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 what’s possible.

Reach out to our team to discuss the possibilities –

Team reviewing solar panel

Demonstration Cohort Opportunity

Each year, Grid Catalyst will recruit the best and brightest energy startups to compete for a spot in our Demonstration Cohort.  The members of the Innovators Network are invited to listen to pitches from the finalists in the program, an opportunity to hear about incredible, emerging technologies. For those who find a technology that aligns with their priorities, they can identify a startup to explore a demonstration project. 

If the startup and Innovators Network partner align on scope, timing, and budget, the startup will be selected for the Demonstration Cohort and the partners will have 12 months to mobilize the project. 

  • Over 30 partners participate in pitch events.
  • Startups will pitch for the opportunity to develop a pilot project with a Minnesota-based partner.
  • 2024 and 2025 demonstration projects will receive funding support through Minnesota Energy Alley.
  • Participation in pitch events does not obligate partners to host a project and is a great way to learn about emerging technologies and new business partnership opportunities. .

Innovators Network Partners

Collaborative Partners


Benefits Provided to Innovation Network Partners

Team reviewing solar panel
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

Partners who pledge for the 2025 Innovators Network, agree to the following:

  • Their organization has a commitment to initiatives that reduce carbon and address northern climate energy challenges.
  • Listing the organization on our website and included in promotional materials as a partner (this is also a benefit!)
  • Participation in Fall 2024 pitch events.
  • Provide brief feedback on startup pitches.

Pledging interest in the Innovators Network does not obligate any organization or individual to mentor a startup or host a demonstration project. 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.  

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  • Grid Catalyst was launched in 2021 to accelerate clean energy deployment.
  • We have nearly 40 Minnesota partners in our collective efforts to strengthen our regional energy innovation ecosystem.
  • It is the only clean energy accelerator that enables project demonstration and focuses on solutions for northern climate challenges.

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