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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Flake

Climate Tech: 4 Incentives, Programs & Funding Opportunities in 2023 You Need to Know About

Updated: Jul 18

As a founder or CEO of a climate tech startup, one of your most pressing responsibilities is to secure the resources necessary to scale your business. While companies often take the traditional route of obtaining venture capital funding, it’s also the most expensive (and time-consuming) approach.

Luckily, many other incentives, programs, and funding opportunities are available to entrepreneurs in the climate tech space. Here are four to check out in 2023.

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1. The West Gate Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program

Do you have a prototype for your clean tech innovation? If so, you’re in luck — the West Gate Entrepreneurship Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program offers a paid two-year fellowship to help you bring your emerging technology to market.

Successful applications to the program receive from the following:

  • One-on-one collaboration from National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) scientists who are working on cutting-edge research with similar technology as your product

  • An annual living stipend of $100,000

  • Relocation assistance to Golden, Colorado

  • Healthcare benefits

  • 2-year technical assistance funding of $175,000 redeemable at NREL and the Colorado School of Mines

  • Access to an individualized entrepreneurial curriculum

Not interested in mountain living? The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers three similar programs in California, Illinois, and Tennessee.

What you need to do:

  1. Meet the minimum qualifications: you must be a US Citizen with a B.S. in a technical field; have 2+ years of post-college technical experience; have a technology prototype aligned with NREL’s research and development specialities

  2. Complete the online application

Deadline: February 14th, 2023

2. Burroughs Wellcome Fund Climate Change and Human Health Seed Grants

It’s rare to come by non-dilutive funding opportunities, which is why we’ve included the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s grant program on this list. The program provides seed-stage grants between $2,500 and $50,000 — a valuable capital boost to help entrepreneurs get started with their climate tech idea.

What you need to do:

  1. Complete a grant proposal via Proposal Central that meets the qualifications outlined in this document.

  2. Submit the proposal to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Climate Change Program.

Deadline: January 12th, April 12th, and July 12th, 2023 (rolling application deadlines)

3. XPRIZE for Carbon Removal

Need more funding? Check out the XPRIZE for Carbon Removal, a $100 million fund dedicated to removing carbon from the atmosphere. The team that best demonstrates the potential of their technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or ocean after four years will win the $50 million grand prize, and three runner-ups will share $30 million.

Whether you’re a high school student or a well-funded startup, the competition encourages you to apply. The best part? The registration deadline is December 1st, 2023, meaning you have plenty of time to prepare.

What you need to do:

  1. Create an account with XPRIZE and register your team.

  2. Await instructions to compete for the grand prize in December 2023

Deadline: December 1st, 2023

4. USPTO’s Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program

As an incentive to climate tech companies, the USPTO’s Climate Change Mitigation Pilot Program “fast tracks” patent applications for technologies that are likely to mitigate climate change. This means your application will cut in line ahead of the thousands of other applications pending examination, and you’ll receive a response from the patent office in much less time. (The current average wait time for a normal application? 19 months from your filing date.)

The result? By understanding the patentability of your technology much earlier, you can better modify your patent strategy for subsequent applications, demonstrate the value of your IP to stakeholders, and go to market more confidently.

Pro Tip: The Climate Change Mitigation Program is limited to the first 1,000 patent applications filed before June 5, 2023. As of December 13th, 2022, 114 applications have already been granted special status.

What you need to do:

Partner with a patent agent or firm familiar with climate tech — to take advantage of the program, you want to get started with the patent strategy, drafting, and prosecution process as soon as possible.

Deadline: June 5th, 2023 (or earlier if the quota is reached)

Looking for a patent partner aligned with your mission to combat climate change? Book a free consultation today.

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