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West Gate provides innovators with a career-changing opportunity to de-risk their technologies and receive specialized entrepreneurial training over a 2-year runway at NREL.

Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) logo
Map shows the locations of the four Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs (LEEP) in the United States: Cyclotron Road at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, West Gate at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, Chain Reaction Innovations at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois; and Innovation Crossroads in Tennessee.

By embedding enterprising scientists and engineers at NREL and providing them with sustained access to world-class expertise and lab space at NREL, West Gate reduces the risk of entrepreneurial failure and accelerates the commercialization our innovators' technologies.

NREL advances the science and engineering of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power technologies and provides the knowledge to integrate and optimize energy systems.

Learn more about NREL.

West Gate is administered by NREL's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office. Launched in late 2021, West Gate is the fourth Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program.

Named after NREL's physical west gate—a private site entrance point—our innovators can easily traverse between NREL and the Colorado School of Mines to unlock expanded technical capabilities on both campuses while powering the development of their startup companies' core technologies.

Why Apply to West Gate

The Solar Energy Research Facility at NREL's South Table Mountain campus
Colorado School of Mines campus

West Gate offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their technologies at NREL and the Colorado School of Mines.

West Gate offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their technologies at NREL and enjoy the vibrant co-working space at the state-of-the-art Beck Venture Center, hosted by the Colorado School of Mines.

The West Gate program philosophy puts innovators first. Once accepted into our 2-year program, you will receive:

  • An annual living stipend of $115,000
  • Relocation, healthcare, and travel support stipends for qualifying candidates
  • 2-year technical assistance funding worth $150,000 redeemable at NREL
  • Curated, individualized programming to fast-track training
  • Entrepreneurial curriculum, mentorship, and support.

West Gate supports innovators who have a technology concept in at least a proof-of-concept stage (Technology Readiness Level 3+) that is aligned with NREL research and development areas and meets the program's technology eligibility criteria.

Once selected to participate in West Gate, you will be uniquely matched to NREL expertise and capabilities to identify projects that will significantly de-risk your technologies in meaningful ways—leading to improved opportunities for your startup company to raise public or private funding.

West Gate boosts entrepreneurial potential through targeted training, curriculum, and mentorship. During the onboarding evaluation process, the West Gate Program Management Team will work with you to understand your individual needs and expectations and create a customized entrepreneurial training experience.

Learn About the Application Process

Read about West Gate's eligibility requirements and the steps in the application process.

West Gate Location

Once selected to enter the program full time, you must relocate to Golden, Colorado, or the greater Denver area to be near NREL and the Colorado School of Mines. Local cities within easy access to these campuses include Golden, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, and Arvada.

West Gate offers a highly immersive experience and, in conjunction with your technical work, you should expect a full calendar of meetings, trainings, and activities that promote deep connections within NREL and throughout the West Gate ecosystem.

Embedding at NREL

NREL's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, administrative offices, and majority of research labs are located at our main campus in Golden, Colorado. NREL's Flatirons Campus, which is home to the National Wind Technology Center, is located approximately 25 miles north of our main campus.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

West Gate joins NREL in aspiring to be a world-class leader in workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion by creating and maintaining a culture of respect, caring, and belonging.