The individual capstone projects are a major component of the Cleantech Fellows Institute. Fellows’ capstone projects are the basis for new cleantech companies. In its inaugural year, the Fellows Institute introduced five capstone business-planning projects, resulting in two seed-stage companies and one nonprofit. Three of the capstone projects are based on leading-edge technologies discovered at NREL, NCAR, and CU-Boulder.
Fellows are responsible for either forming teams during the first month of the program, or determining to work on their own, and selecting one or more projects to pursue by the end of the month. A project may consist of a complete business concept or critical components of a business plan such as a market entry strategy, a market analysis or another substantial deliverable. Projects may be related to innovations in research, potential spin-outs, business concepts in development, companies in venture development, or significant business strategy issues to be explored.
The Institute provides Fellows with unprecedented access to a range of resources that will help ensure capstone projects are based on promising emerging technologies available. These resources include the insights of top notch VC’s investing in the cleantech industry; access to scientists and the technology transfer offices of NREL, Colorado’s top research universities, and other Colorado based government laboratories; guidance provided by experienced
mentors; and the deep knowledge base of established, leading cleantech companies.
Given the high caliber of the Fellows admitted to the Institute, and the amount of support they will receive while selecting a project, we have very high expectations for the capstone projects. A primary goal of the Institute is that the best capstone projects emerge from the Institute as viable companies led by one or more Fellows. Significant effort will go into promoting this result, making this an extraordinarily attractive opportunity for seasoned entrepreneurs to enter the cleantech industry.