Andrew Carter, Marion Star Published 6:41 a.m. ET June 19, 2020 | Updated 6:42 a.m. ET June 19, 2020
MARION — Jason Jordan said he's not interested in becoming the next tech mogul; he just wants to help people....
Jordan, a Marion County native who returned to the community with his wife and children about six years ago, is the founder and owner of Jordan Energy Alternative (JEA), a company committed to developing "renewable energy products for residential and business applications," according to his website jordanenergyalternative.com. He works as a system test engineer for Whirlpool Corporation.
Jordan's concept earned top honors in the The Forge Business Plan Competition's for-profit division in November 2019. He was awarded $2,500 in seed funding to help get his business up and running.
Winners selected in Marion County business competition
The Forge was created by the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce's 2017 Leadership Marion Class. Scott Hughes, a faculty member at Marion Technical College, is the instructor for The Forge. All classes are conducted at MTC.
Since winning that competition, Jordan has been busy networking with fellow entrepreneurs and venture capital experts, further developing his ideas and learning about ways to finance his project in order to make the concepts a reality.
JEA was selected as one of six finalists in the 2020 IGNITE Business Pitch Competition in Columbus. However, the finals were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was a disappointment that the event didn't happen, but being selected as one of the finalists was encouraging," Jordan said. "It was exciting to earn that validation on a regional level."
Jordan has developed a relationship with BRITE Energy Innovators, a clean energy incubator based in Warren, Ohio. He's excited about the possibilities that partnership could lead to for JEA.
"I've been participating with them on weekly calls and it's kind of become my home base now," he said. "The very first event I went to was at a Tesla dealership in Columbus and (Youngstown State University President) Jim Tressel was speaking. I was like, 'I want to be a part of this.' They've been able to help me learn how to stay resilient in the current environment and make connections outside of Ohio. The key connection they've helped make is with CleanTech Open Accelerator out of Los Angeles."
Founded in 2006, CleanTech Open runs the world's largest clean technology accelerator program. According to its website, CleanTech Open "has worked with over 1,500 early stage cleantech innovators, helping them develop their business models, engage investors and secure first customers."
Jordan said JEA has been selected to participate in the CleanTech Open 2020 cohort.
"This acceleration program will gain us access to business and technology experts as well as high-profile investors," he said. "All of this leads to a late October Global Forum and pitch contest. We are extremely excited to be included in this endeavor." Jordan is also developing relationships with clean energy organizations overseas, sharing ideas, and learning new concepts. Locally, Jordan has surrounded himself with what he called "a really good group of advisers."
"Jeremy Dunn is in business development and finance and he's been coaching me along," Jordan said. "Ashley Cheatham works in supply chain management for Big Lots. That's something we're inching toward; bringing materials in and out. Josh Cooper is a wiz with sales and marketing. The business is pre-revenue still, but with some of the programs we're part of, we have to start putting things like supply chain and sales into our plan. They've each been critical in helping me out."
Using his own home as a lab, Jordan is testing two types of residential units: a small solar panel array and a portable wind turbine, both of which are located in his front yard. Still in its early stages of development, the smart home system would allow consumers to monitor power usage and efficiency in each room of their home or business. The system will provide detailed analytics that will help customers determine if appliances need to be replaced or other work needs to be done.
The blockchain technology Jordan is developing would allow people to exchange energy.
"It allows us to exchange value without using third parties," he said. "It's the concept of an open marketplace where I can store energy from solar panels and if I don't need it that night, I can exchange it to my neighbor's house at a much lower cost than the peak hour usage. It's basically decentralized energy."
Jordan said the concept doesn't involve trying to compete with or eliminate electric utility companies, but rather develop partnerships with them.
"The utilities provide an invaluable service through the infrastructure of the power network," he said. "What I want to do is help them develop and upgrade their infrastructure to try and improve energy efficiency and make it less expensive for everybody."
Jordan said he's learning that the concept of offering low- or no-cost energy generation to help middle and low income families involves development of numerous partnerships.
"There's very interesting ways to spread that cost out over time so that we build the traction and people are offered that opportunity to self-generate energy and not have the $15,000 to $20,000 expense out of pocket," he said. "We form partnerships with utility companies and local municipalities, then build the infrastructure of offsite power generation and distribute the energy through the blockchain. Whirlpool already has the turbines on its site and there's other projects starting in the local area and we want to participate in that as well."
While Jordan is optimistic and excited about the future of his enterprise, he remains grounded and likely won't forget the people and organizations that have helped him launch his dream.
"Without Marion Technical College, The Forge, and the chamber, I wouldn't be doing any of this stuff," Jordan said.
CleanTech Open, What is it and How Can You Get
Due to the Coronavirus, many sporting events have been forced to cancel, but while the French Open has been postponed, CleanTech Open is still on.
The CleanTech Open funds startups which promote clean technology, with the aim of forging a sustainable future.
Since it began in 2005, CleanTech Open has trained 1,600+ clean technology startup entrepreneurs and created over 3,000 clean economy jobs.
There are a variety of challenges and competitions which startups can take part in to receive funding.
The organisation is the biggest accelerator programme for the industry in the world and operates on the principle of the three f’s: find, fund and foster.
Here are some clean technology examples from previous years, which CleanTech Open has been able to support:
Jason Jordan was enraged when he and his fellow Ohian residents were charged an extra fee, subsidising two nuclear power plants when many were struggling to meet the bill beforehand.
Furthermore, Ohio burns coal for 59% of its electricity, a finite source which will one day run out.
Jason decided that something must be done, so he founded the Jordan Energy Alternative, which provides affordable renewable energy products – such as solar panels – for homes and small businesses.
The startup won $10,000USD for the Global Ideas Award 2019, for a design which looks like a Robovac crossed with a barnacle.
SINN Power uses wave energy technology to supply clean energy from the largest renewable source on planet earth: the sea. The invention is placed on the coast, receiving wave upon wave which is turned into energy. “We see a future where the power of nature and technology become one,” claims the startup.
Although showers save far more water than baths, unused water continues to be wasted down the drain, literally.
With bushfires increasing in intensity across the planet as greenhouse gasses make the world hotter, this precious water is needed to protect people and the planet from destruction.
The Oasense (pronounced: oh-eh-sense) shower head can sense when the bather is standing under the shower head and turns the water flow off when they move away to apply shampoo – saving water.
Do you want to get involved with CleanTech Open?
If you’d like to become a part of the CleanTech Open programme, there are many ways to do so:
However, if you would much prefer to seek investment for your startup, click here.
Our world is changing. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown the leaders of the globe how simultaneously vulnerable and resistant the current status quo is.
Many are hoping to make use of this moment – in preparing our world against climate change.
If you have a promising idea, there are investors waiting to hear from you. Get involved with CleanTech Open and get your idea off the ground.