West Gate

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) manages West Gate, the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office's newest Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP), which is hosted by NREL with support from Colorado School of Mines.

NREL researchers Lahiru Jayakody and Rita Clare work with strains of engineered Pseudomonas Putida KT2440, a plastic eating microbe, in a lab.

West Gate adds to the IEC's program continuum by providing a bridge between market discovery and startup creation.

Unlocking Innovation, Inspiring Entrepreneurs

west gate logo

There is plenty of entrepreneurial potential waiting for the right resources and runway to launch compelling, cutting-edge cleantech startups. West Gate provides innovators the time, training, and technical capabilities to accelerate a promising technology into an early-stage company ready for growth.

West Gate supports innovators with entrepreneurial mentorship and technology de-risking over a 2-year runway. Through a competitive selection process, West Gate provides up to five selected innovators with:

  • An annual stipend of $100,000
  • Two-year technical assistance funding of $175,000 redeemable at NREL, Mines, and other program affiliates
  • Curated, individualized programming
  • Entrepreneurial curriculum, mentorship, and support
  • Healthcare and relocation benefits for qualifying candidates.

Seeking Innovators for Cohort 1

We are looking for talented scientists, engineers, inventors, and entrepreneurs with a promising technology they seek to commercialize. Selected innovators must relocate to the greater Denver area and commit full-time to building their company for the duration of the program. To be eligible for the program, interested participants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and able to provide documentation for verification
  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor of science degree in science, technology, engineering, or math
  • Have at least 2 years of post-bachelor experience or education in a technical field
  • Have a technology concept in prototype stage at minimum that is aligned with NREL research and development areas and U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's strategic goals in the areas of advanced manufacturing, building efficiency, and solar energy production.

A formed company is not a requirement for application. However, individuals selected to join West Gate will need to incorporate their company upon acceptance into the program.

Contact us with questions.

Application Process

To apply to West Gate, follow this three-step process:

  1. Find out if you're eligible to apply to West Gate by taking the eligibility quiz between now and Jan. 30, 2022.
  2. If you successfully pass the eligibility quiz, you will automatically receive access to the pre-application, which is due by Jan. 30, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. MT.
  3. On Feb. 15, 2022, you will be notified if you advance to full application. Full applications will be due by March 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. MT.

Selected innovators will be notified in the summer of 2022 with anticipated relocation and onboarding starting in the fall of 2022.

Start the Application Process

Find out if you're eligible to apply to West Gate.

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