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Rice University teams up with Chase for new small business initiative

The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University has a new partnership with Chase that will offer professional resources. Photo via rice.edu

A school at Rice University has been tapped by Chase for Business to help provide free, online courses to small businesses.

Rice's Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies will be offering short courses as a part of a Small Business Series.

"Chase for Business is committed to our small-business partners and their ongoing success," says James Connolly, Houston market manager for Chase Business Banking, in a news release. "We're providing tools and resources that will not only help them survive our current economy, but also thrive in the months and years to come. Partnering with the Glasscock School presents a great educational opportunity from a trusted source right here in our community."

Three courses first three courses will be available to all Chase for Business clients beginning in February. The first classes are as follows:

  • Getting Results With Creative Online Marketing taught by Tim deSilva, founder and CEO of Culture Pilot.
  • Data Storytelling and Decision Making with instructors Marissa Rosenberg and Jocelyn Dunn, both from NASA's Johnson Space Center.
  • Cash Management taught by Karen A. Nielsen, Certified Treasury Professional, Enterprise Initiatives, Zions Bancorporation.

More classes are expected to come out later this spring. This initiative is the latest in the school's efforts to offer the business community resources amid the pandemic. Last year, the Glasscock School introduced its Back in Business and Back to Work initiatives, which provided low-cost workshops, courses, and consulting from professionals and educators.

"The Glasscock School's whole purpose is to provide accessible training and education of the highest quality to our community," says David Vassar, assistant dean for professional and corporate programs, in the release. "Partnering with Chase allows us to bring our mission to small-business leaders and ultimately support the rebound of Houston's economy. We're thrilled to be a part of this effort."

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Building Houston

 
 

As of this week, Lara Cottingham is the chief of staff at Greentown Labs. Photo via LinkedIn

The country's largest climatetech startup incubator has made a strategic new hire.

Lara Cottingham is the new chief of staff for Greentown Labs, a Boston-area company that opened in Houston earlier this year. Cottingham previously served as the city of Houston's chief sustainability officer and the chief of staff for the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department for the past seven years. In her new role, Cottingham will oversee the day-to-day operations and communications for Greentown's CEO Emily Reichert, along with key stakeholder engagements and strategic initiatives for the incubator.

"Lara brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to our team from her dynamic leadership role at the City of Houston," says Reichert in a news release. "Her breadth of knowledge in sustainability, climate, and the energy transition, and her expertise in regulatory and stakeholder aspects of the energy industry, will be incredibly valuable to our team and community."

Under her leadership at the city of Houston, Cottingham was the chief author of Houston's Climate Action Plan, an initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Houston, and getting the city to a point where it meets the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Cottingham helped the city move to 100 percent renewable electricity, according to the release, and helped turn a 240-acre landfill into the nation's largest urban solar farm.

"In leading the Climate Action Plan, Lara helped spark Houston's leadership in what has become a global energy transition and was a passionate advocate for climate action in Houston," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the release. "While she will be missed, this new role will only strengthen our partnership with Greentown. I look forward to working with Emily, Lara, and the Greentown team to meet our climate goals and make Houston the energy capital of the future."

Before her work at the city, Cottingham worked at Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Houston office range of clients across the energy sector. Earlier in her career, she served as communications director for two congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives. She began her work with the city in 2014.

"In working with Mayor Turner and Climate Mayors across the U.S., I saw how important partnerships are to helping cities decarbonize," says Cottingham in the release. "There is no better partner or place for climate action at work than Greentown Labs. Greentown is 100 percent committed to attracting and nurturing the energy companies of the future and making Houston the energy transition capital of the world. I'm excited to join the team and see how climatetech can help cities reach their climate goals."

Greentown Labs first announced its entrance into the Houston market last summer. The new 40,000-square-foot facility in Midtown across the street from The Ion opened its prototyping and wet lab space, offices, and community gathering areas for about 50 startup companies opened in April. Greentown was founded in 2011 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has supported more than 400 startups, which have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding.

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