Venture Accelerator at CSU welcomes first ventures

Colorado State University's recently established New Economy Venture Accelerator, housed in the College of Business' Center for Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise, has chosen its first three tenants. This first batch of "incubates" includes AYZH, Cradle Naturals and Small Engines for Economic Development. Each of the chosen ventures will receive space, financial support and mentoring support from NEVA's entrepreneurs-in-residence. The objective of the accelerator is to help start-ups from CSU advance to commercial viability.

NEVA, which received initial funding from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, Philanthropiece Foundation, New Belgium Brewery and the James and Cathy Epstein Foundation, will serve start-ups from across the university, including for-profits and non-profits, with a particular interest in ventures that integrate social and environmental considerations into their bottom line.

"These early choices reflect our desire to fill a niche that is supportive of other economic development actors in our community," said Carl Hammerdorfer, executive director of CSU's Center for Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise. "Unlike incubators designed to serve more mature ventures, NEVA will support ventures very early in their life cycle, helping entrepreneurs whose products are often still in the prototype stage and who are not yet far enough along to attract early stage financing."

The Center for Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise provides management and support to a variety of sustainability-related initiatives in the College of Business, including:

  • New Economy Venture Accelerator (NEVA);
  • Initiatives to deliver the GSSE MBA via partner institutions in developing countries;
  • Sustainability Executive Education (SEE); and 
  •  Communities of Practice around sustainable enterprise

Snapshot of NEVA companies

AYZH, Inc. (pronounced "eyes") is a for-profit social venture developing and distributing products to improve the health and livelihood of impoverished women in rural communities in India.

Cradle Naturals seeks to bring organic food and beverage products - primarily from Africa - to the United States market. Cradle's initial product is "coffee leaf tea", a unique beverage made from the organic leaves of the coffee tree.

SEED's mission is to improve the quality of life for rural farmers in South Asia (Indian Subcontinent) through affordable and sustainable irrigation practices. SEED will help increase the net income of small landholder farmers by developing irrigation products and services that are not only affordable but are also designed for their small farms.

For more information about NEVA, contact Hammerdorfer at 970-491-8734 or Carl.Hammerdorfer@business.colostate.edu or Zubaida Bai at zubaidahabib@gmail.com.