2019 was a big year for BRITE Energy Innovators and 2020 serves to be even more transformative! Following a successful rebrand launched at the inaugural Energy Storage Building Efficiency (ESBE) Conference in September, we gained massive press for a variety of exciting new developments in the Northeast Ohio Energy Storage Cluster. We plan to continue driving brand awareness statewide with a series of events to engage our stakeholders. A fundraising campaign we are initializing in Columbus will allow us to continue serving entrepreneurs across Ohio and those wishing to relocate or expand operations to Ohio. We also have a list of events set to engage the community including the highly anticipated follow up to the ESBE Conference.
Throughout 2019 we established key relationships with up-and-coming companies like Hyperion Motors & Lordstown Motors, and with well-established companies like TOYO System, LG Chem and General Motors. We will continue growing these relationships in 2020 to see our portfolio companies’ technologies utilized in new and exciting ways alongside the creation of new opportunities for the Valley. Because of the rapid advancement of companies in the energy sector and growth throughout the Energy Storage Cluster in Northeast Ohio, we anticipate the demand for entrepreneurial support services to rise drastically. This will be supplanted by our exciting partnership with TechGrowth which enables us to expand services provided to entrepreneurs in Appalachian counties and Southeast Ohio.
This greater need for support services will include access to testing and development equipment. In anticipation, we have further built out the BRITE Energy Labs energy testing facilities. With the support of the state, this buildout has allowed us to prepare for the advanced testing needs of EV startups, as well as the remainder of early stage companies we anticipate serving throughout 2020. Included in our expanse of services is an increased focus on teaching startups to develop pitches so they are prepared to secure large rounds of funding from investors. While this growth is exciting and fundamental to the economic growth of the region, it will put strain on our resources as an incubator, so watch for us to expand our team throughout the year!
We already added to our staff extensively throughout 2019. This included the addition of a VP of Tech Acceleration, a Marketing & Events Specialist, and the hiring of five interns. Notably among our new staff, Director of Operations Sara Daugherty was named a Notable Woman in Nonprofit by Crain’s. We anticipate the need for talent to continue growing as we source interns for our portfolio companies and additional staff to assist in the operation of our first ever accelerator program! BRITE Energy Innovators is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2011 as the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center (also known as TBEIC). BRITE currently employs four full time employees, three part time employees and four interns studying at YSU in varying fields. BRITE serves as Ohio’s only energy incubator assisting early stage tech & energy startups across the state of Ohio alongside the state-of-the-art BRITE Energy Labs, Coworking & event spaces and tenant space for 19 small businesses and startups.