Cleantech startups get a boost with ARENA funding for EnergyLab | RenewEconomy

Cleantech startups get a boost with ARENA funding for EnergyLab

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ARENA tips in $480,000 into new EnergyLab start-up fund that will support new innovative clean tech businesses enter the Australian market.

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $480,000 in funding over the next year to support investment in new clean energy startups, through EnergyLab’s accelerator program.

The funding boost will help the startup incubator EnergyLab to support new innovative clean tech companies to develop their ideas and bring new technologies and business models to the clean energy sector.

The funding commitment will be matched by industry partners APA and Powerlink, with more than $1 million being committed to the program.

ARENA said that it was crucial that the government was actively supporting Australia’s startup industry, particularly in the clean energy space, as Australia could be a tough market for early-stage companies.

“Startups and entrepreneurs play an important role in accelerating the uptake of clean energy solutions, however, they can also face challenges in reaching scale and aren’t equipped to overcome hurdles such as high capital requirements, geographic constraints and revenue delay,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.

“EnergyLab, through mentoring and supporting startups, will help us to see an increase in expertise, skills and capacity in the renewable energy technology sector and identify pathways to commercialisation to keep Australia at the forefront of renewable energy innovation.”

EnergyLab said that it would use the funding to ramp-up it’s late-stage startup accelerator, called the Scaleup program to partner new companies with innovative utility companies and successful company founders.

“The Scaleup program is the result of three years hard work building expertise on how to scale energy innovation in Australia. The work we’ve done means we are uniquely placed to support energy startups bring their ideas to market, attract investment to grow, and bring the world much-needed clean energy solutions,” EnergyLab CEO James Tilbury said.

“We strongly believe the companies that will benefit from this funding will play an important role in helping us move beyond the current economic crisis. Now, more than ever, we need to support startups and entrepreneurs, and we are delighted ARENA and the Federal Government will help us do this.”

“We know the ongoing challenges in Australia’s energy sector are not going to disappear unless we back companies that are developing innovative solutions to transition the country, and the world, to a clean energy future,” Tilbury added.

Since its formation in 2017, more than 80 companies have gone through EnergyLab’s accelerator programs, including electricity retailer Amber Electric. These companies have been paired with more than 100 angel investors and 200 expert mentors that have joined the EnergyLab network.

In addition to the Scaleup Program, EnergyLab provides mentorship for early-stage companies and runs a dedicated Women in Clean Energy Fellowship to support women entrepreneurs to kick start a company in the clean energy space.

The latest round of recruitment for the Scaleup accelerator program is currently open, with EnergyLab looking to announce cohort of startups later in 2020.

Federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor welcomed the commitment of funding to support Australian clean energy innovation.

“The funding for EnergyLab is an investment in Australia’s future energy technology, and a vote of confidence in the next generation of energy entrepreneurs,” Taylor said.

“We are committed to embracing innovation to help secure our energy future and meet the nation’s energy needs through low-emissions technologies.”

Taylor said that further support for research and innovation would be a feature of a forthcoming Technology Investment Roadmap.

“The Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap – which will soon be released for public consultation – will outline how technology offers the best prospect of strengthening Australia’s role as an energy export leader while supporting reductions in global emissions,” Taylor added.

“It will aim to move priority technologies and projects to commercial status as quickly as possible in order to firm up the path to a sustainable energy future and to strengthen Australia’s economy.”

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