The NREL Industry Growth Forum has been a leader in the clean energy industry for over 20 years. Before cleantech found its bearings as an industry, or was coined as a buzzword, NREL recognized a gap in the market for startups developing renewable energy and energy efficiency technology solutions. In founding the Forum, the first investment and networking event of it’s kind, NREL sought to bridge this gap by connecting early stage innovators with receptive sources of capital.
As media buzz and investment dollars have since flowed to the sector; numerous programs, competitions, and events have emerged to support the ever-evolving and encompassing clean energy ecosystem. Despite the influx of players and opportunities, the Forum remains, and has proven to have a tried and true impact on emerging startups in this sector.
ICYMI, here are the top 10 reasons startups with a renewable energy or energy efficiency technology solution should apply to the 2015 IGF (Application deadline July 17th!)
- Expert Feedback- Company applications are reviewed and scored by the Forum’s Selection Committee of over 80 leading investors and national incubators, who provide written feedback to applicants.
- Education- In partnership with the Forum, support organizations provide webinars and resources to applicants throughout the application process to help them advance their company forward.
- Competition– Each year over 150 companies apply to present at the Forum. Following a robust review and selection process, the top 30 companies are invited to present at the Forum, representing diverse technology applications and development stages.
- Mentorship – The 30 selected companies are paired with an industry mentor to assist in pitch preparation.
- Networking- Applicants get early access to sign up for private 10 minute meetings with investors and strategic partners during the 3 hour One-on-One Networking session that kicks off the Forum.
- Connection- The Forum convenes 400 attendees comprised of diverse types of investment professionals, Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, technologists, and key government agencies- for 2 days of opportunity. We provide the platform, and it’s up to you to take advantage of it!
- Access- All startup applicants receive a discount registration of $300 to attend the Forum (normally $800).
- Insight- Through the Forum attendees are able to connect with other industry influencers and innovators as well as receive insight into the technology development and analysis being done at NREL. Learn how to partner with the lab, license technology, and utilize our world-class facilities.
- Exposure– NREL and the Forum have one of the strongest brands in the clean energy industry. Through your application, presentation and networking opportunities at the Forum you receive exposure to hundreds of the world’s leading clean energy investors, executives, and technologists – the Forum is chalked full of exposure for your young startup.
- Opportunity- The Forum provides an ideal platform to refine your strategy & pitch, connect with the investment community, build relationships with strategic partners or potential customers, and ultimately is a chance to LAUNCH startups forward. Is your company up to the challenge?
By Renae Golden, NREL Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center