The Currency of Entrepreneurship is Connections
Leaders in Energy recently co-hosted an Energy Technology ”Petting Zoo” with Potential Energy DC, an energy incubator in Tyson’s Corner in the Metro Washington, DC area. It was an exciting evening with numerous energy and environmental entrepreneurs displaying their business products and technologies. These ranged from an “Iron Goat” that cuts and pelletizes biomass feedstocks, including grass, to Yuck Old Paint, LLC™, which is the first and only company in the mid-Atlantic region that offers a green service to safely remove and dispose of old cans of paint from commercial and residential properties in an eco-friendly manner, to battery energy storage devices (Tumalow, Ecocell), and more.
Why are these kinds of events important to professionals who are interested in connecting with others in the clean energy and sustainability community? I recently listened to the popular FM radio “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” broadcast from Washington, DC, which features a weekly “Tech Tuesday” on technology and entrepreneurs. This particular show aired a segment on “The Future of Advanced Industries in DC.” One of the guests was Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776, a business incubator in Washington, DC. Donna talked about how the “currency of entrepreneurs” is who you know and how your connections translate into finding customers and “channel partners,” etc. This is a core mission of Leaders in Energy in terms of helping people to connect with one another to find new opportunities such as employment, business partnering arrangements, connecting with others on research interests and projects, etc.
In this spirit, Leaders in Energy seeks to help people strategically connect with one another. While the general rule of thumb for networking events is for participants to meet one or two new people, Leaders in Energy takes this concept to the next level via a “Strategic Networking Resource Table.“ Attendees are given the opportunity to write their name and indicate the particular topic where they are seeking to meet others (whether their goal is to find new business opportunities or indeed they have something to offer), and then we announce their interest to the group. A valuable connection occurred at the Petting Zoo, where one individual, who was working at a boutique investment bank, was seeking people with energy expertise. By making this announcement, this attendee was able to strategically connect with other participants, a win-win for both of them.
By helping to strategically connect with members in our region and around the United States and the world, Leaders in Energy can help to accelerate the transformation that is needed in business and in our communities to make positive change. Our society is facing a lot of challenges in building new jobs and a new economy that does not destroy the living systems of our planet, but that serves to regenerate it instead. This will not be easy. Yet we at Leaders in Energy and our strategic partners see hope, and we saw it last night with all of the new thinking, technologies, businesses, and entrepreneurs at our Energy Petting Zoo event. There are many exciting developments and initiatives taking place, where we can learn from one another to implement these changes.
If you are interested in what Leaders in Energy is doing, we encourage you to attend our monthly professional networking events when you are in the Washington, DC area. Our next event will be on Monday, June 22nd, on the topic of “The Evolving Bioeconomy and Renewable Fuels,” and it will take place the evening before the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy 2015 conference. This pre-conference networking event will be an ideal opportunity to connect with bioenergy professionals from around the United States and world who will be attending the DOE conference (June 23-24, 2015).