Memphis-based AgLaunch, which is a partner with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center on several initiatives, has just been named as one of the four recipients of funding from the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2).
Operated in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), “The IN2 Channel Partner Awards program aims to strengthen sustainable technology initiatives and address common barriers for startups and has long prioritized diversity as a part of its selection process,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 Program Manager, NREL. “Research indicates that the pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on minority-owned businesses in all sectors. These latest awards will focus on addressing the lack of minority representation in the cleantech industry at a time when startups and entrepreneurs are experiencing heightened challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to the recent announcement, AgLaunch will use the funds to develop an accelerator program focused specifically on underrepresented and under resourced founders and farmers. AgLaunch will leverage its relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including Tennessee State University, to increase the diversity of founders in the AgLaunch pipeline.
Additionally, the funds will be used to continue 48-Hour Launch, a program that encourages underrepresented high school students to develop technology and entrepreneurship skills focused on solving problems in food and agriculture.