Life cycle theories suggest that businesses evolve through a number of stages: from an embryonic stage of introduction to growth, maturity, and decline. The force that propels their development is consumer acceptance. Industries pass through life cycles as well. However, not all industries pass through each stage of the life cycle, and the duration of stages varies across industries. Some industries skip the slow introductory phase; others avoid the decline stage and are continually revitalised through technological innovation. Still others continue to show substantial promise, but fail to take‐off. It is this industry condition, persistent promise without corresponding growth, that we characterise as extended gestation. We believe that energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) businesses in Minnesota face the challenge of extended gestation. In this paper, we review the literature on the traditional stages of industry development, explore some of the factors that may lead an industry to remain in a state of extended gestation, and report the results of a study undertaken to better understand the factors that affect the growth of EERE businesses.