A new certificate program wants to develop students’ experience at the intersection of entrepreneurship and environmental issues.
The Nicholas School of the Environment has created a new certificate program for graduate students that is scheduled to launch in the second half of Fall 2012. The Environmental Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate will offer students a new program to explore the practical applications of environmental entrepreneurial endeavors, said Jesko von Windheim, professor of the practice of environmental entrepreneurship. Students will follow a 12-credit environmental entrepreneurship program in order to receive the new certificate.
“The environmental entrepreneurship program was initiated to create an effective and practical framework to help aspiring environmental entrepreneurs change the world using sustainable practices,” said von Windheim, who is in charge of overseeing the implementation of the certificate.
A combination of classroom learning and out of classroom experiences aim to transition students directly into environmental entrepreneurial work.
The program is designed to give practical insight into every step in the process of translating environment entrepreneurial ideas into real-life practice, Nicholas School Dean Bill Chameides said.
“As environmental impacts have been found to increasingly influence the bottom line in the corporate sector, our understanding of environmental stewardship has moved steadily from concerns that revolved primarily around management and conservation of scarce resources into a realm that includes economics and business,” said von Windheim.
According to a brochure describing the new certificate, an ongoing incubator fund will be created to finance promising startup ideas. In addition, students will be provided one-on-one mentorships with established entrepreneurs in order to instill realistic business and leadership skills.
“The program seeks to teach students to develop, evaluate, refine and possibly launch a new sustainable product or service—using both experiential and traditional teaching approaches,” said von Windheim.
Von Windheim has experience with startups, teaching and research pertaining to technology-based environmental entreprenuership, which could help provide real life insight to students as they prepare for business endeavors. He was the co-founder of Cronos Integrated Microsystems and the CEO of Nextreme Thermal Solutions—two firms that work to engineer microtechnologies. He is currently engaged in a project with Duke technology called “Zenalux,” which works to carry out white-light spectroscopy in clouded fluids.
The certificate, composed of 12 credits, includes the course “Environmental Mega-Trends,” which will be offered for the first time in the second half of the Fall.
Students would need to pursue an masters of environmental management degree in order to obtain this certificate, said Marianne Drexler, program coordinator for undergraduate programs.
So far, there has been no feedback of interest in the certificate from undergraduate students, Drexler said.
“I just don’t know if enough undergraduate students know about it yet,” she added.
Correction: An earlier version of this article quoting Marianne Drexler incorrectly stated that students interested in obtaining the certificate would need to pursue a masters in engineering management degree. The Chronicle regrets the error.