California Energy Commission Funds Environmental Business Cluster

California Energy Commission Funds Environmental Business Cluster

San Jose State University says that its Environmental Business Cluster (EBC) was awarded a contract that will be worth $330,000 over the next year in new funding by the California Energy Commission to continue working with startup companies who focus on research and development for clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the California Energy Commission has relied on the EBC to help its grant recipients commercialize their technologies and bring new products to market.

"There's an incredible amount of attention and enthusiasm for clean and renewable energy from both the public and private sectors," said Jim Robbins, EBC executive director. "We work with entrepreneurs who start companies and have proven technology, but lack customers or financing.

"Our program is designed to assist in the creation of a commercialization plan while guiding the entrepreneur to remove the barriers to bringing their technology to market."

The EBC management team provides entrepreneurs with top-tier business development services and access to networks of industry specialists and investors. Staff and consultants work directly with each entrepreneur for up to one year providing help with market research, business and marketing plans, as well as preparation with investor and customer presentations.

"When the California Energy Commission initially funded this program in 2003 the goal was to take one or two companies to the marketplace," said Mary Sidney, chief operating officer at SJSU Foundation. "Within two years the EBC successfully brought 13 new companies to market."

The EBC was the first incubator for businesses that focuses on environmental products or services and is now the largest private incubator focused on clean and renewable energy. Since 1995 the EBC has graduated 90 companies whose technologies solve serious environmental problems including reliance on foreign oil.

Through a partnership with the City of San Jose Redevelopment Agency and SJSU Foundation, the downtown San Jose incubator typically works with 30 startup companies who are working on technologies to provide solutions including solar, wind, hydrogen, wave energy, energy efficiency and hybrid fuels.

"We have successfully created a collaborative and creative environment where entrepreneurs and innovators thrive, which has kept San Jose as a global center of innovation," said San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales. "San Jose and EBC are taking the lead in development in the emerging area of clean technology that will save energy and enhance the way we live, while strengthening our economic foundations."