The IncubateMass Program provides funding to Massachusetts incubators with the goal of growing the clean energy innovation ecosystem and commercializing cleantech startups 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 $175,000 per year and award payments are typically tied to incubator management deliverables and startup member milestones.

This program is currently OPEN. Proposal deadline is March 12, 2021.

 

  • Applicants must be Incubators (as defined in the RFP) capable of providing business incubation services to Cleantech Startups at a location within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Applicants must have startups that satisfy the definition of Cleantech Startups, as defined in the RFP.
  • Applicants are not required to exclusively host Cleantech Startups in their Incubators, but the Incubator must have a partial clean energy focus 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 by a credible business plan.
  • Applicants are encouraged to have a track record of providing effective services to Cleantech Startups (i.e. technology development, fundraising and grant writing, and customer acquisition. Examples of best practices can be found here).  

This program is currently OPEN. Proposals due March 12, 2021.

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 … 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 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 Cleantech Startups?

“Cleantech Startups” are considered to be companies that meet the clean energy definition as defined as “…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…" MGL c. 23J s.1.

Can my incubator be located outside of the Commonwealth?

Incubator applicants must be located within the Commonwealth.

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 cleantech 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.