SecondMuse's Scale for ClimateTech Team recently attended Fuzehub’s annual New York State Innovation Summit, which brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs, manufacturers, government organizations, universities, incubators, and manufacturing support programs, to share learnings and opportunities for commercializing technologies and promoting economic growth in New York State and beyond.
Written by: Elissa Bozhkov, Program Manager, Scale For ClimateTech
Photos by: John Schlia Photography
On October 16th and 17th, the Scale for ClimateTech (S4C) team attended Fuzehub’s annual New York State Innovation Summit, which brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs, manufacturers, government organizations, universities, incubators, and manufacturing support programs, to share learnings and opportunities for commercializing technologies and promoting economic growth in New York State and beyond.
Supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR) and the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), this two-day event offered opportunities for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative technologies, including a few of Scale for ClimateTech’s alumni: CLIP (a portable e-bike upgrade), and Ashlawn Energy (an energy storage solution using the VanCharg™ vanadium redox flow battery system), who won this year’s $150,000 Commercialization Competition prize!
The summit also offered many key insights from leaders like Pravina Raghavan, Director of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Michael Frame, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at MACNY, the Manufacturers Association, who are working to strengthen New York State’s innovation ecosystem by providing manufacturers with the resources and connections they need to improve efficiencies, develop skilled workforces, and expand into new markets.
Learning sessions highlighted the need for manufacturers to continually grow and add new capabilities to their services, and to identify opportunities to benefit from new kinds of technologies and supply chains—from semiconductors to clean tech products. Bridging the gaps between entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of emerging technologies and manufacturers with the production capabilities to accelerate commercialization of these technologies is critical to drive innovation-led economic growth.
New York State is leading the way in building collaborative innovation ecosystems by fostering mentorship and workforce development initiatives, establishing centers of excellence, and continuing to invest in resources like New York’s MEP and NYSERDA’s Technology-to-Market programs.
MEPs, which are public-private partnerships that support small and medium-sized manufacturers, are crucial in boosting competitiveness of American manufacturers and in supporting the success of hardware entrepreneurs. The MEP National Network provides a range of expertise to help companies adapt to current challenges, including strengthening supply chains and supporting the development of advanced materials that improve product performance or enhance sustainability.
Through its Technology-to-Market programs, NYSERDA is working to boost New York State’s innovation ecosystem, and simultaneously bring to market new technologies that are helping to reduce GHG emissions in New York and beyond. In a panel on “Commercializing Climate Tech in New York State”, key program leaders from Uptake Alliance, The Clean Fight, and Scale for ClimateTech (S4C), share their organizations’ strategies and insights on how they have been advancing clean energy innovation by delivering founder-centered programming to assist innovators in overcoming the hurdles involved in bringing their technologies to market.
Kate Frucher, Managing Director of The Clean Fight, a non-profit supported by NYSERDA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Commerce emphasized that the majority of technologies needed to address the climate crisis already exist—they just need to be scaled up. One way they are doing this is through their Empire Technology Prize, which is focused on finding cleantech solutions to tackle GHG emissions from one of New York’s highest emitting sectors—buildings.
Chris Richardson, Executive Director of Uptake Alliance, a global venture development program, highlighted the difficulties that climate tech companies face, especially in terms of finding funding to cover the high cost of development and materials. With high consequences of failure and real reasons for risk aversion, programs like Uptake Alliance contribute to building a community for market-ready startups by providing support through pilots with target customers or through facilitating innovative commercial agreements.
Scale for ClimateTech is unique in that it specializes in the one area where climate tech hardware companies struggle the most—manufacturing. By providing immersive training on manufacturing for climate tech hardware innovators, S4C helps growth-stage companies navigate complex manufacturing processes including addressing questions of when to make, when to buy, and how to effectively find and collaborate with key suppliers and manufacturers.
As Kris Licciardello, Program Manager of Scale for ClimateTech at SecondMuse shared: “There are a lot of resources available for entrepreneurs today, however it’s hard to navigate what the right resource is at the right time. S4C meets innovators where they are and helps to demystify these by providing step-by-step support from offering education and mentorship support on early Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and prototype refinement, to facilitating connections with vetter manufacturers and supply chain partners.” Scale for ClimateTech’s programming involves not only a fast-paced educational component, but also a roadmap project where companies gain hands-on experience in scoping and executing their manufacturing processes as well as connecting with potential manufacturing partners.
Providing support solely to innovators is not enough, as more needs to be done to build the entire ecosystem to support them at each stage of their growth. The ability to create an entire ecosystem to support a company is critical, and in its next iteration, Scale for ClimateTech aims to do exactly that. Scale for ClimateTech offers additional assistance to all Climate Tech Innovators at large to receive match-making services to their vetted supplier and manufacturer network, including free consultations to identify manufacturing needs, as well as facilitated introductions to explore potential manufacturing agreements, partnerships, and business opportunities with suppliers.
S4C is also launching its Supply Chain Services (for Manufacturers and Suppliers), where it will engage directly with manufacturers in New York State to grow relationships and potential partnerships. These services include free consultations to identify target customers, free marketing to the climate tech community, and reimbursement to attend climate tech events to connect with potential customers and partners.
As SecondMuse’s Kris emphasized: “There would be no continued growth and success without partners. A core component to SecondMuse’s working philosophy is the concept of relational wealth— which acknowledges that everything in our world is interconnected and interdependent. It prioritizes the importance of all relationships and works to align them in a way that benefits all parties involved.” Scale for ClimateTech continues to embody this practice of engaging as many people as possible: from entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to manufacturers who may be taking on a risk to work in sectors they haven’t ventured into before. By promoting domestic manufacturing capabilities to the larger ecosystem of climate tech innovators, there lies an opportunity to expand New York’s innovation ecosystem to include key players that may have been previously left out of the conversation.
Since its inception Scale For ClimateTech has helped innovators worldwide accelerate their development process, and also for manufacturers and supply chain partners to expand their opportunities and revenue potential, promoting collaborative and innovation-led growth in New York State and beyond.
Scale For ClimateTech, administered by SecondMuse and non-profit entrepreneur catalyst NextCorps, and supported by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), has launched its application for the 2023-2024 cohort —open now to innovators globally—click here for more information!