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Learn how to apply to the West Gate Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program.

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West Gate is looking for talented scientists, engineers, inventors, and founding entrepreneurs with promising technologies to commercialize. Selected innovators must relocate to Golden, Colorado, or the greater Denver area and commit at least 75% of their time to building their companies for the duration of the 2-year fellowship.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to participate in the West Gate program, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent U.S. resident at time of application
  • Have a technical degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate)
  • Have 4-plus years of post-baccalaureate scientific research, engineering, or technology development experience
  • Be a novice startup founder
  • Have a technology that:
    • Is at least proof-of-concept stage (Technology Readiness Level 3+)
    • Aligns with and leverages NREL’s research areas
    • Addresses a large societal need that hinders American competitiveness or energy efficiency
    • Falls under the program’s mission space, including:
      • Advanced materials
      • Carbon capture and sequestration
      • Carbon dioxide removal
      • Circular economy technologies and systems
      • Energy storage and grid optimization
      • Food, water, and energy nexus
      • Grid sensors
      • Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies
      • Improving manufacturing efficiency
      • Industrial decarbonization
      • Lowering building carbon and energy footprints
      • Offshore land-based and distributed wind energy and energy supply chains
      • Solar energy
      • Quantum computing
      • Offshore land-based and distributed wind energy and energy supply chains
      • Wind energy social and environmental impacts (e.g., quieter wind turbines, repelling avian species so they won’t be harmed by turbines)
      • Other as determined by West Gate and the U.S. Department of Energy.

A formed company is not a requirement to apply to the program. However, if selected to participate in West Gate, you will be required to incorporate your company upon acceptance into the program. Your company must be based in the United States.

If you already have a formed company, to be eligible to apply for the program, you must have an ownership stake in the company, and the company must be U.S.-based.

Company/team applications are not supported. West Gate will only review one applicant per company/team.

This program is not intended for serial entrepreneurs who have already demonstrated an ability to successfully launch one or more startup companies.

Contact us with questions about eligibility criteria.

Application Steps

  1. Review the eligibility criteria above to determine whether you meet the basic program requirements.
  2. Register for an account in the application portal using your valid email address.
  3. Complete and submit the application.
  4. If invited via email, participate in the subsequent rounds of the selection process.

Selection Process



Applicants register for an account on the application portal. 



Up to 20 semi-finalists are invited to participate in a virtual roundtable interview with a panel of experts.



Up to 10 finalists are invited to participate in an in-person pitch competition in front of a panel of judges and an audience.



Three to five selected innovators are invited to participate in West Gate.



Innovators who accept the offer to participate in West Gate relocate to Golden, Colorado, to embark upon their 2-year West Gate journey.