Clean Energy Trust University Accelerator

Clean Energy Trust supports student entrepreneurship through our University Accelerator initiative.

The CET University Accelerator

Learn about the CET University Accelerator Summer 2020 inaugural cohort here

The Clean Energy Trust (CET) University Accelerator is a business accelerator that supports student entrepreneurs working on impactful cleantech solutions. Participating teams are connected with industry advisors and receive hands-on support and pitch coaching from the experienced Clean Energy Trust team to help accelerate their business.

The CET University Accelerator takes place remotely during the summer and culminates in a demo day in the fall, where teams will showcase their businesses to cleantech ecosystem stakeholders and compete for cash prize awards.

This program exists to provide deep engagement and support to promising student teams in the cleantech space. While many universities offer entrepreneurship support and acceleration, this support is typically limited to the school year, and not industry-specific. Clean Energy Trust has extensive experience running student entrepreneurship programming as well as investing in and supporting early-stage cleantech businesses. We’ll leverage this knowledge to support your business.

The CET University Accelerator is open to student-led cleantech startups from the Mid-Continent region of the United States. 

This includes solutions across clean energy, decarbonization, and environmental sustainability. To be eligible, at least 50% of the founding team must have been a student (undergraduate or graduate-level) during the 2019-2020 academic year; teams that have raised more than $1 million in private funding are not eligible to participate.

Teams must also be based in the Mid-Continent region of the United States. This includes universities located in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Western Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

The CET University Accelerator is ideally suited for teams who have participated in entrepreneurship programming at their university but are looking to continue to advance their business. Accelerator programming is offered during the summer so that teams can continue to grow their work during the academic year. Clean Energy Trust does not take any company equity as part of this program. As part of participating in the program, student teams will receive a travel and general stipend of $1,000 per team and be eligible to win up to $15,000 at the demo day event in the fall.

Timeline and Key Dates
Applications are no longer being accepted. 

You will be asked to include a brief pitch deck and elevator pitch as part of this application. Looking for guidance on what information should be in your pitch deck? Check out our Pitch Deck How-To Guide. The deadline to submit an application for the CET University Accelerator was Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Five to eight teams will be selected for the accelerator program and will be notified by Friday, May 15. Accelerator support programming will begin the week of June 8 and take place remotely. Support programming will take place throughout the summer, with bi-weekly calls with Clean Energy Trust and regular check-ins with industry mentors. The demo day event will be held in Chicago in early fall.

Summary Details for the CET University Accelerator Program

  • Program:
    • Remote summer accelerator program with support from Clean Energy Trust and industry advisors
    • Culminates in a demo day event in the fall in Chicago where two teams will be awarded cash prizes
  • Company Eligibility:
    • Developing innovations to solve environmental challenges
    • Based in the Mid-Continent region of the United States
    • Students comprise at least 50% of the founding team 
    • Have not raised more than $1 Million in private capital
  • Application Deadline: April 22, 2020

Is your business based on university intellectual property, but not led by students?
Consider applying to Clean Energy Trust’s 501vc® Seed Fund instead.