The Ion receives $1.5M grant to rev accelerator programs

The Accelerator Hub will anchor Houston’s Midtown innovation district

A rendering of the Ion.

HOUSTON – (Sept. 30, 2020) – The Ion, the innovation and startup hub being developed in Midtown Houston by Rice University, has received a grant for $1.5 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) that will significantly expand its ability to support entrepreneurship and drive economic development across the Houston-Galveston region.

The grant, part of the EDA's Build to Scale (B2S) program, will fund the Accelerator Hub. It will include the Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator, which supports startups developing technology and solutions to help communities bounce back faster from disasters; the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator, which supports early-stage energy startups building solutions for a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable future; and DivInc Accelerator, an Austin-based program serving minority- and women-led startups.

“We are really excited about working together with DivInc and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship to realize the full potential of the opportunities that these funds will help unleash,” said Jan Odegard, interim executive director of the Ion.

“Receiving this grant is a big win for our city — furthering the Ion’s opportunity to bring together leading minds to solve some of our toughest challenges," said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance. "We believe that it's a fully collaborative approach that will lead to accelerating energy innovation and sustainable solutions."

Being organized in the Accelerator Hub will enable the programs to coordinate and leverage each other, amplifying their strengths and helping them develop more effective and inclusive entrepreneurial talent, according to the Rice Management Co., which is developing the Ion.

"DivInc embodies the mindset that this generation and all the generations of innovators to follow must be inclusive of people of color and women entrepreneurs – who will build successful scalable growth companies to address tomorrow's challenges and opportunities,” said Preston James, chief executive officer at DivInc. “By removing the barriers that currently exist, we unleash this untapped potential and lift Houston to new economic heights. To do this we must establish strong collaboration with partners like the Ion, Rice University, the EDA and many others."

The Ion will open its doors in 2021. Applications for startups to join the accelerator programs will open soon, with first cohorts set for early 2021.


To schedule an interview with Odegard or Burke or for more information, contact Avery Franklin, media relations specialist at Rice, at or 713-348-6327.