Startups with leadership from historically marginalized communities are the focus of new Product Development Grant program
SOMERVILLE, Mass., September 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FORGE, the nonprofit that helps bridge the gap between startups and manufacturing, today announced the opening of a new grant for cleantech startups with leadership from historically marginalized communities. The latest edition of the FORGE Product Development Grant program will award non-dilutive grants up to $25,000 in partnership with the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2). The application deadline is October 28, 2022 and winners will be announced in December 2022.
The winning startups will be able to use the FORGE Product Development Grants to address a specific product development challenge critical to the company’s ability to scale and reach the marketplace. Successful applications will pinpoint that challenge and articulate how the grant funds will be used to overcome the roadblock.
“There are several underserved sectors within our ecosystem,” said Laura Teicher, FORGE executive director. “By working with organizations like IN2, we can perform the due diligence and groundwork to ensure accessibility, and address the specific needs of historically marginalized communities. The entire application process is streamlined. The application and instructions are available in both English and Spanish. And, based on input from the startups themselves, we stipulated that funds from this program can be used to directly compensate product development staff.”
“IN2 is funding FORGE through a Channel Partner Strategic Award,” said Kimberlee Ott, Wells Fargo Innovation Network Manager. “The goal of this funding is to eliminate barriers startups face on the path to commercialization and contribute to the diversification of the cleantech space. Manufacturing and supply chain is a proverbial ‘valley of death’ many startups face that prevents them from scaling their technologies and solutions.”
FORGE is also offering applicants the opportunity to ask questions anonymously through September 30, 2022. All questions and answers will be publicly shared by October 7th in both English and Spanish.
Applicants must have at least an early-stage physical prototype. For this program, historically marginalized communities are defined as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, and/or Indigenous, Native American, or Alaska Native. Cleantech refers to a wide variety of environmentally-friendly practices and technologies.
About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2)
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is a $50 million technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Co-administered by and housed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, IN2’s mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. NREL also works with the Frontier Observatory for Geothermal Energy Research, also known as FORGE. Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, IN2 has since expanded its focus to advance technologies that address the sustainable production of agriculture and housing affordability. For more information, visit in2ecosystem.com.
FORGE is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that helps startups go from physical prototype to commercialization and impact at scale. FORGE identifies gaps and accelerates the path to market for startups with manufacturable products by making right-fit introductions to industry expertise, combined with the training and support needed to ensure readiness to manufacture. FORGE programming and resources prepare startups and manufacturers to work effectively together, driving local manufacturing contracts from initial prototyping through to full-scale production.
FORGE’s mission to identify, support and build resources for startup companies has yielded considerable success. More than 90 percent of the 500+ startup companies that have engaged with FORGE have matured and thrived. FORGE has helped to add more than $34 million to the local economy and more than 5,000 innovation and manufacturing jobs. Learn more at FORGEMass.org
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