WV GreenWorks Plugs In EDISON.21 To Light Up New Breed of Entrepreneurs

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WVGreenWorks Creates Partnerships and 6-Month Pilot Program to Advance Sustainable Entrepreneurship

A pilot mentoring program designed to produce, inspire and support  entrepreneurship in sustainability.

A pilot mentoring program designed to produce, inspire and support entrepreneurship in sustainability.

“A cool thing about the program is that our mentors will share these experiences with the young participants. We are building a comprehensive framework for opportunity that will allow rapid growth in many directions."

WVGreenWorks.com, in partnership with the Region 1 Workforce Investment Board and the Southern Workforce WV Green Up Council, has created EDISON.21, a mentoring program designed to ignite a new generation of entrepreneurs.

EDISON.21 takes its name from one of the world’s most prolific innovators who succeeded in spite of little formal education, and for whom there was no expectation of success. The program is dedicated to the next generation of innovation for sustainability. It’s established to identify, cultivate and support the kind of creative action that resulted in the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera, just three of Edison’s thousands of inventions. Edison was a successful businessman as well as an inventor.

The pilot program begins on March 3, with the announcement of participants, mentors, and sponsors, at Tamarack Conference Center in Beckley, WV, and culminates in August.

“It’s appropriate that we announce the program this month, as the technological world celebrates Thomas Edison’s 164th birthday,” said Sarah Halstead Boland, executive director of WVGreenWorks. “Our group of potential young entrepreneurs will work alongside industry professionals as we all move forward in discovering business opportunities in growing green, sustainable communities.”

A group of 15 men and women aged 18 to 21 have been tapped for the six-month mentoring program that will result in internship and employment opportunities. Professional builders, architects, educators, community planners and leaders will work with the group as they explore cutting-edge concepts in sustainable community retrofitting and design.

“We’re specifically exploring opportunities in sustainable agriculture, conservation and recycling, green high performance building, energy efficiency, contracting, finance and marketing,“ Halstead Boland explained. “The plan is to cultivate creative thinkers who are capable of coming up with cutting edge concepts of their own.”

The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board has selected the program’s initial participants, who applied for the program and have met rigorous standards. Students and their professional mentors will work with sustainable community experts in Pittsburgh, PA, Richmond, VA, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC.

“We will expose these young people to world-class concepts and thinkers, innovators who have created systems that save money and energy, and designers and community planners who have changed how people live and conserve resources,” Halstead Boland continued. “A cool thing about the program is that our mentors will share these experiences with the young participants. We are building a comprehensive framework for opportunity that will allow rapid growth in many directions.

“By the close of the program, established building and design professionals will have the most up-to-date green building and energy efficiency certifications, and will be ready to meet growing consumer, commercial and municipal demand,” said Halstead Boland.

The Region 1 Workforce Investment Board encompasses 10 southern West Virginia counties. The Southern Workforce WV Green Up Council supports job expansion in energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative energy and advanced traditional energy fields. Supporters of the program to date include Bridgemont and New River Community and Technical Colleges, Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, EarthCraft House of Richmond, VA, the West Virginia chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and Modern Home Concepts of Hurricane, WV.

A complete list of sponsors and supporters of the EDISON.21 Project will be announced at the formal program launch at Tamarack. For more information, contact Halstead Boland at sarah(at)wvgreenworks(dot)com.

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