Cleantech Open Appoints Richard Franklin to Chairman of Its Board of Directors

The Cleantech Open, the world's largest accelerator of early-stage clean-technology companies, announced the election of Richard Franklin to the board of the Cleantech Open, and his appointment to board chair. Franklin will draw from his deep knowledge of the organization, as well as his 35 years of executive leadership experience, to guide the Cleantech Open through its accelerating international expansion.

"We are thrilled to have Dick on board to serve as an integral part of our organization," said Marc Gottschalk, one of the Cleantech Open's original founders, outgoing board chair, and partner with Sidley Austin LLP. "He has been an incredibly effective executive director for, and founder of, our Rocky Mountain region. Dick is also a prodigious fundraiser, and with his long record of successful executive leadership, he is going to be a tremendous asset. I can't think of a better person to take up the mantle."

Since its founding in 2006, the one-of-a-kind annual accelerator and mentorship program has enabled more than 1,000 participating companies in the United States alone to raise in excess of $1.1 billion and has created thousands of jobs. Internationally, the Cleantech Open's partnerships with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have led to the creation of the Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP). Over the last two years, successful GCIP accelerator programs have been launched in developing and emerging countries, including India, Malaysia and Pakistan. This partnership has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of applicants to well over 1,000 worldwide this year, with more than 300 of them being selected for intensive training and launch this year through Cleantech Open-supported efforts.

"At this time of unprecedented global climate challenges, the Cleantech Open is answering the call by scaling up its ability to train entrepreneurs and grow successful cleantech companies around the world," said Dick Franklin. "Our Global Network is now receiving more than 1000 new applications and technologies annually, which could have a tremendous impact on reducing the risks associated with climate change. I am thrilled to be able to take the helm and continue to build upon this incredible track record."

Franklin brings extensive C-level experience with corporations such as Reebok, Coors, Head, Cooper, Seven-Up, TCI, and Nestlé, in both Canada and the U.S. His expertise is in leadership, marketing, strategic positioning, branding, business development, strategic sales, start-up commercialization, and sustainable business modeling. Among Mr. Franklin's many community and board activities are United Way, Children's Museum, Audubon Society, Denver Chamber, Renewable Energy Taskforce, CORE, Earth Protect, the Colorado Clean Tech Industry Association, and most recently, Clear Comfort Technologies.

He earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from St. Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia; a Master of Business Administration from Dalhousie University, Halifax; and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce degree in 1999. In 2008, the South Metro Denver Chamber awarded him with the "Community Leader of the Year" award. In 2010, he was nominated for the "Governor's Award for Cleantech Leadership." In 2013, Franklin received the "Father of the Year Award" from the American Diabetes Association, and in 2014 was awarded the Cleantech Leadership Award by the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association.


The Cleantech Open is the world's largest cleantech accelerator. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today's most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual accelerator and mentorship program, over 1,000 participating companies in the United States alone have raised a total of more than $1.1 billion and created thousands of jobs. In 2014, the Cleantech Open's Global Accelerator was launched, the Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP): a joint program of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Cleantech Open. Cleantech Open Global Ideas, a search for the most promising clean-technology ideas across the planet, is held annually in collaboration with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), and has included entrepreneurs from 43 countries. Fueled by a global network of more than 2,000 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making the cleantech sectors a thriving economic engine around the world. For more information, visit, or follow us on @cleantechopen and Facebook.