ESF Outreach | SUNY-ESF
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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

FOR 296/FOR 106- Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship

  • For more information, please contact Chuck Spuches, Associate Provost for Outreach, (315) 470-6817;

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Course Description:

This 3-credit course will introduce you to the challenges and goals of creating a start-up venture in environmental science or technology.  You will develop the ability to recognize trends in the marketplace and where commercial opportunities can be created.  Additional topic areas include the life cycle of a company, analysis of potential of sustainable ventures, critical success factors, and key start-up issues unique to science and technology firms.

As a "Green Entrepreneur" student you'll meet and present "live" in front of a panel of community leaders. The program also includes multimedia clips, videos, discussions, research, and creative team work.


Mr. Gary Lim, along with other distinguished guest speakers


Monday, July 25 - Friday, July 29
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. each day

2011 Course Description and Agenda:

FOR 106 – “Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship” (3 credits)


Course Description

An introduction to the challenges and goals of creating a start-up venture in environmental science or technology. Recognize trends in the marketplace, and where commercial opportunities can be created. Analyze feasibility and potential to create a sustainable venture. Other topic areas include critical success factors and key start-up issues unique to science and technology firms.

Course Logistics

Class meeting dates:  Monday, July 25 to Friday, July 29, 2011

Class meeting times:  8:00am to 4:30pm each day (to 7:00pm on Wednesday)

Classroom location:  141 Baker Lab

Instructor:  Professor Gary Lim, Kauffman Foundation e-Professor, Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship, SUNY-ESF, and President of Aurarius LLC; along with guest speakers as appropriate

Phone contact:  315-885-1532


Dress code: Casual during class (proper attire for classroom, please). Presentations on the last day require “business casual” dress code (e.g. no jeans, shorts or other casual clothing)

Course Objectives

  • Be able to recognize trends in environmental science or technology fields and how they might apply to problems that need solving
  • Understand how to combine those trends with creativity and foresight to discover potential market opportunities
  • Gain introductory knowledge on analyzing the feasibility of capitalizing on opportunities related to the environment
  • Perform due diligence to assess the commercial potential, and understand how to look at long-term market potential
  • Understand the phases, dynamics, culture, and key issues of the founding and early growth of a technology firm
  • Learn key elements of writing a concise plan for opportunity validation
  • Understand what it takes to create and deliver an effective “elevator pitch” and live presentation, and actually do so to describe the opportunity
  • Gain a basic understanding of the issues of debt and equity funding, including angel, seed, and venture capital rounds, as they relate to science/technology start-ups

Required Books

The following two (2) books are required. Please be sure to obtain these before the first day of class.

  • Smartups: Lessons from Rob Ryan’s Entrepreneur America Boot Camp for Start-Ups, by Rob Ryan; Cornell University Press, 2002 (paperback).
  • Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage, by Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston, Wiley, 2009 (paperback).

Pre-Course Activities (Required) – Submit via Email

The following two essays should have been submitted via email prior to the start of the course:

  • Write a short paragraph or two on why you decided to enroll in this course, and what you hope to learn from it.
  • Select a recent article to read, from any newspaper, magazine, or Web source, related to an environmental issue or environmentally-related product or service. Briefly summarize the information and describe the subject matter’s impact on the environment, along with your views and opinions. Be sure to cite the source of the article, i.e. publication name and date, article title, and page number (if printed source) or Web URL address (if from the Web).

Course Grading Components

  • Pre-course assignment (5%)
  • Class participation, attendance, and readings (30%) – entrepreneurship is a team sport. Startups are dependent on the team members showing up, discussing the issues, asking questions, and coming up with ideas. I expect the same from course attendees. Doing the reading as assigned will help you be a better class participant. And when it’s time to discuss the readings, I and your classmates will want to hear your perspectives and thoughts.
  • Elevator pitch (15%)
  • Written plan for opportunity validation, up to 5 pages (15%)
  • Live presentation on plan, 4 minutes maximum (15%)
  • Final paper, key success and failure factors for corporate environmental initiatives, 4-5 pages (20%). Paper is submitted in hardcopy form; email submissions will not be accepted. Final paper must be postmarked by Monday, August 1, 2011. Mail via U.S. mail to:

Professor Gary Lim

Aurarius LLC

P. O. Box 302

Manlius, NY 13104

Late submission of the final paper makes it subject to a deduction of one “grade tick” for every day past the due date, measured by the postmark. Be sure to use enough postage, and know when the last mail pick-up time is!

Course Agenda – FOR 106 Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship






  • Introductions
  • Overview of entrepreneurship
  • Overview: 10 Phases of a Start-Up
  • Phase 1: Idea Generation
  • Phase 2: Validation and Due Diligence
  • 1:00-2:00pm: Tour of ESF campus, Sharon Weis, SUNY-ESF
  • Discussion: potential areas for green entrepreneurship
  • Assignment for overnight reading



  • Phase 3: Strategy and Planning (start of section)
  • Discussion: potential areas for green entrepreneurship (continued)
  • Phase 4: Company Formation
  • Elevator pitches
  • Team formation, project selection
  • Lab time: early research on market demand
  • Assignment for overnight reading



(to 7:00pm)

  • Phase 3: Strategy and Planning (continued)
  • Elevator pitches and communications
  • Phase 5: Seed Capital
  • Phase 6: Proof of Concept
  • Intellectual property (IP) issues
  • Lab: research and analysis on project
  • Assignment for overnight reading
  • Dinner session (ends at 7:00pm): team assignment



  • Phase 7: Venture Capital
  • Presentation skills
  • Phase 8: Product Launch
  • Lab: complete research; draft Powerpoint presentations (the plan for validating the opportunity)
  • Assignment for overnight reading



  • Phase 9: Follow-on Funding
  • Phase 10: Exit Strategies
  • Lab: finish Powerpoint presentations and rehearse
  • 1:15-2:30pm: present project overviews to panel; feedback and discussion
  • Course summary
  • Instructions for final paper (must be postmarked by Monday, August 1)
  • Course evaluations