NextCorps awarded $10 million to accelerate clean-energy companies

Rochester’s NextCorps incubator is about to hatch more companies that will focus on clean energy. 

The New York State Energy Research and Development Agency announced Thursday that NextCorps will receive $10 million over five years to develop the program, based on the proof-of-concept Nexus-NY center it developed that launched 22 cleantech companies. 

Another accelerator, NEX-NY in Brooklyn, will receive $6 million over 2 ½ years to generate similar economic development in the clean energy space.

James Senall, president of NextCorps, said the funding will continue and expand the work NextCorps did previously. 

“We’re really excited about it,” Senall said. “There’s been a struggle for a very long time in getting these really early stage technologies out of the labs and formed into companies. This program fits squarely into this space.” 

NextCorps will be working to develop companies all over the state and woo them from elsewhere, working with a New York City partner, Second Muse.

The program’s goal is two-fold: create green energy technologies that will reduce greenhouse emissions, and generate jobs.

“The hope is that some of the companies — and because Rochester does have a lot of really interesting technologies here — that some of the companies will end up starting and growing here,” Senall said. He cited the example of American Fuel Cell, a company that was started by people who created their own business after General Motors closed up its fuel cell company in Honeoye Falls. The company later was purchased and still operates with more than 80 employees at Eastman Business Park, Senall said.

The accelerator funding supports the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, aligned with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s green energy goals. He aims to have the state reach zero emissions from electricity production by 2040, and achieve an overall reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. 

The accelerators send a strong signal to entrepreneurs and companies that think outside the box — New York State is here to help energy innovators grow and thrive as we build stronger, cleaner communities to benefit all New Yorkers, especially now, as we look ahead to jump-starting the economy following the Covid-19 pause,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA

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