2023 is going to be a big year for climate.
Last year’s $500 billion Inflation Reduction Act and 2021’s $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have opened up billions of dollars of potential funding for companies looking to make a difference on climate change.
At Incite, we work with dozens of companies doing just that – collaborating with public sector partners from the beginning. This includes my latest venture, Mill, an end-to-end system to prevent food waste (you can read more about Mill in the previous edition of the Incite Post).
So, last October, I hosted a webinar with Hannah Bascom (VP, SPAN), Kate Gordon (Senior Advisor, DOE), and Brandon Hurlbut (Co-Founder, Boundary Stone Partners) to discuss how startups can work with government, and with each other, to multiply their impact. Here are three points that really stuck out to me:
1. Start Early.
Brandon discussed working with a founder in rocket manufacturing – back when the startup only had two employees – and how a creative partnership helped them secure a lease agreement with a NASA testing facility. If they hadn’t started early, their business might not have been possible. Starting early helps you get a landscape of potential partnerships, build bonds beyond asking for things, and advise stakeholders at the beginning of the policymaking process.
2. Find all of the stakeholders.
Kate advised companies to “get to know the different environments… there is a lot of money at the federal level that is driving a lot of state innovation and action.” Aside from federal funding, think about other valuable government relationships with decision makers like environmental regulators, state economic development offices, and metropolitan planning boards.
3. Work Collectively.
Hannah tells us that “interfacing with industry groups and conferences are where you’ll get the sense of where to start.” Working with other people, whether non-profits, climate firms like Boundary Stone, industry groups, and even informal coalitions with competitors will help give you the credibility and expertise required to strengthen your government partnerships.
As my team and I build Mill, and take on the work of changing everyday behaviors and larger waste systems, this advice from Brandon, Kate, and Hannah has been invaluable. Here's what I'll add: if we're going to make true progress on climate change, we have to engage private companies, governments, and non-profits to work collectively. Historic climate investments from the federal government, a wealth of knowledge within climate non-profits, and the necessity for innovative climate solutions make this the perfect time to get started.