Elemental Excelerator

Elemental Excelerator was initially modeled after traditional government grant programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) programs.

Finding a job after college may be difficult, but Oʻahu native Marie O’Grady jump-started her career through Elemental Excelerator.

Founded 2012 in Hawaiʻi, Elemental Excelerator is a non-profit startup accelerator. Each year, they find 15-20 companies that best fit its mission and fund each company up to $1 million for improving systems that impact people’s lives: energy, water, agriculture and mobility.

Elemental Excelerator encourages students to apply for the jobs they have, as it helps build their resumes. Students have the opportunity to work on electric airplanes or in media production for an energy startup.

”One of the values that drives what the Elemental is doing in supporting our local talent is very much aligned (with the University of Hawaiʻi’s) strategic plan to graduate,” Elena Farden, educational and community manager at Elemental Excelerator said. “How do we make sure that we're also offering them world-class education opportunities? This is one way that we're able to do that.”

O’Grady attended Whitman College and came back to Hawaiʻi after she found an internship through the organization. She started as a fellow two years ago and eventually got a full-time job as an Events and Communications Manager. 

One of the skills she learned with Elemental Excelerator was being able to expand her communication and network with people.

“Specific to communications is sort of learning how to sort of tweak your language based on the audience and the brand of the company you’re trying to represent,” O’Graday said. “That was something that I had never explored before.”

Since its founding, Elemental Excelerator has supported more than 25 interns and fellows, eight of whom came from UH Mānoa.

“Everything that we do is sort of around our companies and they're really at the heart and soul of Elemental Excelerator,” O’Grady said. “These are folks that are really innovating and changing the way that we're going to be using energy and moving and feeding ourselves.”

Positions are open for Elemental Excelerator’s annual summer internships and 12-month fellowships with their portfolio companies. They are looking for college students or recent graduates that are interested in working alongside startup companies “who are changing the world.” Students can send their resume and cover letter to hello@elementalexcelerator.com until March 15.

To see a full list of internships and fellowships, visit elementalexcelerator.com/mission/#join.