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mHUB Driven 2025 Clean Tech Economy Coalition Awarded $500k in Phase 1 of EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Kim Blomquist
872.222.5279
kim@mhubchicago.com

mHUB Driven 2025 Clean Tech Economy Coalition Awarded $500k in Phase 1 of EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge

The 2025 Clean Tech Economy Coalition was selected from 529 national applicants to develop an Illinois regional growth cluster around the  commercialization of clean energy technologies and to drive resilient and equitable economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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(CHICAGO December 13, 2021) - The 2025 Clean Tech Economic Coalition (CTEC) led by mHUB, a Chicago-based hardtech and manufacturing innovation center, has been recognized by the U.S. Economic Development Administration for its potential to accelerate the transformation of the region's economy by growing clean energy technologies. The CTEC includes 19 partnering organizations rallied around six major initiatives related to manufacturing and supply chain, workforce development, applied research, entrepreneurship and commercialization, and infrastructure in Illinois.

It was selected as one of the 60 Build Back Better Regional Challenge finalists, from a pool of 529 applicants, to receive a grant of approximately $500,000 to further develop proposed projects for potential Phase 2 funding up to $100 million. CTEC is the only finalist from Illinois. 

The 2025 Clean Tech Economy Coalition is the result of a state-wide planning effort and Request for Proposals (RFP) opened by mHUB and University of Chicago in coordination with the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, Cook County Government, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, World Business Chicago, and P33. It identified clean energy technology as a priority for the region as it can build upon significant assets that have supported the expansion of renewable energy across Illinois and created hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs. 
 
Coalition projects and participating member organizations were selected to coalesce the public, private, and civic sectors around aligning resources and a coordinated approach to recovering the clean tech economy. The approach, which intentionally partners large institutions and community-based organizations, creates an inclusive and equity-centered mechanism for economic growth while strengthening the region’s existing industrial base. 
 

The Clean Tech Economy Coalition includes mHUB, University of Chicago, City of Chicago, World Business Chicago, Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative, Evergreen Climate Innovations (formerly Clean Energy Trust), Elevate Energy, Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce, Cook County Government, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Climate Vault, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Richard J. Daley College, College of Lake County, Bright Star Community Outreach, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University.

“I’m pleased to see the EDA recognized Illinois’ own mHUB as a viable investment through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Illinois is poised to be a leader in clean energy, and with this funding, our state can boost our economic pandemic recovery and drive innovation toward a greener, more sustainable tech economy,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

“Illinois is poised to be the center of clean tech for the Midwest. It is the first major coal-producing state in the nation as well as the first Midwest state to commit to a carbon-free future by 2045,” said Haven Allen, mHUB CEO and co-founder. “CTEC will align the state’s clean tech ecosystem to meet the demands of the national clean energy economy by growing new and existing businesses, accelerating job creation and dramatically reducing the environmental impact of major industries in Illinois.” 

“In the emerging clean tech industry, innovators face challenges getting the capital and resources they need to commercialize the cutting-edge research that will address our climate goals and create jobs,” said Juan de Pablo, Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives. “CTEC will concentrate its efforts on focused investments to accelerate commercialization and adoption with impact at the community level.” 

The national clean energy economy grew faster than the U.S. economy as a whole between 2011 and 2018, while Chicago’s clean energy economy grew faster than the regional economy during the same period. Members of the CTEC began meeting as early as 2017, supporting entrepreneurs and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the creation of clean tech products and services. Now these entities will become further connected under the CTEC to align with the state’s Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act and the more recently passed Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) that will transition the state to 100% clean energy by 2050. 
 

Under the CTEC, the regional production of technologies for local applications and trade, the rapid rollout of critical infrastructure, and coordinated workforce development effort will support an end-to-end regional supply chain while transforming existing economies into a strong and sustainable future. Technology focus areas will be in fuel cell development for power generation, grid modernization for more efficient and reliable power transmission, carbon capture, battery and energy storage for electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure for EVs. 

"Everyone - including those most impacted by climate change and environmental injustice - should have the opportunity to participate and benefit from the growing clean energy economy,"  said U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth. "That's why I'm proud that Illinois's own mHUB has been selected from more than 500 applicants to compete in the Build Back Better Regional Challenge that will help strengthen economies and communities in Chicago and throughout Illinois, create good-paying jobs and improve our nation's competitiveness globally. I wish them best of luck as they move onto the next stage of this important competition."

“From Glasgow to D.C., my administration has made clear to the world that Illinois will be a pioneer in the clean energy revolution – not least of all because of leaders on the ground like mHUB and UChicago who are at the forefront of this work,” said  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. “When I signed into law the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, it was the most significant step Illinois has taken in a generation toward a reliable, renewable, affordable and clean energy future. The Clean Tech Economy Coalition allows key stakeholders across the state to accelerate that transformation in lockstep, creating jobs and a cleaner economy for all.”

Clean tech presents opportunities for inclusion given the higher-than-average salaries, good career paths, and emerging nature of many clean energy clusters. Currently, only 25% of clean energy jobs are held by women, 8% by Black workers, and 17% by Latinx. CTEC will engage in outreach and workforce training opportunities to recruit women and BIPOC to engage in clean tech jobs, creating pathways to careers concurrent with expanding EV and grid infrastructure projects within disinvested communities.

"Chicago is a premier, global destination and growing hub for innovation and technology," Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. The Clean Tech Economy Coalition, with mHUB’s leadership, will further stimulate equitable growth in this sector and provide new jobs, clean technology, a stronger workforce, and Chicago based projects that incorporate inclusivity and collaboration with our underserved communities." 

“There is a lot to do at the policy level and implementation level to ensure that Chicago’s climate action plan includes environmental justice initiatives so our most vulnerable communities benefit from job training, wealth opportunities, and healthy environments,” said Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. “The Clean Tech Economy Coalition will provide the funding and execution necessary for impact at the community level and we specifically look forward to supporting the building of sustainable manufacturing practices and driving investments in electric vehicle infrastructure.” 

The CTEC application for Phase 1 was supported by West Monroe Partners, Civic Consulting Alliance and RW Ventures and was underwritten by mHUB, Cook County Government and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. It will submit a further proposal for Phase 2 of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge requesting $99.3M to implement six strategic projects. If awarded, coalition members and local governments are estimated to provide $101.6M of matching funds for a total project cost greater than $200 million.

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The Clean Tech Economy Coalition (CTEC) is an alliance of organizations committed to supporting a clean energy economy in Illinois and is led by Chicago-based manufacturing and hardtech innovation center mHUB. It was recognized as a Phase 1 finalist in the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC), selected from a pool of 529 national applicants and the only finalist selected from Illinois. Through major initiatives related to manufacturing and supply chain, workforce development, applied research, entrepreneurship and commercialization, and infrastructure, CTEC seeks to ensure Illinois emerges as a national and global leader in the clean tech economy in a way that promotes opportunity and environmental justice for all communities at the local level. CTEC was formed in 2021 in response to the U.S. Economic Development Administration BBBRC and has built a $201M project proposal with an initial $99.3M requested from the federal government. For further information contact info@2025cleantech.com.

About mHUB

mHUB is a leading independent hardtech and manufacturing innovation center that exists to convene the entrepreneurial ecosystem around physical product innovation to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, grow and thrive. The mHUB community includes over 350 active and alumni startups and small businesses supported by a deep talent pool of product designers and developers, entrepreneurs, engineers and manufacturers, corporate leaders, industry experts, mentors and investors. mHUB provides a hyper-resourced environment to entrepreneurs with the goal of commercializing new hardtech innovation that will lead to new businesses, intellectual property, investment, revenue and job creation. Since launching in 2017, the mHUB community has generated more than $430M in revenue, launched more than 1,256 products, hired more than 2,153 employees, and raised over $1B in capital.