New Hampshire Governor John Lynch and his Executive Council have appropriated $750,000 in federal stimulus funds to the Green Launching Pad, an initiative designed to harness green energy research to develop new businesses, according to Ross Gittell, a management professor at the University of New Hampshire and co-founder of the initiative.
Lynch unveiled details about the program at a launch event held at UNH on Wednesday, according to a University press release.
Gittell conceived and developed the Green Launching Pad initiative in order to apply research already taking place at Dartmouth and UNH towards boosting the state economy, he said in an interview with The Dartmouth.
“Jobs will be created for students, faculty and entrepreneurs, as well as for people who work in the industry,” Gittell said.
The program will attempt to spur economic growth by using research related to environmentally-friendly energy use, according to Gittell.
“The main thing here is the creation of new business activities, which rely very heavily on innovation and research activities that relate to the green economy,” he said.
Marissa Knodel ’09, Dartmouth’s sustainability programs specialist, predicted the initiative will benefit the College by providing a new source of funding for research, especially at the Thayer School of Engineering and in the environmental studies department.
“I think this kind of program can help fund some ideas that come out of the College,” Knodel said. “So I can see it supporting projects that students and faculty come up with.”
Knodel added, however, that she did not think the initiative would necessarily create new jobs on campus.
Under the program, members of the Green Launching Pad which includes Gitell and New Hampshire business executives, academics and scientists will solicit proposals for green business initiatives from teams of students, faculty researchers and entrepreneurs. Companies will apply to be matched with business teams, with three or more selected to receive up to $90,000 in funding for an intensive summer business accelerator program affiliated with UNH, according to the press release.
Each team will then launch its business in the fall, Gittell said. The program will provide financial, technical and management support to the teams throughout the process, according to its web site.
The program is a partnership between the state, UNH and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Gittell said.
Lynch unveiled the program in his State of the State Address, which he delivered Jan. 21.
“Our top priorities are helping New Hampshire businesses and citizens get back to work now and attracting the jobs of the future to New Hampshire,” Lynch said. “We can make it possible for even more companies to create the technologies that will reduce pollution, reduce energy costs and provide new sources of energy. And we will help these companies grow and create good jobs right here in New Hampshire.”
The appropriation of funds for the program was approved by Lynch and the state’s Executive Council Jan. 27.
Gittell developed the initiative with Jesse Devitte, managing director and co-founder of Borealis Ventures; George Hurtt, director of the Complex Systems Research Center; and Richard Ober, vice president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Gittell said. The idea was inspired by a series of discussions after a joint meeting of Gittell’s business class and Hurtt’s environmental science class about green entrepreneurship, according to the Green Launching Pad web site.