Top 10 Lessons for Aspiring Cleantech Entrepreneurs

top10lessonsChris Reid is president and CEO of Energent, an energy management company based out of Waterloo, Ontario incorporated only in 2007. The company works for a range of customers from industrial to institutional. They take real time data and generate analytical graphs to help provide customers with saving opportunities.

In November, Chris joined us at Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Energy as a guest lecturer. Speaking from firsthand experience, he presented some things budding clean tech entrepreneurs should consider for their businesses:

  1. Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow. How is the business going to make money to sustain itself?
  2. Your people are your most valuable asset. Get the best you can afford, keep them motivated and happy.
  3. Reference sites and clients are essential. Get the most and the best that you can, and keep them happy!
  4. Pay attention to and be ready for the politics to change, for the better or the worse.
  5. If you are selling to utilities, be ready for a long slow process, with pilot after pilot after… you get the point.
  6. Make sure you are sufficiently capitalized for the long haul, not living hand to mouth.
  7. Assemble (and leverage) the very best Board of Directors you can.
  8. Take full advantage of all the government funding, investment vehicles and such.
  9. Is the value proposition clear, distinct and measureable? This is the foundation of any successful business. It is extremely important for the entrepreneur to understand what value their business provides for people and know what success means to them. If it is not clear to the entrepreneurs themselves, then consumers and sponsors will not either.
  10. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of companies just like you … what makes you unique to stand out from others out there?
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