A conversation with EPIC prize winner BRITE Energy Innovators:

OTT: Congratulations on receiving $50,000 as part of OTT’s EPIC prize! First, please tell us a little more about your company/who you are.

BRITE Energy Innovators: BRITE Energy Innovators is an Ohio-based energy technology incubator that has worked with over 400 clients commercializing new energy storage and efficiency solutions. The non-profit provides mentorship and technical resources to clients and works with channel partners to identify pilot opportunities to utilize new hardware and software solutions such as connected devices and communication platforms.

OTT: Will you give us a brief description of your winning program plan?

BRITE: BRITE’s plan through EPIC is to build upon the energy storage innovation ecosystem in the TechBelt that stretches across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The plan includes outreach to founders and supporters of adopting new technologies, particularly universities. More specifically, funding allowed BRITE to gain more partners, schedule virtual demos, onboard more clients and identify new first customers for pilots.

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EPIC Prize Winner Video - BRITE
EPIC Prize Winner Video - BRITE

OTT: How has this program impacted your region/local community?

BRITE: The EPIC program has allowed us to leverage additional federal funding through the Department of Energy, Economic Development Administration and Appalachian Regional Commission for energy storage cluster work. More importantly, it allowed us network and meet new partners in our region such as the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, IN-2-Market, and USRIA.

OTT: When it comes to lessons learned with building out your regional innovation ecosystem, what is one thing that has worked and one thing that has not?

BRITE: As to lessons learned with building a regional innovation ecosystem, creating regular touchpoints for networking and participation are critical. BRITE hosts office hours weekly and BRITEside Chats monthly that are opportunities to talk about assets in the energy storage innovation ecosystem. At these events, founders and partners such as government representatives, universities and utilities are able to connect and pitch each other ideas. We were hoping to host an in-person demo day with universities across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, but with the pandemic we decided to postpone until a later date.

OTT: What does it mean to be an accelerator/incubator during the coronavirus pandemic? What is one lesson learned from this virtual experience?

BRITE: Incubators are needed more now than ever as entrepreneurship is on the rise. The pandemic has taught us that all relationship building comes down to conversations. The pandemic allowed us to shift resources from events and outreach to making direct calls to founders with energy storage solutions and in turn led to a more data-driven approach to how BRITE delivers services to startups.

OTT: How can we stay up to date on the latest news or events with your company?

BRITE: Please subscribe to our monthly newsletter, BRITElights, for updates on our programs and clients.

Thank you BRITE Energy Innovators! 

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