FLoW’s Five Point Program for Entrepreneurial Success
- 1.) Education and Training: The FLoW program in an immersive educational program designed to help scientists and engineers master the skills they need to launch companies and successfully navigate the hurdles relative to starting a business within an academic setting. The FLoW program includes a four part webinar series on customers and markets followed by the FLoW competition where participants receive mentoring by cleantech business experts. The competition includes three judging sessions where participants get real world feedback and additional guidance from expert panels. From lab concept to commercial product, entrepreneurs gain a step-by-step understanding of their business and how to grow it.
- 2.) Mentoring: Good mentoring is vital to first time entrepreneurs. FLoW’s mentor program begins when you register and continues throughout the competitive portion of the program. It offers specialized mentoring as an educational experience, particularly tailored to scientists and engineers just starting their business. It draws from the 100+ FLoW mentor pool of industry experts, our judging panels, as well as the DOE network of national labs. Through mentorship, participants receive valuable advice and make important connections to people who can help with financing and customers beyond the competition.
- 3.) Real World Competitive Experience: The FLoW competition exposes student ventures to three rounds of judging by industry and technology experts as well as investors. This experience brings guidance that helps students rapidly advance their businesses. Such close contact and interaction often leads to partnerships, company advisors and sources of funding. FLoW further supports the teams with $100,000+ in cash prizes including prototyping and Transformational Idea Awards, as well as in kind legal services for the most advanced.
- 4.) Connections to Funds and Incubator/Accelerator Programs: When a student venture leaves the university, finding a business home, suitable funds and facilities for building prototypes to show potential customers is often difficult. FLoW connects first time entrepreneurs to appropriate incubator and accelerator programs and to sources of capital to match their needs. FLoW works with over a dozen partners that welcome university spinouts and bring resources to help get them started.
- 5.) Links to Strategic Partners: Strategic partners play a vital role in accelerating a young company’s business forward by providing technical advice, market intelligence and on occasion, financing. The FLoW program connects students to Department of Energy lab experts and to facilities at National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Ames National laboratory. FLoW also fosters dedicated access to California’s six major utilities through participation in The Rocket Fund. Through this program, entrepreneurs receive funding for developing technology into products and interact directly with utility experts that can help build commercial ready businesses.