Business, Eco-friendly, Green

5 Tips for Cleantech Entrepreneurs

Lazard George Bilicic
Lazard’s George Bilicic
Image: Chicago Business

“Cleantech” is a revolution that started just a few years ago, as rising entrepreneurs and seasoned businesspeople alike began realizing that the future of business needed to be greener. Keeping the environment in mind isn’t just helpful to Mother Nature; it’s also good for business.

Entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own cleantech companies have even more options today than they did even a few years ago. Alternative energy is a growing field, and one that has become more successful as time has gone on. Technology has advanced, meaning that going green is easier, too. Check out these great tips from Mike Ahearn (True North) and George Bilicic (Lazard) for starting a cleantech company:

True North Muchael Ahearn
True North’s Michael Ahearn
Image: True North

Consider all forms of alternative energy, from alternatively-fueled vehicles to biofuels to LED lighting to eco-friendly buildings.

Have a big idea, but start small. Begin with a single idea for how to get traction and cash flow. Once you see success, you can start expanding and making more of a difference.

Think global, act local. You may have an idea that you believe is viable on a global level. Start locally, stateside. After that, try and get involved in global markets with regulatory and political structures that will allow you to establish your company there.

Work with, not around, the public sector. When you’re dealing with cleantech, you’re going to have to deal with government regulations. Get in touch with the appropriate government entity and then work with them to expand your business.

Favor fundamental value creation over up rounds and exits. To see long-term success, you need to have values that constantly inform your business decisions, strategy, and direction. Don’t lose sight of that.

Lazard Ken Jacobs
Lazard CEO Ken Jacobs
Image: Bloomberg

Ahearn and Bilicic offer several other great tips for cleantech entrepreneurs in a video and transcript on Endeavor Global’s website, so be sure to check it out.

Mike Ahearn is the founder of True North Venture Partners, an investment firm that works with early stage businesses that “have the potential to transform, expand and lead global industries” such as energy, water, agriculture, and waste.

George Bilicic was formerly the Global Head of Power, Energy and Infrastructure for Lazard, an investment firm headed by Ken Jacobs. More recently, he was appointed to head up and reinvigorate Lazard’s Chicago offices, a post he began in August. 2013.


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