BE Next in Energy!
The energy industry is searching for entrepreneurs with great ideas
In the January 2010 issue of Black Enterprise young entrepreneurs and business professionals were spotlighted for blazing the trails to set high standards of excellence and success. The BE Next feature has sounded the alarm in cyberspace, setting other Gen-Yers into high gear as Twitter and Facebook messages have quickly spread the stories and accomplishments of these young go-getters. Young folks across the country have been hit with new sparks of inspiration, and are declaring great things for 2010.
So who’s looking to cash in your great ideas and help you become a BE Next?
In the business world, you can often tell where an industry is headed by following the money. The U.S. plans to invest more than $150 billion in energy research and development over the next 10 years, and many corporations also seem to be following the trend. As providing new ways to create and consume energy becomes the next great frontier, entities across the globe are focusing their resources on new ideas.
“As CTO I oversee the way we create and develop technology in Shell, and ensure our newly developed technologies are effectively deployed,”says Shell Chief Technology Officer Gerald Schotman. “We also have a strong external agenda — open in terms of innovation and representing the company, as well as identifying improved technologies developed by others.”
Shell, like BE and many other corporations striving for excellence, understands how young minds and fresh ideas can help provide an important competitive advantage, and has created a mechanism for harnessing innovation from academics and entrepreneurs outside of the company.
Shell’s “GameChanger” program helps move ideas to reality by sponsoring entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into a product that can be introduced to the marketplace. Ideas can range from new sources of energy to improving efficiency or reducing the environmental impact of existing sources. If you can demonstrate its potential, and Shell agrees, they will take it through the necessary steps and provide the funding and support to get your idea to proof-of concept. In commercial parlance, Shell acts as an “angel investor” and has regularly invested up to $100,000 in previous great ideas.
As the race to build a better mousetrap continues, the energy industry will soon be bombarded with a barrage of resources to help foster innovation. Capital, tax incentives, and even education will all be offered to those who are willing to join the race. Stay informed of energy issues by following BE, network with those who are involved, and you and may BE Next!
André Williams is the founder and principal consultant of Energy Relations—a full service firm that specializes in providing public relations and communications services for businesses and organizations in the energy industry. He has over 11 years experience providing consultation in the energy, environmental, and government sectors.