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    The Mission.  The Clean Energy Accelerator is a Rice Alliance initiative focused on supporting the success of emerging, tech-enabled ventures who are advancing decarbonization solutions and energy efficiency strategies.  Mentorship is an essential function of this mission and will fundamentally impact the ways startups achieve success.

    The Mentor Role is designed for industry leaders who are foremost experts in their field.  It is a voluntary role structured over a 10-week period from September to November, 2022, that supports the growth of clean energy companies.  Top-performing mentors will:

    • critically advise and thoughtfully guide company founders to develop meaningful strategies for addressing and overcoming key development challenges;
    • help establish direct connections to markets served by the company; and,
    • enhance organizational and personal development through exposure to industry perspectives. 

    The Mentor is not formally paired with startups nor is a match guaranteed to occur, but recommended pairings may be made as specific needs or areas of concern are identified.  Companies are expected to initiate and drive the mentor connections based on how well interests and needs align with mentor experience and skill sets.  Mentors are invited and encouraged to attend scheduled mixers and socials that introduce mentors to startups, any training sessions of their choice, and/or the final Demo Day on November 17, 2022.  We will promote these opportunities as they are scheduled.

    The Mentor Time Commitment varies.  Some mentors take on a very active role, meeting with founders at a regular cadence.  Others engage more as a subject matter expert and need only meet for a few targeted discussions. All ranges are fine. The time commitment is led by the founders and each founder approaches mentoring differently, but in all scenarios the time commitment is mutually agreeable.

    The Mentor and Mentee operate with the following guiding principles in mind and must acknowledge this code of conduct which outlines the standard of behavior expected of all participants.

    • Respect confidentiality.  Develop trust by keeping conversations private.
    • Display integrity. Do what you say, and say what you do.
    • Listen rather than tell. Be curious, avoid judgment and enable confidence by guiding founders through challenges.
    • Be realistic. Missteps happen. Support founders through creative and efficient problem solving.
    • Check your biases.  Come from a place of openness, humility and empathy.
    • Be curious. Ask questions that guide founders to discover their own pathways and empower them to act.
    • Inspire. Fuel founders through optimism, openness, impartiality and enthusiasm.  
    • Be direct.  Deliver consistent, honest, constructive and practical feedback.
    • Be humble. Aspire to help founders succeed.
    • Make time. Your expertise matters.  Commit to meaningful and consistent engagement with founders.

    Have questions or want to suggest another great mentor?  Email us at

    To be considered for this year’s class, complete this mentor interest form by August 1, 2022.

    Apply To Be a Mentor

    The Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator is a program run by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (Rice Alliance). The Rice Alliance at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University has a 20+ year history of supporting startups, tech and the innovation ecosystem. With a vibrant community, including more than 52,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem participating in programs hosted by the Rice Alliance, the accelerator is a commitment to expand our support of energy innovators while aligning our efforts with Houston's energy transition initiatives. Since inception, more than 978 energy tech ventures have participated in our energy forums and raised more than $7.2 billion in funding.