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BRITE gets grant to help tech startups

WARREN — BRITE Energy Innovators is the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) to help energy and clean-tech startups make it through the viral pandemic.

The funding is part of $900,000 that IN2 awarded to 18 groups across the U.S. to stay on the path toward commercialization and keep staff employed despite the outbreak that has caused businesses to shed millions of workers.

“Startups have a difficult time getting from prototype to market even under the best of circumstances, and countless promising technologies focused on solutions to pressing global issues are at risk of being lost without immediate help,” said Ramsay Huntley, sustainable finance strategist at Wells Fargo. “Startups need to be able to adapt quickly to changing realities.”

All but $10,000 of BRITE’s grant will be used toward lab and related services to help companies refine and commercialize their products. The help is available to any company that can use BRITE’s state-of-the-art lab in Warren to test a product.

“The advanced testing equipment in the lab is well-suited for performing early-stage testing in the development of energy technologies. Receiving this allows us to assist companies in using the lab, which could serve as a major step in helping them get their product to market,” said Bill Whittenberger, BRITE’s chief technology officer and lab administrator.

The remaining $10,000 of the grant will be used to help BRITE’s portfolio companies impacted by the outbreak.

Earlier this year BRITE — Ohio’s only energy startup incubator — received $100,000 from the IN2 program to keep on track developing energy storage cluster partnerships among entities in Ohio and academic institutions in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to support energy startups in the region.

A year ago the incubator received $90,000 from the same program to complete an energy study in northeast Ohio and host its first energy storage conference in Warren.

The Wells Fargo incubator is a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The award program strengthens sustainable technology initiatives and fosters a creative and collaborative network of stakeholders across industries to address barriers startups face on the path to commercialization.

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