Haas Entrepreneurship: $50,000 in bplan Competition, Entrepreneurs Forum, Skydeck Accelerator, Best Practices Series & More

Haas MBA EntrepreneurshipThe San Francisco Bay Area or Silicon Valley has been a driving force in global entrepreneurship, and Berkeley-Haas is among the leading players for the education and launch of successful Entrepreneurs. The MBA program offers an ecosystem that nurtures young enterprises while also preparing students for careers as Venture Capitalists. What's more, being in Silicon Valley gives MBA graduates the chance of joining a startup nearby.

Entrepreneurs from Haas include Matt Caspari and Guido Radaelli who won the Berkeley Business Plan Competition with Aurora BioFuels, a renewable energy company that utilizes microalgae to make biodiesel. They have recently received $20 million in funding. Another well-known Entrepreneur is John Hanke, who in 2001 founded Keyhole, which captures detailed satellite photographs of the entire planet. The company was acquired by Google in 2004, and Hanke is now VP Product Management at Google. In the social sector, Mimi Frusha started Renewable Funding, which allows homeowners in participating cities to finance clean energy projects. The projects are partly paid by the city through property taxes spread across 20 years. Over 5 cities in California have implemented this program, and more than 10 other states are in the process of formulating legislation to implement it.

Here is a detailed view of the Entrepreneurial Environment at Haas.

Brian L. Maxwell Fellows Program

The Brian L. Maxwell Fellows Program aims to assist Haas' MBA students that have an Entrepreneurial attitude - take risks to implement new ideas. Students who are selected into the program receive 100% tuition and fee waivers for both years of the full-time MBA program. They also become part of the fellowship network along with other student and alumni recipients. Currently, there are 3 Brian L. Maxwell Fellows at Haas.

Lester Center for Entrepreneurship

The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship is the epicenter for most of Entrepreneurial activities at Haas. It promotes Entrepreneurial education, forums, competitions, student-led activities and academic research. The Center also encourages interaction among students and the entrepreneurial community, fostering an interdisciplinary research environment among students and faculty from business, law, engineering, biosciences and computer science streams.

The centers contribution includes:

• Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum
• Entrepreneurial Best Practices Series
• UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
• Global Social Venture Competition
• The Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley
• Venture Capital Investment Competition
• External Business Plan Competitions
• Undergraduate Courses in Entrepreneurship
• Graduate Courses in Entrepreneurship:
• Entrepreneurs Corner Mentoring Program
• UC Berkeley Startup Accelerator
• Global Entrepreneurship Education Initiative
• New Venture Launchpad Passport
• Community Leaders: the Lifetime Achievement Award
• Teaching Excellence: Holton Teaching Fellowships

The UC Berkeley Startup Competition

UC Berkeley's Startup Competition is also known as bplan. It provides Entrepreneurs with education, team-building skills, networking opportunities, Mentorship and Financial Assistantship.

bplan conducts forums to teach young entrepreneurs about startups and the essentials of starting a business with the Entrepreneurial Best Practices Series. It helps in finding team members through a series of mixers that connect students and the community at Haas School of Business, School of Information, Berkeley Energy Resources Collaborative, College of Engineering and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Teams that are selected in the 1st round - as many as 40 in 2013 - receive mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and VCs. This will help in perfecting the business plan.

The judges at bplan are Silicon Valley Angel Investors, VC firms, Service providers and Entrepreneurs - well versed with Entrepreneurship. This allows ideas to be tested by the experts themselves, giving students valuable feedback. Winners in the biotech, cleantech, web, IT, consumer goods, and financial services tracks, along with the overall winners stand to win more than $50,000 in prizes.

Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC)

Haas is a university partner at The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), which gives Social Entrepreneurs exposure, mentoring, and prizes worth $50,000. The aim is to help start businesses with positive social impact. The competition was founded at Haas, and the Global Finals are held at the school. The finals are also an opportunity for teams from around the globe to learn and network from Silicon Valley. GSVC is an international network of the social entrepreneurial community and a partnership of the top B-schools in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. In 2012, there were 600+ entries from 50+ countries.  Previous finalists include Husk Power and Revolution Foods, and more than $250,000 has been awarded so far.

Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum

The Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum has been on for 20 years, gathering students together with the Bay Area community to listen and learn from top Entrepreneurs. The program begins with a networking hour, followed by a Make Your Pitch opportunity, where 4 to 5 people can make an elevator pitch to the audience. The latest 2 Forum topics were Technology Entrepreneurship on the Global Stage: 8th Annual Intel Global Challenge, and Angel & Venture Capital Financing Overview.

Berkeley Skydeck Accelerator

The Berkeley Skydeck is an accelerator for startups and technology entrepreneurship center, jointly operated by UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to aid the Berkeley Entrepreneurial community. The accelerator follows a research model and is deeply integrated into the research and educational programs at the University.

The Skydeck seeks to incubate, accelerate and expand the list of new startups, and it offers an ecosystem of startup teams, tech veterans, early stage investors and serial Entrepreneurs. It occupies the entire penthouse in Downtown Berkeley's tallest building, offering 10,000 sqft of space. The College of Engineering, Haas School of Business and the Vice Chancellor of Research Office can each allocate one third of the available space to startups elected by them.

Entrepreneurial Best Practices Series

The Entrepreneurial Best Practices Series showcases top practitioners. They offer practical advice on being an Entrepreneur. The series is planned to be at the beginning of the startup competition season. The next series that are scheduled to be held in 2013 are 'Secrets to the Successful Business Pitch: Tips from VCs and Entrepreneurs' by Rebecca Lynn of Morgenthaler Ventures & Layton Han of Adara Media, and 'Most Common Legal Mistakes of Entrepreneurs' by Tim Harris of Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Recommended Reads

1) Lester Center for Entrepreneurship
2) Entrepreneurial MBA at SKOLKOVO
3) Top 5 MBA for Entrepreneurs


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