Innovators Network

Demonstrate and Deploy Clean Energy

Grid Catalyst was established to elevate Minnesota’s leadership in climate action and innovation, while also expanding the opportunities for clean energy jobs. To do so, we need a broad network of partners  to provide a pathway for emerging businesses to demonstrate and deploy their solutions. Read more about the Innovators Network and the opportunity.

Pledge your support for clean energy innovation by hosting a demonstration project in partnership with a clean energy startup. The pledge is non-binding and a rigorous process will be used to vet and pair cohort businesses with demonstration sites. These partnerships are essential in establishing the real-world applications and potential of our emerging technologies. To deploy and scale, we have to demonstrate at scale.

Reach out to our team to discuss the possibilities –

Innovators network

2022 Demonstration Partners

Grid Catalyst was established to elevate Minnesota’s leadership in climate action and innovation, while also expanding the opportunities for clean energy jobs.

Our accelerator has a unique approach, matching Minnesota energy leaders with startups to demonstrate and deploy their solutions. For our 2022 cohort, six of our Innovators Network partners were matched for implementing demonstration projects. 2022 cohort announcement.

For future projects, we have 14 partners committed to supporting startups and projects by hosting or facilitating a project through their facilities or networks. These partners will play a key role in helping us identify implementable and high priority technologies. 

  • Grid Catalyst was launched in 2021 to accelerate clean energy deployment.
  • It is the only clean energy accelerator focused on project demonstration and deploying solutions for northern climate challenges.
  • It is a signature program of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM), an industry‐led, 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Host Partners

Conduit Partners

Joining the Innovators Network

We are seeking early‐stage partners to join our Innovators Network, with two available roles:

Benefits Provided to Innovation Network Partners

Innovators network
Impact ‐ Working together to act on climate and strengthen our regional economy
Early interest from partners will show startups that Minnesota is serious about developing and deploying innovation. This will attract a high‐caliber slate of candidates to the accelerator cohort, with priority recruiting and selection given to startups led by people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+.
Visibility ‐ Elevate your organization’s commitment to clean energy

Innovator Network partners will be featured on the Grid Catalyst website, in digital media, and industry storytelling. Hosts will be featured in ongoing media and communications campaigns.

Opportunity – Introductions to emerging technology and promising entrepreneurs
Partners will be introduced to emerging businesses with innovative solutions that have been through a vetting process with technical and financial advisors. This creates an opportunity for investment, collaboration, and customizing solutions to meet your unique climate and clean energy needs.

Exploring the Partner Commitment

We matched our first cohort in March 2022 and will be adding new Innovators Network partners for our next startup recruiting cycle, slated for Summer 2022. Partners will have the opportunity to be matched with an emerging business for showcase demonstrations. Partners must have:

  • A commitment to initiatives that reduce carbon and address northern climate energy challenges.
  • The ability to host a project within your facilities, operations, or other controlled and available site.
  • Or the ability to assist with Grid Catalyst’s efforts to secure demonstration sites and partners.

Pledging interest in the Innovators Network does not obligate any organization or individual to host a demonstration project or work directly with any cohort member of the accelerator. This is a non‐ binding commitment to help our initiative build momentum and highlight the immense capacity and interest of clean energy partners in Minnesota. 

Clean energy accelerator

What's Next - Cohort and Demonstration Selection Process

Having just completed a matchmaking cycle between our Innovators Network and startups, we will be opening up a rolling cohort application this summer (2022). In the coming months, our team will work closely with the Innovators Network to identify the highest potential technologies and solutions that could be demonstrated at partner sites. This information will be used to refine the selection criteria for the startup application and screening process.

Startups that apply for the program will go through two rounds of vetting with technical, financial, and business experts to determine which are viable and promising for demonstration projects. Innovators Network partners would then have an opportunity to connect with the startups and determine if there is a pathway to a demonstration partnership. This vetting process is anticipated to occur on a quarterly basis.

Once highest‐potential demonstration partnerships are identified, Grid Catalyst will support the implementation planning process, including project scope and budget evaluation, site assessment, and consideration of permitting, financing, and monitoring parameters.

For more information, contact Nina Axelson: or (612) 695-1288.

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