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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Clean Business Investment Summit 2010 and related free workshops offers entrepreneurs valuable information and opportunities (published in July of 2010 in the SB News Press)

On August 13, 2010, the California Coast Venture Forum ( will present the Clean Business Investment Summit 2010 at the Corwin Pavilion (at the University of California, Santa Barbara), with an impressive line-up of speakers, engaging panel topics, and exciting, attractive start-ups presenting. Participants range from BMW DesignWorks to Southern California Edison, Pacific Coast Business Times to Silicon Valley Bank, CBIZ to Nutrition Capital Network, and more.

Our local economy is moving increasingly towards green business.  With the increased interest from local investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses in emerging markets such as renewable energy, clean tech, ethical, green, socially responsible, and sustainable enterprises, the Clean Business Investment Summit brings these important stakeholders together to advance our local, green economy.  The Summit allows clean tech, green, socially responsible, and sustainable enterprises to present their companies to investors looking for viable, ethical clean business opportunities.

In addition to a vibrant array of entrepreneurs presenting, this year’s speakers and dynamic panels include:

  • Morning Keynote: Udaiyan Jatar, Founder of the Blue Earth Network and expert on Clean Business and emerging trends;
  • “Making Cents of Sustainability: Trends and Opportunities in Clean Business” Featuring Peter Falt, BMW DesignWorks, Doug Mazeffa, Greenopia; Wigs Mendoza, Metropolitan Water District; Ed Quevedo, Paladin Law Group; Jeff Lebow, Southern California Edison; Henry Dubroff, Pacific Coast Business Times; and Gillian Christie, Christie Communications;
  • Lunch Keynote: Jeff Klineman, Editor of Beverage Spectrum Magazine and BevNET in conversation with a notable Clean Business Pioneer;
  • “Straight from the Source: VCs and Angels Tell it How it Is” Featuring Alexander Haislip, author of Essentials of Venture Capital, John Wiley & Sons and financial journalist; Frank Foster, DFJ Frontier; Steve Allen, Nutrition Capital Network; John Barrymore, 6Pacific Partners, David Jeromin, Golden Mean Capital; and Bill Barber, Maverick Angels.
  • Profile of Successful Start-Up: Continental Wind Power introduced by Janice Dunn, California Space Authority.
  • “Grow Outside the Box: Alternative Funding Sources and Strategies” Featuring Jack Garza, Silicon Valley Bank; Brent Sonnek-Schmelz, RelaxZEN, Inc.; Patrick Tunison, US Small Business Administration; Anthony Pena, Wells Fargo, and Factor Direct.

“Through the Clean Business Investment Summit, we are committed to maximizing market growth for CBIS Clean Verified Enterprises, simultaneously providing guidance for those companies to strengthen investor relationships and opportunities, build strategic partnerships, and assist in efficiently expanding market share and impact,” explained Jerry Knotts, President & CEO of the California Coast Venture Forum.

This is the 12th annual presentation from the California Coast Venture Forum, which has joined forces with Green2Gold ( and Christie Communications ( to offer the Summit; made possible through the generous contributions of CCVF’s sponsors and partners including: CBIZ, BevNET, Fess Parker’s Double Tree Resort, Maverick Angels, Pacific Coast Business Times, Greenopia, Paladin Law Group, California Lutheran University, Lanspeed, Westmont College, Growth Capital Conference, and Ricoh.

According to Jerry Knotts, The California Coast Venture Forum (CCVF), the largest venture capital forum held in coastal California, links innovative, high growth companies with leading business development and financing experts, and service providers.  More than 575 start-up and growth companies have been introduced to venture investors and related services experts, with more than $110,000,000 invested through the CCVF.  For local entrepreneurs operating in the green space, the Summit is a powerful source of information and potential capital.  There will be eleven main industry segments represented, which are:

·         Business Systems
·         BioFuels
·         Renewable Energy Sources (wind, solar, geothermal, hydro)
·         Pollution Abatement
·         Agricultural Technology
·         Green Building
·         Transportation
·         Environmental Services (conservation and efficiency)
·         Lifestyle Products and Services
·         Wellness / Health / Fitness
·         Water (capture, filtration, distribution, conservation)

The Summit is free for attendees.  For more information those interested can visit the California Coast Venture Forum’s website: or the Green2Gold website:

Surrounding the Summit, entrepreneurs can attend any of four free workshops to be held at the Santa Barbara Business and Technology Center, at 402 East Gutierrez Street, on the first Wednesday of each month, from August through November at 6 P.M.  Each workshop will be about one hour in length, will have presentations followed by question and answer sessions, and will provide valuable materials on each topic of discussion.  The topics will be:

·         August 4, 2010: Internet Marketing and SEO – presented by Taylor Reaume of Search Engine Pros;
·         September 1, 2010: The Essential Components of a Quality Business Plan and How to Approach the Funding Process – presented by Craig Allen (me) and Pablo Bonjour, CEO of SMG Business Plans;
·         October 6, 2010: Intellectual Property (patents, trade and service marks, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets) – presented by Guy Cumberbatch of Patent4 You;
·         November 3, 2010: Marketing, PR, and Advertising – presented by Alissa Sears and Gillian Christie from Christie Communications.

Recently I wrote an article for my weekly column about companies moving increasingly to Internet marketing approaches.  The first workshop will address some of the most important aspects of Internet marketing.  Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, must be a critical component of any Internet marketing campaign.  It is not enough today to simply have your website address appear on the first page of search results.  It is not enough to have a potential customer click on the link and view your main page.  To be effective, websites must maintain the visitor’s interest, and most importantly, must drive the potential customer to commit to a sale—to becoming a paying customer.  The first workshop on August 4th will cover different options for SEO strategies and techniques, costs, ranking your site—organic versus paid, and in general, ways to get your website to the top of search engine results. 

On September 1st, I, along with Pablo Bonjour, will discuss the various parts of a quality business plan—what must be contained in the plan, and in what order the information should be presented, to be most effective.  Pablo will take it to the next step, which is using the business plan to navigate the funding process.  Pablo and I have been working in investment banking, investment management, and business consulting for more than 20 years, providing our expertise to help businesses successfully secure funding for their ventures.  We write business plans, PPM’s (Private Placement Memoranda), Valuations, Marketing Plans, slide presentations, and more, and work with entrepreneurs throughout the funding process.  We will provide our insights into the complex and time-consuming process of securing funding at the September 1st workshop.

Most green and technology-based businesses will involve issues relating to intellectual property.  Protecting IP can mean the difference between a hugely successful venture and the business never getting out of the gate.  The October 6th IP workshop will provide those entrepreneurs with IP issue with valuable and actionable information about all aspects of protecting their intellectual property.  This is a must attend for anyone with a startup or early-stage business that has IP.

Every business must market their products and or services.  Marketing and PR is critical to the success of newer companies that typically do not enjoy strong name brand recognition or product/service-specific recognition.  The November 3rd workshop on marketing, PR, and advertising will cover the essentials of developing an effective overall strategy to get your business and its products and/or services noticed.  Working within a budget is always important, but it is mandatory for an early-stage business.  Finding ways to undertake a powerful marketing, PR, and advertising strategy within a tight budget is challenging to say the least.  This workshop will provide entrepreneurs with some valuable, cost-effective techniques that can be used with a limited budget.

No matter where you are as an entrepreneur, the Clean Business Investment Summit 2010 and four workshops will provide useful information for your business.  These events will also offer ample opportunities for making key, strategic connections and building working business relationships with local investors, business consulting experts, and other entrepreneurs.  I have found through my business operations and work with the CCVF, Green2Gold and other organizations a strong willingness to collaborate, assist, advise, and support local entrepreneurs.  The Summit and workshops discussed here are just some of the many opportunities for local green entrepreneurs to access a wealth of useful information to help build successful, green companies in our market.

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