Steve Berens is one of the Cleantech Fellows Institute’s invaluable Department Heads, leading the Capstone Project team. We asked Steve to share his thoughts about the program.
You know the startup and entrepreneur environment very well. How do you feel about the cleantech startup market given today’s economic pressures?
I’m excited by the amount and variety of unique, market-worthy opportunities currently being considered as part of the cleantech fellows program. I believe the contributing institutions, up-and-down Colorado’s front range, have exciting and innovative technologies that can make economic and social impact. Today’s economic realities require that each of the Fellows’ technologies be evaluated on their own merits. The Fellows are approaching these opportunities by looking intently at the feasibility of projects that survive without government or grant funding and deliver strong ROI to their customers.
What drew you to the Cleantech Fellows Institute?
I was initially drawn to the Cleantech Fellows Institute by the passion and capability of the founding team. Their commitment and dedication to bringing a strong program to Colorado was evident. I am continuously impressed by their ability to bring a wide variety of clean technologies and real opportunities to Fellows who want to join or expand the cleantech industry in Colorado. It is exciting to see the progress in the unique opportunities that are being pursued. It has been an honor to be a part of the team.
What do you think the single greatest benefit of the Institute might be for the Fellows?
I believe the single greatest benefit of the Institute might be in its name itself; the fellowship that is being formed between the Fellows and the contributors to the program is truly evident. The fact that these individuals are able to expand their networks and build the foundation for more successful business ventures going forward will serve each participant and the program well.
You are heavily involved in CU Cleantech. How do you think programs such as the Fellows Institute and CU Cleantech benefit Colorado’s cleantech industry as a whole?
I believe that any opportunity to shine a light on Colorado’s cleantech ecosystem is the most important thing that we can do to assure the sustainability of our industry. Together, Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, the Cleantech Fellows Institute and organizations such as CU Cleantech are accomplishing that goal.
Any tips you’d like to share for cleantech entrepreneurs?
I would encourage cleantech entrepreneurs to find the support and the ecosystem that has been developed from programs like the Cleantech Fellows Institute. It will greatly improve their opportunity for success in a complex market like cleantech.