Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Since NECEC formed in 2006, part of its core mission has included supporting innovative and emerging cleantech companies across the region. Today, NECEC’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship efforts are led by Cleantech Navigate Northeast, the only region-wide resource network helping cleantech entrepreneurs make quality, targeted connections year-round and on a regional scale.
Cleantech Navigate Northeast was launched by NECEC in February 2014 as a result of a strategic alliance formed between NECEC and Cleantech Open Northeast. Working with leaders from across the region, the Cleantech Navigate Northeast team gets to know cleantech entrepreneurs and their business needs, and provides tailored access to resources necessary for them to develop, scale and succeed as quickly as possible.
The year-round program, run in alliance with the annual Cleantech Open Northeast accelerator program, facilitates opportunities for entrepreneurs, industry leaders and professionals to connect, collaborate, and accelerate emerging companies’ success through the following set of activities and offerings:
- A Connector Service, which includes a network of leading experts and mentors, provides entrepreneurs with direct introductions to resources and experts and their extensive networks
- A series of unique Events that bring together quality audiences for tailored networking experiences
- The Navigate Explorer web platform, which provides entrepreneurs with an easily searchable catalogue of the people, organizations and activities in the regional cleantech ecosystem.
Cleantech Navigate Northeast is supported with funding from:
- Founding Funders: MassCEC, NYSERDA
- Leading Funders: Wells Fargo
- Supporting Funders: National Grid, Maine Technology Institute, CommerceRI
The Cleantech Navigate Northeast program follows NECEC’s Cleantech Innovations New England program, which ran from 2011 to 2013. In 2011, the NECEC Institute was awarded an i6 Green grant from the US Department of Commerce and Economic Development Administration (EDA), to establish the virtual proof of concept center program called Cleantech Innovations New England (CINE). Over two years the CINE program directly managed eight solicitations, evaluated more than 165 different businesses and awarded a total of $381,000 of direct financial support to 15 companies in 11 different cleantech sectors. These awards resulted in the creation of more than 25 jobs throughout the region and at least $15.5 million of follow-on funding to date. A total of 35 percent of these awards went to companies located in distressed areas, six companies were formed as a result of the support, and more that 60 regional advisors were leveraged to support promising cleantech companies.