Networking your way into CleanTech
Last week, Steve shared his thoughts on online social networking – something he believes “allows for a wider understanding, access and appreciation of what’s happening” in our industry. If you’re an avid online networker (or want to become one), join in the discussion, and let us know what you think. Of course, offline social networking continues to exist in parallel, and maybe it’s the more effective way after all… Meeting in person has a big advantage over meeting virtually – only physical interaction tells you if you really like somebody. While you can easily exchange information on the internet, talking to somebody face-to-face usually leaves a bigger mark (both on you and your counterpart). At the end of the day, we like to share experiences and thoughts – not necessarily in a chat room, but ideally over a cup of coffee.
“Network, network, network. Find a local cleantech-related professional networking organization (for example, here in the Bay Area there is the Renewable Energy Business Network – REBN), attend cleantech-related events, and make contact with people that you know who are already involved in the industry and can keep an eye out for opportunities that may fit you. Most jobs and consulting opportunities will come to you through someone else, who happened to know you were looking, and knew your general background and preferred role.” Rob Day, July 26, 2005
What Rob Day suggested to do in 2005, still holds true in 2009. That being said, here are a couple of upcoming events that should be great for networking purposes. You can find more events and conferences in the CleanTechies Calendar. Most events and conferences feature some sort of reception, and – with your business cards handy – you might bump into somebody who turns out to have the perfect job for you. While the economic situation is challenging, there are interesting CleanTech jobs out there – as you can see from a look at the CleanTechies Job Board. Wherever you go, be prepared to give a 20 second pitch about yourself, your interest in CleanTech, and your career goals. For more advice, check out my recent article on how to Boost your CleanTech career.
Upcoming CleanTech Networking Events
March 26, 2009 – Boston (MA), USA
Entrepreneurial Energy Expo (E3)
The Babson Energy & Environmental Club at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business is hosting the Entrepreneurial Energy Expo (E3). This annual event aims to connect the energy industry to the Babson community, provide insight into emerging clean energy solutions, facilitate networking, and celebrate the growing business opportunities within this rapidly expanding and entrepreneurial sector. In 2009, E3 will focus on how innovation will drive a new era of energy, ecology, economics and policy. Panel topics include: Green IT & Energy Efficiency, Cleantech Venture Capital, A New Era of Environmental Policy, Green Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Selling in the Energy Market, and Sustainable Resource Management Solutions. The event takes place from 9am to 6:30 pm. Tickets are $20 per person and $18 per person for groups of 5 or more. You can register here.
April 13, 2009 – Cambridge (MA), USA
YPE Boston Events
The Young Professionals in Energy (YPE) are hosting a Happy Hour (=networking!) at John Harvard’s Brew House in Cambridge. YPE is a non-profit energy industry networking organization with over 6,000 members worldwide. It is dedicated to providing a forum for networking and career development for professionals in the global energy industry. YPE runs a year-round calendar of events in eighteen chapters around the world. The event next month takes place from 6:30-9:30pm, and you can register here.
April 16/17, 2009 – Washington (DC), USA
Environmental Protection in the Balance – Citizens, Courts, and the Constitution
Policy-makers, law students, lawyers and those of you generally interested in legal issues, read on: UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) and The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) are presenting a conference that explores topics at the junction of constitutional and environmental law. The symposium will have three keynote speakers and several expert panels with leading scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers analyzing and discussing current trends in the federal courts that influence environmental protection. There should be plenty of networking opportunities for those of you looking to enter the industry, both during the day and at the cocktail reception Monday evening. The event will be held at the University of California’s Washington Center. Participation is $25 for students, $75 for non-profits and $150 for companies. You can register here.
April 24/25 – San Francisco (CA), USA
Global Social Venture Competition – GLOBAL FINALS and SYMPOSIUM
Social entrepreneurs, here’s something for you: UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is organizing what will likely be an exciting event. More than 300 business plans from over 100 universities in 23 countries have been submitted to this year’s Global Social Venture Competition. On April 24, you can watch the top teams present – and defend – their business plans at the Global Finals. Every year the number of plans submitted increases – and so does the number of successful companies who come out of the competition. The event is free and open to the public. If you’re thinking about starting a company yourself or want to see what a business plan competition is like, this might be a good place for you to start.
For all of you who want to drive social change, there will be a Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship the next day, which brings together over 300 leaders and innovators from both business and academia in this field. You can engage in panels, participate in interactive workshops, and discuss the most recent trends and issues with leading and aspiring social entrepreneurs. The winners of the business plan competition the day before will also there for you to meet. A strong focus of the event is on networking, and the organizers promise there will be a good mix of Bay Area social venture capital firms to talk to.
One particular panel particularly struck my attention. “Scaling Your Social Venture: Lessons from successful social ventures in health care, clean tech & international development” will discuss the right time to “scale up” a social enterprise. In this panel, CleanTechies that have successfully scaled social venture will demonstrate what growing businesses can do to achieve both financial and social return on investment
Early bird registration closes April 3rd and is $35 for students, $95 for non-profits and $125 for for-profits.
Check out the CleanTechies Events Calendar for more events and conferences.
[Flickr photo by Luc Legay]