The Accelerator Funding Program provides grants to Massachusetts accelerators for specific activities with the goal of growing the clean energy innovation ecosystem and commercializing early stage cleantech start-ups. Grants fund accelerator activities, including operations and management expenses, events and educational series, growing strategic clusters, prizes, and scholarships for their current cohort of startups.

Grants are up to $120,000 per year and award payments are typically tied to accelerator staff deliverables and startup scholarship applications. 

This program is currently CLOSED. Anticipated to re-open in Fall 2020. 

  • Applicants must be accelerator programs based in the Commonwealth and/or contain a large percentage of Massachusetts-based startups in their cohort.
  • Applicants must have startups that satisfy the definition of “clean energy” (defined in the MassCEC Enabling Legislation here).
  • Applicants are not required to exclusively host clean energy startups in their accelerators, but the accelerator must have a clean energy element or track.
  • Applicants are encouraged to tailor their funding request to the needs of their regional economy.
  • Applicants should have experienced management teams, a documented track record of providing effective services to cleantech startups and a sustainable accelerator model backed up by a credible business plan.  

This program is currently CLOSED.

 

The typical application process under this program includes:

  • Interested parties must submit application documents to innovationecosystem@masscec.com
  • There is typically an abbreviated application form for incubators that have received over three AccelerateMass grants and maintained strong performance during each grant.
  • New accelerators are welcome to apply and use the full application form

What is an accelerator?

Accelerators accept early stage companies into their programs on a competitive basis for a fixed period. Typically, entrepreneurs will work through specific pain points and milestones to accelerate the life cycle of their companies. The programs typically run for 4-6 months and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day where start-ups can win cash or in-kind prizes. Accelerator staff help mitigate market barriers by connecting start-ups with mentors, investors, corporate partners and customers through organized events and educational workshops.

What is the definition of a clean energy startup?

Clean energy startups are defined as “...advanced and applied technologies that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of energy from non-renewable sources, including, but not limited to: energy efficiency; demand response; energy conservation and those technologies powered in whole or in part by the sun, wind, water, biomass, alcohol, wood, fuel cells any renewable, non-depletable or recyclable fuel..." MGL c. 23J s.1.

How long after submitting my Accelerator Funding application should I expect a response from MassCEC?

It typically takes anywhere from two to three months for MassCEC to make a funding decision. Staff will typically be in touch with follow-up questions shortly after an application is received.  

What can scholarships be used for?

MassCEC’s provides scholarships so start-ups going through accelerator programs to help achieve important commercialization milestones. A few examples of use of scholarship funds include, software or hardware prototype development, offsetting travel costs, filing patents, attending conferences, lab/equipment costs, marketing material, etc.

MassCEC has partnered with accelerator programs since 2011. This formal Accelerator Funding Program was launched in September 2019 to expand the pool of cleantech accelerator programs across Massachusetts, coordinate MassCEC’s various funding activities for accelerators, and maintain a consistent internal program structure for all accelerators. 

Accelerators provide strategic, valuable and complementary resources to MassCEC by attracting and accelerating the growth of early stage Massachusetts cleantech startups and improving the chances of their success. Accelerator graduates represent a pool of companies that are further along the commercialization path and can more easily attract private funding. While much of the funding supports accelerator program operations, MassCEC’s funding has also provided scholarships that recipients have used to achieve important commercialization milestones.