The Energy Giant E.ON wants to tap into entrepreneurial talent and have done so for the last 5 years with their accelerator program: Agile, based out of Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2016 E.ON expanded their accelerator program to Sweden and in 2017 to the Czech Republic.
Twice a year six startups gets chosen to join the accelerator program. With 30 000 euros in their hands, the startups begin their 5 month journey of mentoring, training, and future funding and the teams will get an office space provided for them, access to several industry experts and guidance to help them structure their business in a scalable way.
A different type of program
Agile is a different type of program than other accelerators. The inclination of E.ON is not only to help new businesses through the tough start of getting their company up and running. They also look inside the company for new prospering ideas. Twice a year they take in 3 startups from within the company and 3 from outside the company.
“The synergy between the teams are really important (external and Internal). They help each other out a lot. The external startup often helps the internal teams to run faster, and the external teams get a better insight into the market from the internal teams and help each other out with industry contacts” says Sara Hamlin Operations lead at Agile Nordic.
People working within E.ON will have full pay while they work on their business idea, while the external startups can allocate the money on pay, product development and so forth.
The best startups
The accelerator program is aimed at early and mid-stage startups. E.ON's preferable start-ups are companies that focus on energy, sustainability, cleantech, renewables, smart home, energy efficiency AND facility management. However, provided that the startup has a credible subject matter, they are happy to keep an open mind.
Once approved to be part of the agile accelerator, a program is laid out to ensure that your startup will have the best chance of succeeding. However, the demand on the startup teams to preform are really high. It is much tougher on the startups entering E.ON’s agile program, compared to public funded accelerator programs. S. Hamlin explains.
Learn from the new
E.ON has come a long way from building nuclear power plants the business it is today. “To be innovative and faster in our business approaches, we need help from small startups to do just that. And they need help from us to get a test environment, contacts, money and so forth. Which is something we can help them with”. S. Hamlin says and explains that she is happy to be part of such a beneficial collaboration between a large company like E.ON and innovation startups.
Every year Agile Nordic runs two batches, from 21st of August – 31th of January and the again 5th of February – 30th of June. With a new batch starting soon, the collaboration between young and old in the industry of energy efficiency continues.
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