A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

If you check out our open events calendar and you’ll likely find some interesting events going on in your area – including two sustainability and cleantech focused business plans being held on 28 February 2009.

A few months ago at the culmination of another business plan competition Steven Vasallo of Foundation Capital reminded an audience that “a crisis was a terrible thing to waste.” It is no secret that the economy’s immediate future doesn’t look particularly strong through Q3 2009. Many job seekers are finding the same disheartening response when they apply or speak to would be employers.

Here is a thought for you creative opportunity seekers: instead of applying to companies that aren’t hiring, dust off an idea you’ve been thinking about and write a business plan instead.  Consider using the next few months to finding a couple like minded entrepreneurial minds to put a business plan together.  Particularly for you Business school (grad and undergrad) students around the world, this is a unique opportunity for you to test your mettle and taste the thrill of starting a company.

Pick up any recent copy of Inc Magazine or Harvard Business Review and they’ll remind you that recessions are great times to start companies. For those of you that didn’t study business, don’t worry – business plan competitions around the world are there to help you polish your pitch for angel investors and venture capitalists.  IESE in Barcelona and Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania’s are hosting events that bring together inquisitive MBAs, interested investors and innovative investors.  Both are looking for worthy environmentally, socially and economically sustainable business plans – get cracking, you’ve got about five weeks before the big day.

Read below for more information on each.

ABOUT THE SUSTAINABLE VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENT COMPETITION (Wharton) – The national SVCIC is described here (www.svcic.org).  That competition is two-day challenge where teams play the role of venture capitalists as they evaluate real businesses for the “triple bottom line” of financial profitability, environmental integrity, and social equity, and then developed an investment strategy and deal structure that they pitched to real venture capitalists. The Wharton round identifies the team that will go the national level, and is a showcase for Philadelphia-area entrepreneurs and local venture capitalists focused on clean tech and sustainability. To find out more and participate visit www.svcic.org or contact Mike Crossey (mcrossey at morganlewis.com) if you have any questions about the competition.

ABOUT THE “CLEANTECH VENTURE SEMINAR” AND THE “DOING GOOD AND DOING WELL” CONFERENCE (IESE) -The Cleantech Venture Seminar is open to registered attendees of the Doing Good and Doing Well Conference, the largest student-run conference on corporate social responsibility in Europe. For the 2009 conference, IESE Business School has partnered with Net Impact – making this Net Impact’s major European conference for 2009. To find out more and register for the IESE Doing Good and Doing Well Conference and Cleantech Venture Seminar, please visit www.dgdw.org or contact Jacob Pessah (jacob.pessah at iese.net) if you have any questions about the seminar.

Have any Question or Comment?

4 comments on “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Bay Area folks… here is, yet another, opportunity: http://berc.berkeley.edu/cleantech-to-market

Recessions are a good time to start a business, agreed. It is also a bad time to obtain any serious funding. So if you are ready to get your head down and build a business and you have staying power both financially and emotionally then there is no time like now.

I have started an online advocacy group for sustainability at http://www.regainparadise.org. In particular, it is targetted at emerging economies. I am looking for collaborators so feel free to connect if this is something that you are interested in.

Full disclosure… Matthew conducted my first interview while at Business School for that same Tier 1 wind developer. I’d be interested to get his thoughts on the latest article given the amount of capital needed for those projects.


I volunteered at the IESE Doing Good and Doing Well and it led to some contacts and a sharing of ideas which led to participating in the IESE Biz Plan Presentation. From there I got some funding for a cleantech startup which abruptly fell apart due to macroeconomic conditions. But the role I have now as head of business development for a Tier 1 wind farm developer was a direct result of the contacts and mental exercises of going through that process.

I have to agree with the last comment that there is not a lot of money out there today. But I don’t think that precludes going to these events and testing a bizplan as a worthwhile thing to do. Best case is you’re an entrepreneur, worst case you meet a lot of influential folks and learn about your target industry. It’s clearly a different paradigm from 6 months ago, that is exactly the time to establish new ideas for competitive advantages.

Comments are closed for this post !!
Skip to toolbar