LA Cleantech Global Showcase Kicks Off

Informational signs at the showcase gave entrepreneurs advice on accessing the state’s water and energy markets. (Belinda Cai/Neon Tommy)

Hundreds of entrepreneurs gathered for the first day of the L.A. Cleantech Global Showcase Monday morning at the Los Angeles Theatre Center downtown, in discussion of how the city could better serve as a national hub for environmental technology.

“We’ve got a huge challenge before us,” Tomo Soto, managing partner of TCW/Craton, a private equity firm, told the crowd. Participants had just run through an investment workshop and a presentation on access to water and energy markets of California.

“The end goal is critically important — that’s to improve the quality of life for more than 16,000 million residents living in this region, while enhancing the economy of the state and the nation,” Soto continued. “To accomplish that, we are going to need everyone’s help — everyone sitting in this room.”

Delivering the keynote speech, Gina McCarthy from the Environmental Protection Agency, acknowledged the challenges of creating what she called “smart policy.”

Gina McCarthy’s keynote speech. (Belinda Cai/Neon Tommy)

“It takes really, really hard work, which actually brings life to all of these clean technology businesses that all of you are working to generate and get out into the market,” said McCarthy, who has worked for more than 30 years on critical environmental issues at the federal, state and local levels.

Some of the participating companies include 360 PowerGroup, Axiom Energy and VENA. 360 PowerGroup has invented and patented designs for electric generators that reduce operating fuel costs, Axiom offers the lowest-cost form of energy storage for supermarkets and VENA is developing a zero energy water harvesting technology.

Among those there to attract business was Allison Kalenga, from the Economic Development Group at the Department of Water & Power.

“We do that kind of by reaching out to a lot of the businesses and showing them the many programs that DWP has to offer, like incentives to get people to do business here through water rebate, energy efficiency, grants and loan programs,” she said.

Allison Kalenga and Martha Rodriguez representing Department of Water and Power. (Belinda Cai/Neon Tommy)

To combat the state’s environmental problems, said Kalenga, it is crucial that the public looks toward sustainability. “There is a big crisis in regards to the water and so it’s very important to educate not just our residents that are clients, but also our businesses, on ways to conserve energy and water. It will help with reduction of their bills and will make their businesses more profitable.”

Distributing brochures beside Kalenga was Martha Rodriguez, also representing the Department of Water & Power. Consumers could also enjoy rebates on the conservation of water, she said.

“For commercial customers, a lot of it is just the smaller stuff [with] easy payback — upgrades on their toilet systems or their irrigation system,” she said. “They can completely remove their grass and get incentives and savings.”

The conference continues Tuesday.

Originally written for Neon Tommy: CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY.

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