Inspired by Dominican University of California’s MBA in Sustainable Enterprise (the GreenMBA), the Venture Greenhouse is a business development accelerator for social and environmental entrepreneurs, a learning laboratory for the University’s business students, and a community resource for innovators and new ventures.
The Venture Greenhouse opened in February with four “beta” clients. An additional three clients joined the accelerator this summer. The Venture Greenhouse will be accepting four new clients to move in on October 1. Clients remain in residence for a maximum of one year.
An accelerator is a form of business incubator with an intensive business development process that helps new ventures to achieve rapid growth and greater success in the marketplace.
“We are seeking early stage, scalable ventures with strong value propositions that address environmental and social issues,” said Venture Greenhouse Director John Stayton, who co-founded Dominican’s GreenMBA, the world’s first graduate program in sustainable business. “We want to grow companies that have the potential for significant impact on the issues they are addressing.”
Companies currently involved with the Venture Greenhouse focus on a wide variety of sustainable issues, including solar maintenance, biofuel, waste-to-energy, LED lighting, video production, employment coaching, and non-toxic lunchware.
Client companies pay a nominal monthly fee of $50 per person to help pay for utilities. Client companies can have a maximum of three people with offices in the facility. The Venture Greenhouse also may take equity stakes in client ventures. While some clients may continue to hold other jobs, their priority should be the creation of new employment for themselves and others with the launch of their enterprises. Selection criteria include companies focused on environmental and social impact and financial viability.
Venture Greenhouse was founded by Stayton and Stuart Corvin, a local businessman who was formerly the owner of Cal Steam Supply.
Stayton teaches the capstone Strategic Enterprise Planning course in the GreenMBA program, and has taught Organizational Behavior, Internet Marketing, Eco-Commerce Models, Systems Thinking and Sustainable Local Enterprises.
As owner and CEO of Cal Steam Supply from 1990-2007, Corvin expanded the business from a single location in San Francisco to 14 locations and 400 employees, making Cal Steam the dominant supplier of plumbing and mechanical products in Northern California.
Also on the management team is Paul Bozzo, founder and principal and ------ of 10X Consulting Group, a boutique consultancy specializing in working with scalable start-up and fast growth entrepreneurial ventures in the North Bay region of San Francisco. Bozzo has a professional background that combines more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial strategy, angel/venture capital financing, SBA lending and business planning.
“We’ve really built a strong foundation for growth since we joined the program in February,” said ECOlunchboxes.com Founder Sandra Ann Harris whose company is in the program. “There’s no question the Venture Greenhouse mentoring and support has helped take us to the next level in our business development. We are truly thankful for the opportunity.”
In addition to being a year-long accelerator program, Venture Greenhouse’s mission is to help generate jobs for Marin County, provide a learning laboratory for the university’s business students, and serve as community resource for innovators and new ventures.
“We have achieved remarkable success so far,” Stayton said. “Most of the ventures are now generating revenues. Some are already hiring. I’m really pleased that we are striking such a positive chord with our client companies and the community.”
Venture Greenhouse has established working relationships with Keiretsu Forum, North Bay Angels, Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster, Marin Economic Forum and regional economic development offices.
On October 12, the Venture Greenhouse and the Keiretsu Forum will host a Green Technology Investment Showcase from 1-6 p.m. The North Bay Green Technology Investment Showcase will feature eight early stage green technology companies that will present to 100 key attendees from the North Bay investment community. The Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster (iHub), a regional economic development collaborative, and the North Bay Angels, an angel investor group in the North Bay, will be joining the Showcase as partners.
For more information about the Venture Greenhouse, visit http://venturegreenhouse.org.
For more information about the North Bay Green Technology Investment Showcase, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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