FORGE, the nonprofit that helps bridge the gap between startups and manufacturing, announced on April 4 the opening of a new grant for cleantech startups with female and non-binary leadership. The latest edition of the FORGE Product Development Grant program will award grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 in late June. The application deadline is June 3, 2022.
FORGE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization connecting innovative startups with physical products with manufacturing resources. FORGE support for startups includes training, consulting, grants, curated introductions and access to an ecosystem of like-minded companies.
With more than six years of sustained engagement with startups, FORGE determined that several sectors within their ecosystem were under-resourced. “Twenty-eight percent of the startups we work with have female leadership, and they typically come on board with less than two-thirds the funding of male-led companies,” said Laura Teicher, FORGE executive director. “With the support of the Woka Foundation, female- and non-binary-led cleantech companies will be the focus of the upcoming round of Product Development Grants. The ability to raise early money is a good predictor of success. We see grants like these as an opportunity to boost their trajectory.”
As an additional benefit, the grants are non-dilutive. They do not result in a loss of equity, through loans or a transfer of shares to secondary investors. For female- and non-binary-led companies, this is especially vital, as they traditionally launch with less capital investment.
Winning startups should use the Product Development Grants to address a specific product development challenge critical to the company’s ability to scale and reach the marketplace. Successful grant applications will pinpoint that challenge and articulate how grant funds will be used to overcome the roadblock.
To meet the eligibility requirements, female-led or non-binary leadership is broadly defined to include: founders, presidents or c-suite executives. The cleantech sectors eligible for the FORGE Product Development Grant include building and energy efficiency; energy generation/storage/distribution; chemical and advanced materials; robotics and process efficiency; smart cities; water tech; agriculture, and waste industries. Innovative companies applying must have at least an early-stage physical prototype.
About FORGE Product Development Grants
Throughout the year, FORGE offers innovative startups the opportunity to apply for Product Development Grants. Recipients get funding to advance their prototype designs, product development, or ready their product for production. These product grants continue the company’s mission to help innovators navigate the journey from physical prototype to commercialization and impact at scale.
About Woka Foundation
The Woka Foundation is a grant-making organization currently focusing on reversing climate change and building a durable biosphere through innovation, regenerative agriculture, gender equity and education. Learn more at wokafoundation.org
FORGE is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps startups go from physical prototype to commercialization and impact at scale. Their goal is to identify gaps and accelerate the path to market for startups with manufacturable products by making right-fit introductions to industry expertise, combined with the training and support needed to ensure readiness to manufacture. FORGE programming and resources prepare startups and manufacturers to work effectively together, driving local manufacturing contracts from initial prototyping through to full-scale production.
FORGE’s mission to identify, support and build resources for startup companies has yielded considerable success. More than 90 percent of the 480+ startup companies that have engaged with FORGE have matured and thrived. They have helped to add more than $33 million to the local economy and more than 4,000 innovation and manufacturing jobs. Learn more at FORGEMass.org
Learn more about FORGE and read about their Virtual Manufacturing Showcase here on Lioness.