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LabStart Receives Historic Investment to Help Underrepresented Entrepreneurs Launch Climate Startups

Department of Commerce Greenlights LabStart



Megan Holcomb (

DENVER, CO, October 12, 2023 – LabStart Innovations, Inc. is a nonprofit emerging from pilot to full program after a successful fundraising year. The LabStart team set out to reimagine the lab-to-market commercialization process in a way that encourages entrepreneurship, accelerates climate innovation, and incentivizes greater accessibility and inclusion.

LabStart’s application for the 2024 cohort will open in November. The year-long program centers on expanding network access and building capacity for women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and those from rural or disadvantaged communities to commercialize climate technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy National Labs. Through a strong partnership ecosystem and guidance to demystify the intellectual property discovery and licensing process, LabStart has shown that accelerated climate tech commercialization is possible.

The project was built out of an experimental pilot with Carbon180 and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2020. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) was the first to financially back the concept through their Advanced Industries grant prorgram in 2022. In September 2023, LabStart was informed their program received the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program award. The Department of Commerce grant was extremely competitive with over 1200 applications and only 43 winners nationwide. The full list of recipients can be seen on the program fact sheets and in the map below. Funds support LabStart's core operations over the next four years.

“The Capital Readiness Program marks the largest investment to support underserved entrepreneurs and businesses in Commerce Department history,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
LabStart staff in Washington DC accepting Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Capital Readiness Grant

LabStart program director, Troy Daley, flew out to Washington D.C. for Vice President Harris’s big announcement and a roundtable with Gene Sperling, Economic Advisor to President Biden.

Awardees will help prepare underserved entrepreneurs to secure capital from the historic $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and other capital sources – entrepreneurs such as Aaron Fitzgerald, CEO of Mars Materials, from LabStart’s first cohort. Within two years of LabStart support, Aaron successfully raised over $3M in capital, hired a team of seven, and was accepted into Breakthrough Energy, PRIME Coalition, Greentown Labs, and Venture for Climate. With the operational capacity granted from MBDA's Capital Readiness Program, LabStart has been granted a "greenlight" to replicate Aaron's success story to aspiring climate tech founders across the West.

LabStart is actively developing partnerships with organizations and individuals that can support entrepreneur recruitment, technology validation, funding identification, and more.

Please register to receive updates and future announcements on the LabStart homepage (


Capital Readiness Program recipients listed and identified on a map of the US
Capital Readiness Program Award Recipients. See for more



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