Innosphere reaches out to Canadian companies to help them prepare for NREL Growth Forum

By: Steve Thursday May 8, 2014 0 comments Tags: CTA-Denver, Fort Collins, Innosphere, Mike Freeman, NREL, Rob Writz

By Steve Porter


FORT COLLINS - Innosphere is reaching out to the Great White North to help young Canadian cleantech companies prepare for and participate in the NREL Industry Growth Forum hosted by Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory in October.

This year marks the third year Innosphere has partnered with the Canadian Consulate and the Canadian Technology Accelerator in Denver to help small-and-medium-sized Canadian companies prepare for the Industry Growth Forum, now in its 27th year and considered the premiere cleantech business pitch competition in the world.

The Industry Growth forum is set for Oct. 28-29 in Denver.

The selected Canadian companies will take part in CTA-Denver 2014 that begins next month.

Rocky Mountain Innosphere logo"The Canadian government will select the companies, and in July we will onboard those companies," said Mike Freeman, Innosphere CEO. "We'll screen them and prep them and get them ready for (NREL's Industry Growth Forum)."

Innosphere will offer space to the companies during their three-month preparation at its offices in Fort Collins and its cleantech office near NREL in Golden. Innosphere will also help the companies network to early-stage capital via its Capital Access program and provide networking with its Colorado insight and partnerships.

"Our goal is to get as many companies as possible into the Growth Forum," Freeman said. "You have to be a top company to get through (NREL's) screening process."

Freeman said NREL is open to not just U.S.-based companies but any company with a good idea.

"The whole idea behind the Growth Forum is they want to see the best technology globally," he said.

Freeman said the Canadian companies accessing Innosphere's insight and relationship with NREL will likely have an advantage.

"Our advantage is we know these (NREL officials) really well and we know the process," he said. "It's really a big deal to get into the Growth Forum to pitch."

This year's Industry Growth Forum will feature 30 emerging clean energy companies. Deadline to apply is July 18.

Since 2003, presenting companies have collectively raised more than $5 billion in financing.

Rob Writz has been director of Innosphere's cleantech program in Golden since September. Writz helped the Canadian Consulate start the CTA-Denver program through his earlier role with the CleanLaunch incubator at NREL.

Writz said the Canadian government saw the advantage of pitching their best emerging cleantech companies at the Industry Growth Forum hosted by America's top renewable energy lab.

"The consulate has recognized what great resources Colorado has in the cleantech area that are unique," he said. "They also see the value of those companies being integrated into the Growth Forum.

"I work with a selected group of small-to-medium-sized entrepreneurs to help them access the U.S. market, to network with industry stakeholders, and we also help them prepare for the NREL Growth Forum and optimize that effort as much as possible," Writz said.

Freeman said the Canadian effort has two objectives.

"They're involved in the accelerator because they're going to want to have a U.S. headquarters and we want it to be in Colorado," he said.

"And second, it's dramatically increased our network with people here wanting to do business in Canada."

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