Women in tech

Applications for female founders to join EnergyLab’s climate accelerator close this weekend

- May 26, 2022 2 MIN READ
Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship recipient and HAL Systems co-founder Vicky Featherston
Applications for EnergyLab’s Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship (WICEF) close this Sunday, May 29.

EnergyLab is Australia and New Zealand’s largest climate tech startup accelerator and innovation network dedicated to reaching net zero emissions.

The organisation recently signed on Ampol as a partner, with the fuel company providing funding and expertise to support EnergyLab’s WICEF program.

The Fellowship, which launched in 2019, offers mentorship and access to investment networks needed for aspiring female entrepreneurs and more than 70 women have taken part.

Graduate Annalise Kerr said the WICEF experience was not about “superficial networking”.

“It’s a community of passionate women who want to go against the grain, pursue entrepreneurship, inspire, and be inspired,” she said.

“This experience has not only exposed me to the initial steps for developing a startup but has empowered me with the confidence to actively pursue my ideas and support the global transition to a zero-carbon world.”

Another alumni, Vicky Featherston is co-founder of HAL Systems – a seed-stage cleantech startup working on energy-efficient climate control for commercial buildings.

The Melbourne-born entrepreneur is the child of refugees from the Vietnam War.

“I come from the design industry, which makes me a bit unusual for a cleantech founder. So when we first founded HAL, I was eager to learn as much as I could about the building energy efficiency sector,” she said.

“I wanted to understand how it worked, what the motivations were, and what was preventing innovation from occurring. So it’s been an exciting learning curve.

I’ve also discovered there are many parallels between design and entrepreneurship. Both require lateral thinking and questioning of the status quo, but still need to retain rigour and purpose.”

HAL is a predictive climate control for the commercial property market. ituses weather forecast data to make predictions about how a building will behave, and takes active control of a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to make energy savings.

EnergyLab CEO Megan Fisher said the business is committed to promoting and supporting gender equality in the climate tech sector.

“With less than 20% of climate tech startups being founded by women, there is more focus required on this issue,” she said.

“We thank Ampol for their sponsorship and appreciate the shared commitment to support the next generation of women founders through our Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship.” 

Ampol executive Brent Merrick said the partnership forms part of the company’s future energy and decarbonisation strategies.

“We’re proud to support EnergyLab’s Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship to help provide the mentorship and support required to make climate tech startups successful, and to help address gender equity challenges in the sector,” he said. 

“We look forward to working with EnergyLab to support the success of women clean tech entrepreneurs in the years ahead.” 

Applications for the 2022 Fellowship intake close on Sunday, May 29. For details and to apply, click here.