montana Biopolymers, Winnsboro, SC
Biopolymers to replace petrochemicals
Aquicore, Washington, DC
The complete toolkit for energy efficiency – Measure, Compare, and Act on energy consumption
Melon, Washington, DC
Energy star benchmarking made easy
SaveBigBread, McLean, VA
FREE, easy way for homeowners to find and complete home improvement projects at deep discounts
Sustainable Systems International, Gaithersburg, MD
Solar powered infrastructure
Agira Inc., Baltimore, MD
Solar modules with smart optics
Northern Lights, Virginia Beach, VA
Energy harvesting technology
Sun Edge, Bear, DE
Inexpensive Rooftop Solar Technology
Triea Systems, Bethesda, MD
Low Cost Renewable Heat and Cold
Mesdi Systems, Orlando, FL
Precision manufacturing for lithium-ion batteries
V2 Energy, Frederick, MD
Making real the promise of green energy
Cleantech Open Sponsors
The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by our Global Partner, Chevron; National Education Partner, University of Phoenix; and National Sponsor, Wells Fargo. Regional competitions are additionally sponsored by the following corporate partners: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati (multi-region), Deloitte (multi-region), Jones Lang Lasalle (multi-region), The Dow Chemical Company (multi-region), PricewaterhouseCoopers (multi-region), Walmart, Commercial Energy, Faegre & Benson, Google, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Mintz Levin, Patton Boggs, PG&E, Reed Smith, and many others.
About The Cleantech Open
The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech accelerator and is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs and technologists the resources needed to launch a successful cleantech company. Our mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Over the past seven years, the Cleantech Open has awarded over $5 million in cash and services. During that time, our 581 alumni companies have raised more than $660 million in external funding. Fueled by a network of more than 2,000 volunteers, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit www.cleantechopen.org, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Media contact: Laura Taylor, Gaia Group PR, 571-257-7108, email@example.com