"What a fantastic event. This is exactly what a university should be doing in Marin County. It represents so much of what we want to do at Dominican," President Marcy said. "The Venture Greenhouse gives the means to individuals and to ideas to do something more in the world than we can do individually. The idea of an incubator and a greenhouse is perfect."
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 four clients have since joined the accelerator. 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.
"I love the notion that we are going to provide the infrastructure," President Marcy said. "We, as a university, have certain expertise. We have access to further expertise. We have student energy. Ultimately, you have the idea that together we're going to do something that perhaps hasn't been done before. We can make a difference.
"We provide enough infrastructure and exposure to ideas that you can, with a great concept, move that into something in the world that does attract resources and does start to change the way in which we live in the world. It is exactly what I think Dominican should be doing."
ICompanies 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.
"It's really exciting to involve the community and the town much broader," said Lynelle Cameron, Director of Sustainability at Autodesk, who was the keynote speaker at the October 5 grand opening. "I really hope a Venture Greenhouse like this can become a model for other universities but also the collaboration between the university and the town which is truly is remarkable. As a San Rafael resident I'm extremely proud of the effort that's happening here."
Venture Greenhouse was founded by John Stayton, Director of Venture Greenhouse, and Stuart Corvin, a local businessman who was formerly the owner of Cal Steam Supply.
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.
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.
Media Contact: Sarah Gardner, Director, Communications & Research, email@example.com, 415-485-3239.