Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship Site Visit

speechThe Chalmers visit was extremely informative and fostered some innovative ideas throughout the Sweden Cohort. David Andersen presented an overview of the Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship (Chalmers) educational program and then described a successful business venture that he developed when he was at Chalmers, called Ecoera.
First, Chalmers is highly selective – only admitting approximately 10% of all applicants. Many students are Swedish, but there is also a large pool of international applicants as well. Once admitted to this two-year program, Students spend the first year learning the basics of innovation and entrepreneurship, while selecting a venture from a pool of ideas. This Venture becomes the basis for learning through action in the second year, where students actually form a business centered on an innovative idea. The second year is then focused on developing a path toward incorporation, and successful business launch through the incubator. With an 80% venture success rate, Chalmers clearly has found a recipe for new venture success.
Next, David Described his venture called Ecoera. This venture takes biomass from local farms and creates pellets, which can be used for fuel. Next, the residue from the pellets, called biochar, is sold to local farmers as a soil enhancer. All this is done, while creating reducing the total amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are several unique aspects of this venture, but the one that was most impressive was the systemic approach. Ecoera looked at the whole fuel generation system and maximized its value throughout the system. It did this by taking biomass from farms that no longer needed it, and converting it into pellets that can be burned to generate heat and electricity. After extracting the energy from the pellets, Ecoera sells the waste from that process, the biochar, to farmers to enhance the nutrient content of their soil, leading to larger and more abundant crops. There is virtually no waste in this system and all aspects can generate value for the firm.
So What?
This innovative process led several of the students to two main ideas. First, as these ventures grow and expand, this could be a sustainable pool of clients for future GWSB CAPs. As Chalmers creates ventures, the successful ones will need to eventually expand internationally. GWSB can partner with Chalmers to identify and work with these successful ventures by creating US market entry strategies. The second idea was to develop a US based collaborative program that replicates the innovative processes found at Chalmers. Chalmers seems to have the ideal recipe for successful venture creation and could easily export this idea to other universities in other countries, specifically the US. In doing so, this would not only create more innovative ideas across the US, but would add both financial and social value to society as a whole.

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