The Accelerator Funding Program provides grants to Massachusetts accelerators for specific activities with the goal of growing the cleantech innovation ecosystem and commercializing early stage cleantech startups. 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 OPEN. Proposal deadline is January 22, 2021. 

  • Applicants must be accelerator programs based in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and/or contain a large percentage of Massachusetts-based startups in their cohort.
  • Applicants must have startups that satisfy the definition of cleantech startup companies, as defined in the RFP.
  • Applicants are not required to exclusively host cleantech startups in their accelerators, but the accelerator must have a cleantech element or track.
  • 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 OPEN and will accept applications until January 22, 2021.
 
What is an accelerator?
 
“Accelerators” run programs that accept early stage companies on a competitive basis for a determined period of time. Participating startups gain certain business and technology advancement through the accelerator program. The programs typically work with a cohort of startups for a fixed period and culminate in a pitch event or demo day where the startups are eligible to compete for cash or in-kind prizes. Accelerators help mitigate market barriers by connecting startups with mentors, investors, corporate partners, and customers through organized events and workshops."
 
What is the definition of a Cleantech Startup?
 
“Cleantech Startups” are considered to be companies whose work meets the statutory definition of “clean energy” pursuant to M.G.L. c. 23J, Section 1, namely “…advanced and applied technologies that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of energy for 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…”
 
When should I expect a response from MassCEC after submitting my Accelerator Funding Program Application?
 
For the FY21 Accelerator Funding Program, MassCEC anticipates notifying applicants on award decisions in March 2021. Staff will typically be in touch with follow-up questions shortly after an application is received. 
 

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.