The "Venture Greenhouse" will stage an opening celebration on October 5 from 5:30-8 p.m. Call 415-482-3577 for more details. The VG is located at 30 Castro Avenue, a commercial zone in San Rafael. The 5,000-square-foot VG eventually will house up to 12 companies at a time, with the goal of graduating companies within one year.
The VG currently is working with three “beta clients” and is accepting applications for an additional four clients. An information session was held April 20 for those interested in applying for June 1 admission.
“The Venture Greenhouse will enable a network of enterprises, professionals and partners to contribute to vibrant and sustainable economic development for Marin County and the North Bay,” says VG Director John Stayton.
The VG will provide its clients with desk space in the open floor-plan office; Internet access; shared facilities including private office, conference room, larger meeting room, and office equipment; coaching by GreenMBA faculty and community professionals; access to professional services; project support from MBA students; collaborative opportunities with fellow clients and other enterprises; and access to possible funding sources.
The VG is one of a kind, notes Stayton.
“We are a non-profit, early stage accelerator. We will help people develop their great ideas and launch their businesses,” says Stayton. “Most business incubators serve businesses that have already launched. These incubators help companies move from one phase of business to another phase, but we help the company get off the ground.”
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 VG. 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.
The three “beta clients” were admitted in February. The problems current and prospective client companies are working on include reducing carbon emissions through efficient LED lighting and maintaining solar power plants, and reducing plastic waste while protecting children's health through ecologically and socially conscientious lunch ware.
Stayton was GreenMBA Program Director for eight years. He is also a sustainable enterprise consultant and a doctoral candidate at Grenoble Ecole de Management.
The leadership team also includes Paul Bozzo and Stuart Corvin. Bozzo’s professional background combines more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial strategy, angel/venture capital financing, SBA lending and business planning. He is the founder and principal of the 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.
Corvin was owner and CEO of Cal Steam Supply from 1990-2007, during which time he 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.
For more information, log onto http://venturegreenhouse.org/.