Ten years ago, the Nicholas School ventured into the world of high-tech innovation and impact investing by launching a Certificate in Environmental Entrepreneurship program for master’s students and awarding its first Innovation & Entrepreneurship grant to a student-led energy start-up called HyTower Energy Storage, Inc.

Today, those investments – which have expanded greatly over the last decade – are yielding huge dividends.

These efforts have funded numerous student-led start-ups, created new internship and networking opportunities for students, and paved the way for our highly touted Master of Environmental Management concentration in Business & Environment.

“What started as a stand-alone certificate program has become part of the fabric of our school and enabled us to respond proactively to the growing need for environmental professionals in the corporate, government and nonprofit spheres,” said Kevin McCarthy, associate dean for development and alumni relations.

“I can’t overstate how important the leadership of faculty members Jesko von Windheim and Deborah Gallagher has been to the development of these programs,” McCarthy said.

“Nor can I overstate the importance of our original ‘investors’ – Board of Visitors members Ken Hubbard, Lynn Gorguze, Sally Kleberg and Ginny and Michael Parker – without whose vision and generosity none of this would have been possible,” he said.

A new progress report documents many of the milestones made possible by those initial investments ten years ago, including mini profiles of nearly 30 student-led start-ups or projects that have received seed money to support entrepreneurial initiatives in clean energy, food systems, recycling, land management, conservation and other fields.

Von Windheim is the Nicholas School’s associate dean of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the Lynn Gorguze-Scott Peters Professor of Environmental Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Gallagher is the school’s associate dean for professional programs, chair of the Business & Environment concentration, and professor of the practice of resource and environmental policy.