Venture For ClimateTech Partners With ClimateWorks Foundation to Expand Funding Access for Black and Latina/Latino Founders

Accelerator Program Doubling Cohort Size and Introducing a Fellowship and Apprenticeship 

January 24, 2023 – Rochester, NY – Venture For ClimateTech announced today that its third cohort is open for applications from interested companies or entrepreneurs. On the heels of the success of its second cohort, the venture studio and accelerator program for early-stage climate tech concepts and startups is further expanding its reach and benefits. That includes doubling the size of its cohort class to accept 20 participants annually. Additionally, with support from ClimateWorks Foundation – a global platform for philanthropy to innovate and accelerate climate solutions that scale – Venture For ClimateTech is now offering an additional $10,000 Fellowship to two Black and/or Latinx founders accepted into the accelerator, as well as a paid part-time apprenticeship for a climate tech founder who hasn’t yet launched a company.  

Each company in Venture For ClimateTech’s cohort will receive up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding throughout the six-month, part-time virtual accelerator in addition to one-on-one mentorship and supportive programming. Innovators and founders who have an idea or technology that has the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions are encouraged to apply by March 3, 2023. Applicants can be located anywhere in the world but must have plans for how their solution can help New York State reach its climate goals as stated in the Climate Leadership and Protection Act. The third cohort will focus on decarbonizing four key sectors: Buildings, Transportation, Grid, and Industry. Companies with solutions that positively help communities impacted by climate change are strongly encouraged to apply.   

The 11 graduating companies from Cohort 2 of Venture For ClimateTech have secured more than $8.8 million in outside funding and generated more than $3 million in revenue. On average, team sizes for Cohort 2 doubled from two employees to four employees during the six-month program. 

Highlights of the second cohort included Gencores and Holocene joining Breakthrough Energy, Rockfix receiving an explorer grant from Breakthrough Energy and joining the Innovation Crossroads Fellowship, and Community Energy Labs receiving several grants, including a Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research Phase II award. 

“When we originally launched this program two years ago, we knew our goal of supporting traditionally underrepresented founders in climate tech was a key solution to realizing significant impacts,” said Venture For ClimateTech Managing Director Jacqueline Ros Amable. “Thanks to our continued support from New York State, and now from ClimateWorks Foundation, we are able to be the ‘family and friend’ investment round that many early founders traditionally rely on but is statistically less available for diverse and LGBTQ+ founders.” 


Venture For ClimateTech launched in 2021 to accelerate New York State’s equitable energy transition by advancing climate tech solutions on their path to commercialization. The program provides founders with the hands-on support needed to approach first customers, launch pilots, and secure investment. It is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and administered by NextCorps and SecondMuse

Katie MacDonald, NYSERDA’s Director of Technology to Market, said, “The growth of the Venture For ClimateTech program in its third year will enable more founders to launch transformative climate technologies. By focusing on critical greenhouse gas-emitting sectors, the program will go farther to lower emissions and increase clean energy benefits to New York State.” 


“As a global platform for philanthropy, ClimateWorks understands the significance of funding innovative climate solutions and is proud to support emerging leaders in climate action,” said Leo Park, Director a.i. of ClimateWorks Foundation’s Finance Program. “Our ongoing support to Venture For ClimateTech is an important effort to bolster climate change mitigation and expand equitable access to capital. We look forward to welcoming the third cohort of diverse founders that will impact emissions in New York and on a global scale, as climate change knows no borders.” 


“As a founder, you face a lot of difficult decisions, mostly on your own, and it’s really easy to doubt yourself or feel isolated in these situations,” said Sanza Kazadi, President & Founding CEO Kazadi Enterprises Ltd. and Cohort 2 participant. “Being a part of Venture For ClimateTech provided me with a sounding board, including people who have been in my situation and other world-class founders, which for me was really inspiring and validating. This combination of perspectives helps innovators step back and realize that something that might have felt like a setback was really the right move in the long run. For that reason alone, I’d recommend this program to any entrepreneur trying to grow their company in a meaningful way.” 

Those interested in applying are encouraged to attend informational webinars to find out more about the program to assess if it is right for them. For more information and to register for an info session here. 

Information sessions will be hosted virtually on the following dates. Please register here

  • An Introduction and Overview of Venture For ClimateTech
    January 26, 2023 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST

  • Venture For ClimateTech’s Alumni Spotlight and Q&A
    February 7, 2023 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST  

  • Introducing the Venture For ClimateTech Apprenticeship and Fellowship
    February 21, 2023 from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST  

  • Open Q&A and Overview of Venture ClimateTech
    March 2, 2023 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST 

Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a boot camp that will result in the final selection of 20 companies for Cohort 3, which will be announced in May. 

Apply to Cohort 3 of Venture For ClimateTech here


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Shannon Wojcik