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Skidmore College

New program to prepare executives to launch clean-tech start-ups

November 18, 2013
Cathy Hill
Catherine Hill discusses the new
institute with
WNYT reporter Mark

Skidmore will launch a new program to encourage the creation of clean-energy companies by teaching experienced business professionals about energy efficiency, renewable energy and opportunities for new ventures, it was announced today at a press conference held at the Tang Museum.

Skidmore’s program, the New York Executive Clean Energy Leadership Institute (NY EXCEL), is expected to lead to business creation and job growth in upstate New York. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing $400,000 to support NY EXCEL. Skidmore will partner with the Syracuse Center of Excellence, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the New York Battery and Energy Storage Consortium, and the Pace Energy and Climate Center for this effort.

“With the launch of the NY EXCEL program, the State is fostering the growth of its clean-energy economy by working with experienced business and investment professionals who have the insight and expertise in creating new cleantech business ventures,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “The expansion of New York’s cleantech economy under Governor Cuomo is supported by the strong partnerships that have been established between business, academia and the public sector. These collaborations are providing innovative approaches to meeting the demands of the State’s clean energy sector.”

Philip A. Glotzbach
Skidmore President Philip A. Glotzbach
welcomed the media and guests.

“We are grateful for the confidence that NYSERDA has placed in Skidmore and our partner institutions,” said Skidmore College President Philip A. Glotzbach. “The New York Executive Clean Energy Leadership Institute will educate experienced executives on how to start and run successful energy efficiency and clean-energy companies in the state, which will increase the number of clean energy entrepreneurs, create well-paying jobs in our communities and help address one of the most significant long-term challenges facing our nation and the world.”

The NY EXCEL program will combine one-on-one learning with structured opportunities for network development and individualized mentoring. Skidmore will develop the content and oversee the program. Business and clean-energy experts from across the state will present content and act as mentors for participants.

Spearheaded by Catherine Hill, F. William Harder Professor of Business Administration, the program kicks off in August 2014 with an intensive 30-hour classroom summer residency on the Skidmore campus. Participants will then participate in five weekend visits to some of the State’s most important cleantech assets, such as wind farms, solar installations and manufacturers of clean technology materials or products. The participants will also be required to develop a capstone project – a business plan to start a cleantech business in New York. Participants will be required to present their capstone projects to investors at the final capstone workshop.

Mentors with experience in the type of business the participant is starting will be assigned to each participant or project. All classes, visits, panels, discussions and the NY EXCEL website will be designed to help participants build a robust network in the cleantech sector.

The new institute's logo.

"We live in an exciting time for cleantech businesses," said Hill. "NY EXCEL will awaken its students to the potential of new markets and inspire them to start businesses to make the changes necessary to grow jobs in New York and, perhaps, change the world."

The Skidmore program is one of a number of NYSERDA programs dedicated to growing cleantech business in the state. For four years, NYSERDA has funded six cleantech incubators in Stony Brook, New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. These incubators have worked with 119 client companies, raising private capital of nearly $100 million, creating 89 new products and 292 new jobs.


NYSERDA also funds the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program (EIR), which links seasoned business leaders with early stage cleantech businesses that can benefit from mentoring. Companies working with EIRs have created a total of nearly 100 jobs in more than three years.

In addition, NYSERDA recently launched Proof of Concept Centers at High Tech Rochester, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Columbia University to help clean-energy scientists and researchers turn conceptual ideas into commercial products.

Follow and participate in the social conversation around the new program on Twitter with @NYEXCEL.

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