Initiate is the essence of DISTRIBUTECH International®

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Join us on the POWERGEN International® exhibit floor (booth #3755) for this interactive co-working and networking space that takes you on an entrepreneurial journey, and is the center of gravity for all cutting-edge technology, new talent and co-creation.


Initiate Schedule

What To Expect

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The overall Initiate program will be more exciting than ever before and is being designed to encourage maximum interaction between all stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem. 



For start-ups, we have a dedicated area where you can have one-to-one meetings, present your ideas, products and service solutions, and work and relax - with coffee on tap.

Young Talent

The fostering and nurturing of young talent is a central pillar of Initiate, whether an undergraduate or post-graduate student, or a young professional at the beginning of their career.

View The Initiate Hub Layout

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Initiate Hub Rendering


Corporate Startup Mixer, powered by Plug and Play Tech Center

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The Initiate Hub (booth #3755) will host an invite-only mixer on Monday, May 23rd, from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm. This exclusive mixer will bring together startup companies and utility innovation managers for an informal hour of networking and connecting.  


If you are a part of the innovation leadership team at a utility and are interested in attending the corporate startup mixer, please email Sarah Toews,

Initiate 2022 Participants

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How do I apply for Initiate?

Applications for the 2022 Initiate program are closed. We invite you to submit an application for next year.

When should my company apply?

Applications are closed. 

What is the selection process like?

Our committee of industry experts will grade the applications based on team, traction, product, and market. Up to 32 startups will be selected out of the pool of applicants to participate in DISTRIBUTECH Initiate. 

What is the cost?

It is free to apply. If your company is selected, the cost to participate is $300.

What does my company receive if we are selected?

Your company will receive 1 full summit pass, 2 exhibition passes, a kiosk in the Initiate hub, networking opportunities, and most importantly, the opportunity to pitch your product or solution to a panel of judges and thousands of attendees from around the world.

My company was selected. When do I need to decide if I want to participate? 

Please confirm your participation by October 1st. 

Should my company participate in Initiate or exhibit with a booth?

You will receive much more publicity in the Initiate program and the cost is much lower than a traditional booth. We encourage the startups to choose one or the other.

How long is the pitch?

Each startup will have 5 minutes to pitch, 5-8 minutes of Q&A from our judges and the audience and then 2 minutes of transition time.

How is Duke Energy participating in Initiate this year?

Duke is our title sponsor for Initiate. They will be passing out the Duke Energy Award to 1-3 startups that they would like to meet with after the event. One of these startups will also receive access into Joules Accelerator.

How many startups were selected for Initiate this year?

32 startups were selected, with technologies ranging from microgrids to drones to EVs.

Is there a prize if our company is one of the top three startups?

While there is not a cash prize, the top three startups will receive a physical award to display and an interview with one of Clarion’s content directors. There will also be 1-3 startups that are selected by Duke Energy as the winner(s) of the Duke Energy Award.

Initiate Committee Members

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Initiate Sponsors

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Duke Energy

Initiate Partners

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Plug and Play

Snapshot of Initiate Supporters

Snapshot of Initiate Supporters

Join Us


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Initiate believes in the ability of humans to deliver clean energy for all through research, invention and innovation, supported by collaboration between all industry stakeholders.

Join us and get in touch with the Initiate team!

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