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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Starting a Business and Keeping it Green

Million of college students studying business dream of starting up a company that one day makes its way to the Fortune 500. Unfortunately, not many make it that far, but at UMass Boston the resources exist that can help striving entrepreneurs and inventers get their start.

On March 2, the Venture Development Center on campus, together with the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, sponsored a day-long event for helping students, faculty and any interested party learn how to succeed in business and entrepreneurship specifically related to clean energy.

Invention to Venture, a group that gives workshops in entrepreneurship know-how, stopped by that day with important help, information and expert advice that they could impart upon young businesspeople.

Much of the event also focused on tricks and tips on how to succeed in a competition they are sponsoring called Ignite Clean Energy. Contestants will offer various business plans for potential companies. The company must in some way contribute to the reduction of fossil fuel consumption and winners will share a portion of a $150,000 prize.

“I2V day was hands down one the more helpful events I have been to-period,” MBA student Alex Forse said. Forse has thrown his hat in the ring with a business plan for a company called U-tility, the first asset-less green electrical utility in the world.

The company will “increase Massachusetts’s leadership in renewable energy,” according to Forse.

“It will operate as a virtual platform that allows residential and commercial solar and wind owners to effortlessly maximize the return on their investment by monitoring their efficiencies, trading their Renewable Energy Credits (REC), and leveraging their collective power to sell clean and safe energy to their fellow citizens,” Forse said of his company.

The Venture Development Center, the event’s on campus sponsor, is a group helping students and faculty take their ideas for new products, processes and research centers, and helps make them a reality.

The Center is still in the start-up phase, but has already done significant work with various groups on campus. Their first big project was a collaboration between the Department of Exercise and Health Sciences and Children’s Hospital Boston to create a new research facility to study obesity in children and promote healthy living through fitness.

The idea for a research facility was originally presented to Dean Glazer of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and to Provost Fonteyn by the Exercise and Health Sciences Department. The project was immediately endorsed, but the provost requested more information about how the research was to be funded and how money would be spent. At this point the VDC stepped in and helped create a business plan and work with CHB and UMass Boston to come up with how funds would be managed and sustained.

The project was hugely successful and the new research center will be opening on May 1.

VCD is ready and eager to work with any student, faculty or group on campus about how to develop a business plan and give advice as to how to start up one’s very own business or center.

The center is hoping to work with those “who really want to rock and roll, who really have good ideas,” VDC Director William Brah said.

“This is our mission. The more students who come to us, the happier we will be.” Brah added.

Five faculty members and 20 students attended the event. About three quarters of the students were MBA students, but there was also a strong showing of science and technology students.

The Venture Development Center hopes to continue to sponsor this kind of event in the future, especially if interest grows. Brah described the collaborations and efforts of the Venture Development Center as a personal priority of Chancellor Collins.

The center is funded by an appropriation given by the Massachusetts state legislature.

The Business School at UMass Boston was recently placed on the Fortune 50 list, a list of the top 50 business schools for getting hired and published by Fortune Magazine and CNN. Unfortunately, due to flaws in methodology resulting in the omission of UNC-Chapel Hill and Boston University business schools, the list has been removed from their websites and retracted.

About the Contributor
Taylor Fife served as the  for The Mass Media the following years: 2006-2007