BRITE Energy Innovators

Bridge the Gap: BRITE’s Clients Highlighted at the White House Capital Convening

BRITE’s Clients Highlighted at White House Capital Convening on the Importance of Climate Finance for Innovation and Rapid Deployment

On May 30th, 2024, on behalf of the White House, the National Economic Council hosted leaders across the United States to unveil the  Climate Capital Guidebook, positioned as a “one-stop shop” for information on federal funding programs – such as grants, loans, tax credits, and equity investments – available to climate-related start-ups, small- and medium-sized businesses, and their investors. BRITE Energy Incubators had the privilege of being recognized as one of the top three prominent incubation ecosystems in the nation and an important reason why public financing is so critical.

Rick Stockburger, President and CEO of BRITE, spoke alongside representatives of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and Elemental Excelerator on the challenges companies face in securing financing for commercializing new products and entering new markets. Hardware solutions for energy distribution, generation, and storage are capital-intensive and require significant due diligence and oversight. Without public financing support and policy that incentivizes American-Made products, it is difficult for these technologies to scale at the speed the market desires.  

For BRITE, being part of this event was not just an opportunity to gain insight but also a critical moment to ensure the voice of the Midwest, and particularly the startups we champion, was heard. The organization’s presence underscored the importance of including companies from across the United States in these dialogues—highlighting the unique challenges and opportunities outside the coastal bubbles that often dominate such conversations.

One significant takeaway was the acknowledgment of the capital access problem faced by the Midwest. This region, ripe with potential for growth and innovation in the climate sector, often finds itself at a disadvantage due to geographical biases and the concentration of resources and attention on the coasts. The event provided a platform to articulate the needs of Midwest startups—emphasizing the necessity for more targeted investment and resources to flow into this area to unlock its full potential.

The discussions with influential figures such as Small Business Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, White House National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, and White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, were invaluable. They brought to light the challenges within the federal government’s approach to capital projects—highlighting a critical gap in commercialization efforts post-basic science, research, and deployment stages. One such tool discussed at the Convening was new rules removing the cap on loans through the 504 Loan Program for clean energy projects. 

A common topic was the role of incubators and accelerators, like BRITE, in bridging these gaps. BRITE closely monitors the success of its clients in securing financing through programs such as BRITEascent. The organization is also driven to increase the number of pilots and deployments in underrepresented and Justice40 communities as a key performance metric of its mission. The federal government’s recognition of the need to leverage these organizations across the country to facilitate access to capital for climate enterprises and startups is a step forward in addressing the disparities in resource distribution.

The convening made it clear: to harness the full potential of America’s clean energy transition, we must ensure that innovative ecosystems, irrespective of their geographic location, have equal access to the tools, resources, and capital needed to thrive. By doing so, we not only foster a more equitable economic transition but also intensify our collective efforts to combat the climate crisis.

BRITE remains committed to not just voicing the needs and potential of the Midwest’s climate tech startups but also to actively working towards solutions that bridge these access gaps—ensuring that our collective contributions are a significant part of the narrative in shaping a sustainable future.

For more details on the event, please refer to the official White House readout.

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