In November, 2021, Clean Energy Business Network celebrates its one-year anniversary as a Power Connector for the U.S. Department of Energy’s American-Made Challenges program—a series of prize competitions to lower the barriers U.S.-based innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale and accelerate the development of new clean energy technologies. Through a three-year subcontract awarded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in November 2020, the CEBN has been working to recruit and support entrepreneurs for the American-Made Challenges and other federal energy innovation initiatives such as the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR) program.
CEBN President Lynn Abramson said, “It is such an honor working alongside the changemakers, doers, and visionaries who are leading the clean energy revolution. We are thrilled to work with our partners in the American-Made Network to help entrepreneurs tap into connections, training, teaming, and prize challenges to develop and scale their climate solutions.”
CEBN has engaged in eight projects in the Power Connector role within the past year, working to recruit and support applicants for these various initiatives through email and social media outreach, recruitment calls, webinars, office hours, investor and public showcases, business development workshops, and teaming/introductions.
These efforts have included a particular focus on engaging and supporting underrepresented and underinvested communities in clean energy funding and economic development opportunities. CEBN has engaged Banks and Company, a Black-owned affairs firm in Southfield, MI, to lead public relations and stakeholder engagement on these efforts. Banks and Company brings a proven track record in stakeholder engagement and advocacy to advance economic opportunities for entrepreneurs who are women and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). CEBN and Banks and Company recently secured a grant from the Small Business Administration to further expand upon this partnership.
Abramson said, “The clean energy sectors represent the growth sectors of the U.S. energy economy and some of the fastest-growing job sectors in America–but we are currently in danger of leaving entire subsets of our population out of that economic growth. Currently, only about 7-8% of recipients of DOE’s small business grant funding are women or people of color, and the overall energy workforce is not representative of the American population. We must be intentional in harnessing the fresh ideas of a diverse set of entrepreneurs to set the stage for small business ownership and job creation, and bring all solutions to the table in fighting climate change and air pollution.”
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – November 2020-February 2021
- American-Made Groundbreaking Hydropower Prize – January-March 2021
- American-Made Solar Desalination Prize – June 2021-July 2022
- American-Made Solar Prize Round 5 – June 2021-October 2021
- Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Showcase – August-October 2021
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – November 2021-February 2022
- Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize – November 2021-February 2022
CEBN was recently featured in a private summit for American-Made Network Connectors on November 4, 2021, discussing best practices for how to successfully support energy innovators and leverage available tools across the Network.
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:
Learn more about the American-Made Network in the video below:
The Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) is the small business voice for the clean energy economy, working to enhance opportunities for clean energy providers through policy support, market and technology education, and business development assistance. For more information, please visit: www.cebn.org.