Accel-VT to Graduate First Climate Economy Business Cohort
Eight climate change innovation entrepreneurs participate in business accelerator to help solve distributed energy challenges with the electric grid while honing business models for success in the marketplace
Eight entrepreneurial start-up companies will convene next week at Burlington Electric Department’s Spark Space for the final “sprint” of Accel-VT—a business accelerator providing support, mentorship, and access to capital for early stage companies committed to climate economy innovation. The businesses were competitively selected to participate in Accel-VT to help solve the challenges related to the monitoring and control of distributed energy (e.g., storage, electric vehicles, solar, community scale wind, combined heat and power) and include Packetized Energy of Burlington, Dynamic Organics of Putney, and businesses from Maine, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, and Texas.
In February, the third and final time this cohort of Accel-VT entrepreneurs is working together in person to improve their business plans, network with renewable energy industry leaders, meet with potential clients in Vermont electric utilities, and fast track their way to securing financial investments so they can grow or possibly relocate their business to Vermont. Additionally, two of the companies will be selected by their peers to each receive a $25,000 cash prize.
“Accel-VT entrepreneurs have really worked hard over the last 3 months to hone their investment pitch, strengthen their business and product value proposition, and learn to think like an investor. This will make it much easier for them to raise the capital they need to scale their company as now they better understand how to talk to investors,” says Geoff Robertson, business assistance director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.
Accel-VT is managed by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a nonprofit organization working to improve sustainable economic development in Vermont. Partners include Burlington Electric Department and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies. Accel-VT launched at the Catalysts of the Climate Economy National Innovation Summit held in Burlington in September 2017, which focused on the challenges presented by climate change as opportunities for economic growth for climate solution businesses in Vermont.
“Accel-VT serves as a compelling example of how Vermont utilities are partnering to foster energy innovation for the benefit of our customers,” said Neale Lunderville, general manager of Burlington Electric Department. “As the first city in the nation to source 100 percent of its power through renewable generation, Burlington is a leader in moving our country away from fossil fuels. Accel-VT opens doors for energy entrepreneurs who share our goal of a greener planet, and these companies help boost economic development all around Vermont.”
All of Vermont’s 20 utilities (electric, gas, transmission, and efficiency) are interested in the solutions these entrepreneurs offer for electric grid stability, could be potential clients, and all serve as Accel-VT sponsors.
“The opportunity to make an impact on innovation within the renewable energy sector is greatest when you have key influencers across the industry working together – from utilities, research entities, investors and entrepreneurs,” said David Bradbury, president of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET). “Accel-VT is the first coordinated initiative in 20 years to successfully bring these parties together, and VCET is enormously proud to be behind this initiative. The support and engagement of Accel-VT ranges from mentoring to advising to investing, and the outcomes are driving positive change in renewable energy for Vermont and across the country.”
The Accel-VT curriculum was developed by Village Capital, a national business accelerator model designed for high-growth ventures solving major societal problems that want to raise money from venture capital investors. The goal is to enable the eight Accel-VT businesses to secure investments so they can bring their product to market swiftly and strategically partner with utilities and other renewable energy generation businesses to help solve the challenges related to the monitoring and control of distributed energy.
Learn more at www.accelvt.com.
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund is a nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the sustainable development of Vermont’s economy. VSJF provides business assistance, network development, strategic planning, and value chain facilitation in agriculture and food system, forest product, waste management, renewable energy, and environmental technology sectors. The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1995 to partner with state government, private sector businesses, and nonprofits to build a thriving economic, social, and ecological future for Vermont. www.vsjf.org
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