Friday, June 15, 2012

Chris Shapard Speaks at Clinton Global Initiative

 Last week, Colorado Cleantech Industry Association Executive Director Chris Shapard spoke on a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative. This annual event focuses on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States.

Chris spoke on a panel focused on “Place-Based Innovation: Creating Centers of Prosperity.” She joined John Sibley Butler from The University of Texas at Austin; Ann Miura-Ko, managing partner at FLOODGATE; and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to discuss developing technology clusters that foster economic growth and innovation. The panel was moderated by Maria Bartiromo, an anchor at CNBC.

As the only cleantech industry executive on the panel, Chris brought a unique perspective to the group, talking about the need for a national energy policy and creating successful innovation centers by focusing on the industry needs.

“With my background in economic development, I find that when an organization is developed by the industry to have common goals and define similar objectives, it is easier and more sustainable to grow,” Chris said. “The industry is focused on being profitable and a way to create a profitable technology cluster is to foster workforce readiness.”

Chris pointed to the creation of the Cleantech Fellows Institute as one way Colorado is working to get the workforce ready for job development. The Cleantech Fellows Institute works with executives from other industries to teach them about the cleantech industry so that they have the tools to start their own venture-back cleantech business.

The panel focused on how partnerships formed with local organizations, like the one CCIA has with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), creates an effective ecosystem that fosters the connection necessary to spur innovation, grow businesses and create jobs. A supportive environment also includes available financing, a community of peer businesses, a skilled workforce and market access.

To watch the entire panel, visit the CGI website:

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