The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²), a technology incubator co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, has announced its seventh round of Channel Partner Strategic Awards. This year, IN² has allocated $970,000 among seven winners to support innovative projects that enhance and diversify the cleantech and agtech sectors.
The funding, ranging from $100,000 to $250,000, was awarded to projects based on their capacity-building potential, emphasizing promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as supporting pilot and demonstration projects for startups—the awards aimed to ensure equitable fund distribution across the United States.
Trish Cozart, IN² Program Manager at NREL, highlighted the significance of the IN² Channel Partner Network, which she said: “fosters meaningful connections and provides critical support to a diverse group of industry stakeholders.”
The 2023 Channel Partner Strategic Award recipients include AgLaunch, BRITE Energy Innovators, the Centrepolis Accelerator, Evergreen Climate Innovations, Grid Catalyst, Launch Alaska, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, and Urban Future Lab. These organizations span various states and aim to enhance support for underrepresented groups in the cleantech space, increase the participation of minority farmers, and boost climate tech startups, among other initiatives.
Robyn Luhning, Chief Sustainability Officer at Wells Fargo, stated that a resilient, equitable, and sustainable future demands innovation in climate-clean tech, expressing pride in supporting a diverse group of entrepreneurs through the Channel Partner Awards.
In addition to the Strategic Awards, IN² awarded $19,000 in Connector Awards earlier this year and planned to distribute another $16,000 this summer.
Since its inception in 2017, the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Channel Partner Strategic Awards program has disbursed over $6 million, backing 55 Strategic Awards and 174 Ecosystem or Connector Awards. The program engages thousands of entrepreneurs, students, investors, mentors, and industry experts nationwide. Startups supported by the program have raised $208 million and $5 million in matched program funding. The IN² program has also significantly provided entrepreneurial opportunities for historically underrepresented groups in the cleantech industry.
Image provided by the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator
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