The IncubateMass Program provides funding to Massachusetts incubators with the goal of growing the clean energy innovation ecosystem and commercializing cleantech start-ups through incubator membership. This funding supports incubator activities, including but not limited to operations and management expenses, facilities and infrastructure build-outs, equipment purchases, networking events and workshops, growing strategic clusters, and professional development of incubator staff, among others as needed by incubator demand.

Grants are up to $150,000 per year and award payments are typically tied to incubator management deliverables and startup member milestones.

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

 

  • Applicants must be incubators (See FAQ for definition) capable of providing business incubation services to clean energy startups at a location(s) within the Commonwealth.
  • MassCEC seeks to support incubators that include the following components:
    • Shared space or access to other facilities (i.e. academic institutions or research laboratories) that cater to clean energy startups
    • Relevant programs and services including, but not limited to, business assistance and support services (e.g. educational workshops, networking events) to specifically to nurture clean energy startups
    • Shared equipment (or a plan to acquire necessary items)
    • Mentoring and coaching from a management team with the necessary experience and expertise to effectively support clean energy startups through various commercialization stages
  • Applicants are not required to exclusively host clean energy startups in their incubators, but the incubator must have a clean energy element to its operations and clientele.
  • 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 incubator model backed up by a credible business plan.  
  • Applicants are encouraged to have a track record of providing effective services to clean energy startups (e.g. tech development, fundraising and grant writing, customer acquisition). Examples of best practices can be found here.

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 IncubateMass grants and maintained strong performance during each grant period.
  • New incubators are welcome to apply and use the full application form

What is an incubator?

“Incubators typically charge monthly program fees or membership dues in exchange for office/desk space and access to program offerings. Incubators offer programs to member companies that typically include mentoring, education/training, and informal learning opportunities. Incubators also host events to provide networking and learning opportunities for both member companies and the local community. Member companies are usually required to apply to ensure they meet the incubator’s criteria or mission (industry, stage of company, founder demographics, etc.). Incubators usually have graduation policies based on achievement of agreed-upon milestones, growth metrics or time-based stipulations. Typically, companies join incubators on a rolling basis (non-cohort), and are able to reside in the incubator for 1-3 years.” (InBIA Industry of Terms, Version1.0, Feb. 2017. Pg. 1.)

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.

Can my incubator be located outside of the Commonwealth?

Incubator applicants must be located within the Commonwealth.

What is considered to be a Massachusetts company?

To be considered a Massachusetts based clean energy startup your company must have a majority of the following offices based in Massachusetts (as applicable):

  • Company headquarters
  • Primary research and development operations
  • Primary sales and marketing office
  • Primary manufacturing operations

How long after submitting my IncubateMass 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.  

MassCEC created the IncubateMass Program in 2013 in response to the growing number of incubators in Massachusetts and their need for increased development and support for clean energy startups. Startups and small business represent a critical component of the clean energy innovation ecosystem and economy with demonstrable impacts on job creation and accelerating the commercialization of new clean energy and water innovation technologies across the Commonwealth.

By providing their client companies with targeted business development support services and resources such as office space, mentors, specialized equipment, educational series and networks, incubators often can accelerate the development of cleantech startups and increase the success rate of member companies.