Brite Gets $100K from Wells Fargo Program

WARREN, Ohio – Brite Energy Innovators was named a 2020 Channel Partner Award winner by the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, Brite announced Wednesday.

Brite, an incubator focused on advanced energy technology, will receive $100,000 from the Wells Fargo incubator, 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.

This is the second consecutive year that Brite, formerly known as the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, received funds from the Wells Fargo program, said Rick Stockburger, Brite president and CEO. Last year, the incubator received $90,000.

“They saw the work that we did and they wanted to increase the funding,” Stockburger said.

The award program strengthens sustainable technology initiatives and fosters a creative and collaborative network of cross-industry stakeholders in order to address barriers that startups face on the path to commercialization, according to a news release announcing the award.

The program was established in 2017 with $5 million from Wells Fargo to be distributed over four years. Since its inception, the program has supported more than 115 events, strategic meetings and trainings, and 29 larger strategic initiatives between 31 organizations.

The awards “establish a continuum of innovation” within the Wells Fargo incubator program, “from early-stage concept to commercialization,” Trish Cozart, program manager for the Wells Fargo incubator program at NREL, said in the release.

“By allocating resources to Channel Partner initiatives, in addition to selecting companies for our tech incubator, we’re reaching startups at multiple points along their journey and will get more transformative resources to market,” she continued.

The money will be used to provide direct entrepreneurship assistance to early-stage companies at no cost to them, partially matching funds from Ohio’s Third Frontier Program, Stockburger said.

The funds will also be used by Brite to build connections throughout Appalachia, specifically the Pittsburgh Market, a task that was “a lot easier when we didn’t have COVID-19,” he remarked.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.