Climate Technology Founder’s Fund Will Accelerate Economic Opportunities and Carbon Reduction Solutions for Maryland

Maryland Clean Energy Center – Climate Technology Founder’s Fund (SB0960) was among the 275 bills signed into law by Governor Moore, yesterday.

By establishing the Climate Technology Founder’s Fund, Maryland will be better positioned to invest in the start-up companies looking to advance exciting new cleantech and climate tech solutions. This is a critical resource to help the state maximize potential economic and industry growth in these sectors.

The Climate Technology Founder’s Fund could provide as much as $1,200,000 in each fiscal year- 2025 through 2028, and authorizes the Governor, on or before June 30, 2024, to transfer up to $2,200,000 of funds in the Small-, Minority-, Women-, and Veteran-Owned Businesses (SMWVOB) Account to the Climate Technology Founder’s Fund. The additional funds available through SB0960 would allow MEIA to provide expanded support services for prototype development and manufacturing.

With a wealth of leading academic and research institutions, Maryland can look forward to this investment supporting the transition from innovative ideas to real world dollars, jobs, and impacts as these technologies make their way to the market. The fund will focus on the SMWVOB that are developing the novel technologies, products, and services to reduce and address the impacts of climate change.

“SB0960 puts funding to work directly, now and in the future, to support SMWVOB entrepreneurs advancing clean energy and decarbonization solutions.” said Kobby Osei-Kusi, owner of Pirl, a next generation EV charging company. Pirl is among the current cohort participating in the Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator (MEIA), a program offered by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC).

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor.

This dedicated funding is critical to sustaining the impact and future growth for MEIA to facilitate early-stage technology commercialization in partnership with Maryland-based businesses, universities, and labs to support the States’s clean energy and climate goals. The program helps startups at the early innovation stage create investible businesses focused on solar, wind, batteries, energy efficiency, grid modernization, carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), and any other technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or provides negative emissions benefits in the electric, oil and gas, residential, commercial, or industrial sectors. 

“An investible business has the momentum and credibility to obtain third-party investment to grow its operations become a viable business,” notes Katherine Magruder, Executive Director for the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “With investment in MEIA, we are aligning resources for researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors to establish Maryland as a national leader in the evolving climate tech economy.” A committee appointed by MCEC will oversee Climate Tech Founders Fund equity investments. 

MEIA works in close collaboration with the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2). Together, the programs have established an energy innovation ecosystem that has produced 37 new companies, receiving $70M in private investment, and creating 134 new high paying jobs in the state. Moreover, this university-company partnership has helped bring in over $214M in non-dilutive grant funding to Maryland, a 35X return on investment of state funds.

“The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute’s Seed Grant program in partnership with Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator has helped launch 37 new clean energy companies in Maryland,” said Dr. Eric D. Wachsman, the Director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute. “SB960 provides critical resources to expand that record of success to not only achieve Maryland’s aggressive climate goals but bring good high-paying jobs to the state in the process.”

More information will be available at the 2024 Climate Tech Exchange on October 7, a pre-conference event at the Maryland Clean Energy Summit– a regional conference focused on carbon reduction strategies from Idea to Implementation.

Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) serves as the state green bank, which offers a broad range of resources to facilitate access to capital through leveraged or direct investment and operates financing programs targeted to serve various consumer audiences and underserved communities. MCEC provides specialized procurement and technical support to facilitate and expedite project implementation.