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Acceleration program for clean energy startups

20 June 2017

The success of UTS’ evolving startup precinct can be shown through the successful launch of EnergyLab – a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting clean energy innovation across Australia.

At a recent EnergyLab panel discussion on the future of Australia’s electricity grid: Chris McLean (Energetics), Dani Alexander (Institute for Sustainable Futures), Leesa Blazley (Solafast), Iain MacGill (School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, UNSW) & James Tilbury (EnergyLab)

Established in partnership with UTS’ Institute for Sustainable Futures, EnergyLab runs Australia’s first business accelerator program for clean energy startups. After initially launching its Acceleration Program in April, focused on assisting startups in the development of innovations essential to achieving a 100% clean energy future, EnergyLab has opened applications for a second intake of companies to the Acceleration Program.

Utilising UTS’ support of cutting edge approaches to energy technology and support of developing startups, the Acceleration Program provides support services such as mentoring and business coaching, as well as access to networks of investors and industry leaders, in order to accelerate each startups’ development and improve their chances of success.

Additionally, UTS provides working space in their historic Blackfriars campus, as well as the support of researchers from the Institute for Sustainable Futures, in order to foster the development of knowledge relating to clean energy technologies, and to develop a community dedicated to furthering UTS’ role in contributing to a 100% clean energy future.

EnergyLab’s program is differentiated from other accelerators in Sydney by focusing specifically on the unique needs of startups working in the energy industry. Best practice from cleantech accelerators around the world was sourced in the development of the program, including input from Climate-KIC, who have significant experience running similar programs in Europe. 

The first cohort of companies engaged with the Acceleration Program are developing innovations within solar energy, electric vehicles, energy efficiency and energy efficient buildings. These companies are further supported by a minimum of $50,000 of investment from The Clean Energy Seed Fund, established by Artesian Venture Partners and EnergyLab in April to foster the innovation ecosystem in Australia’s clean energy sector. Through receiving a cornerstone investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the fund will provide significant support in raising further capital for startups supported by the Innovation Program.

The success of the first intake of companies and the opening of applications for a second intake of companies to the Acceleration Program shows EnergyLab’s unique place within the startup accelerator space in Sydney, as well as the potential for innovation developed by clean energy startups.

“The progress we’ve seen in EnergyLab’s first cohort in just six weeks is inspiring and has given us confidence that there is a real need for support tailored towards clean energy startups,” said Piers Grove, Executive Director of EnergyLab. “Being in a position to see the great diversity of clean energy startups in Australia is one of the best things about this job, and we can’t wait to see who applies for this cohort.”

Jobs for NSW CEO Karen Borg added: “The private-sector led, NSW Government supported Jobs for NSW provided a $120,000 grant to support the fitout and first year operating costs of EnergyLab, to help create Australia’s first startup accelerator program focused on developing the state’s renewable and advanced energy sector. It is fantastic to see EnergyLab now achieving positive progress in developing emerging clean energy technology companies for what is an exciting growth industry of the future.”

Applications for the second cohort of the Acceleration Program are now open and will close on July 9. Selected startups will be announced in August before starting the program in September. For more information and to apply visit energylab.org.au/acceleration.