PowerNorth Incubator

Recruit, prepare, and match hardtech energy startups with corporate partners to accelerate product refinement and go-to-market strategies for high-potential tech.

a new opportunity for startups.

Grid Catalyst is kicking off 2023 with a new opportunity for startups through our PowerNorth Incubator. Minnesota has a robust energy economy and innovation ecosystem of established companies, vibrant startups, leading research centers, government support, and cross-sector partnerships. Minnesota is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies, many of which are leaders in energy and sustainability. We are also home to the most global Circular Economy 100 companies on the planet. Additionally, Minnesota has some of the most forward-thinking energy utility companies and a thriving clean energy economy. All of which adds up to a promising incubator landscape for startups looking to advance and scale.

This program will support hardtech startups on the pathway to commercialization and scaling by:

  • Hosting incubator programming and a support system that is specifically curated for hardtech energy entrepreneurs and takes into consideration the technical feasibility and commercialization hurdles for those startups.
  • Deepening collaboration with a network of partners, primarily mature energy and industrial businesses and leaders, who can invest in, mentor, and support entrepreneurs in this sector and region.
  • Prioritizing diverse founders. To have a thriving energy innovation ecosystem, we are committed to elevating underrepresented founders in this sector.

This incubator platform was recently selected by the Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions as a semifinalist in their Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC).

Powernorth incubator timeline

Why Apply?

The program was developed to give startups and entrepreneurs the opportunity to work with the incredible ecosystem of energy, cleantech, and sustainability-committed companies in Minnesota, whose expertise and market leadership can be game changing for startups. The target outcomes of the program include the following:

  • Potential investment by the host corporation or a partner organization
  • A refined business or go-to-market plan
  • Development of or improvement of a prototype
  • Future partnership for a proof-of-concept demonstration (with matched host or other regional partner through the Grid Catalyst Demonstration Accelerator)

Program Structure

Application and 1st Pitch
Startups will apply to the program by January 31, 2023. A group of 20 semifinalists will be selected to receive pitch coaching and participate in a virtual pitch event with a slate of regional corporate partners, interested in working with the startup. This pitch event is slated for March 2, 2023. Applicants who are not selected for the pitch event are invited to sign up for a coaching session with the Grid Catalyst team to improve their pitch approach and prepare for their next opportunity.

Innovators Network

Connecting startups with energy and cleantech leaders in Minnesota is key to a thriving innovation ecosystem for our region. For our demonstration accelerator, 14 organizations supported recruitment and 6 were matched for demonstration projects. For the PowerNorth Incubator, we have recently added CenterPoint Energy, Cummins, Mortenson Construction, the St. Thomas Center for Microgrid Research, and Xcel Energy to the slate of partners.

Interested companies can click here to learn more about the opportunity and commitment for this program.

Innovators Network partners have an immense opportunity to catalyze startups, decarbonization, economic development, manufacturing, and regional competitiveness in the energy and cleantech sectors.

Questions about the PowerNorth Incubator can be directed to info@gridcatalyst.org. Information sessions will be scheduled in early January.

Team reviewing solar panel

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