What is BuildingEnergy Access?
NESEA is thrilled to announce the launch of BuildingEnergy Access, a new initiative to support the work of WMBEs (women and minority-owned business enterprises) by connecting them with the resources of the NESEA community. In this cohort-based program, business owners will receive custom business development services, attend industry events for education and networking, receive marketing opportunities through a spotlight program, and participate in a business-owner peer group to hone their triple bottom lines practices (people, planet, and prosperity).
BuildingEnergy Access is an expansion of existing NESEA programs, supplemented with professional services from our program partner, HELM Construction Solutions. This program is designed to serve businesses led by people who have traditionally been underrepresented in the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) space, including people of underrepresented gender and racial identities.
The program will include two cohorts:
Cohort 1, Launching January 2024:
Serving companies led by women and other underrepresented gender identities. Will run through summer 2026.
- Cohort 2, Launching January 2025:
Serving companies led by BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) individuals. Will run through summer fall 2026.
Who Should Apply?
This program is being funded with a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Participating WMBEs should be Massachusetts-based, or performing work in Massachusetts with an individual participant residing within the commonwealth. WMBE certification is not required.
If you represent an WMBE based in the Northeast but outside of Massachusetts and are interested in participating in a program like this, please contact email@example.com. We are actively looking for additional funding sources to make this and similar opportunities available to companies throughout our territory.
BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines
At its core, BuildingEnergy Access is a cohort experience. Each of the two participant cohorts will become a new group in NESEA’s signature BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines program, our business-development program based on peer mentoring around improving each businesses’s triple bottom lines (people, prosperity, planet). These groups meet in person for 2.5 day deep dives twice per year, and keep in touch online between gatherings. Each group has a paid facilitator, who brings their business expertise and dedication to NESEA’s work to steer the process.
In addition to connecting within the cohort, participants will be welcomed into the broader Bottom Lines network, composed of over 60 companies in the Northeast. This extremely engaged subset of the larger NESEA community includes the option to participate in intergroup Communities of Practice, where members from across the network have additional opportunities to work together around the following topics of interest:
- Anti-Racism Action Group
- Business Administrators
- Production Management
- Ownership/Leadership Transitions
- Architects’ Huddle
Participation in these Communities of Practice is optional, and they provides business owners and their employees with additional avenues to explore topics while developing connections with additional peer companies. You can learn more about the existing Bottom Lines program here.
The grant funding covers the cost of participating in the cohort, including administration and the costs of shared in-person meeting expenses (meals, meeting space, etc). Additionally, there are stipends to help cover costs of personal expenses associated with the meetings, which can be used for mileage, hotels, child care, etc.
NESEA Benefit Components
For nearly 50 years, NESEA has been known as a community of thought leaders, pioneering practitioners, and as a place to forge meaningful professional connections in the world of high performance building and renewable energy. Through this program, companies will be able to connect with the rich resources of our community as we learn, collaborate, and network together.
Each company in BuildingEnergy Access will receive:
- NESEA Business Membership, which extends membership benefits to all employees
- 2 passes to BuildingEnergy Boston
- An invitation to a dedicated networking event during BuildingEnergy Boston, to highlight MWBEs to the conference audience
- Participation in a marketing spotlight program, a digital campaign to promote the work of the cohorts to NESEA’s extended community
- The opportunity to host a Pro Tour (one tour per cohort per year)
HELM Construction Solutions Services
HELM Construction Solutions is an award-winning business consulting, coaching, project management, and training firm. HELM's purpose is to revolutionize the construction industry, centering people, planet, and prosperity to become a catalyst for climate justice. HELM will offer each participating business in BE Access an array of professional services valued at over $8,000:
- Business Basics Workshops - HELM will offer two day-long workshops for business owners looking for a solid grounding in the basics of running a successful construction/clean energy business. Topics include: visioning, financial literacy, sales process, project management, estimating, hiring & retention, and how to articulate your company's mission.
- 1:1 Consulting - We begin with a detailed questionnaire to learn more about your business and a team survey to get a read on how your co-workers feel about the company. We generate a Company Snapshot summarizing the financial picture, strengths, challenges, and opportunities of your business. Then, over a series of three remote sessions, your HELM business consultant will lead you through the process of defining your business goals, drafting an operating budget for the coming year, and developing a month-by-month work plan for your business development.
- Professional Coaching - HELM's professional coaches work with business leaders and team members to align purpose and passion with professional goals and values—and foster a company culture that values justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each company in the cohort will receive 10 hours of professional coaching over a 4-6 month period.
The consulting team at HELM is ready to help you assess where your company is today, create a vision for the future, and take action to make your business more rewarding, profitable, and resilient.
What Time Commitment is Required?
In the first year of the program, participants can expect:
- January: A one day, in person orientation.
- February/Early March: A two part training in Business Basics, to be scheduled on two Fridays based on participant availability
- March: Attending NESEA's annual BuildingEnergy Boston conference (scheduled for March 19-20 in 2024)
- Late Spring/Summer: HELM Consulting Kick-off Package
- Summer: Attend a NESEA Pro Tour
- Fall/Winter: Up to 10 1:1 hour-long coaching sessions, scheduled based on participant availability
- Fall: A 2.5 day Bottom Lines cohort gathering
After the first year of the program, the HELM services will be complete, and the time expectation is reduced: participants will attend 2 Bottom Lines gatherings (spring/fall), 1 Pro Tour, and the spring BuildingEnergy Boston conference.
How to Apply
The first step to applying for BuildingEnergy Access is to fill out an intake form (you must be logged into a nesea.org account to access the form). The form is non-binding. After you have completed the form, you will be contacted to set up an informational interview where we can learn more about your companies goals and evaluate program fit.
The priority deadline for Cohort #1, which will launch in January 2024, is November 21, 2023.
If you have any questions, please contact Florence MacGregor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NESEA advances sustainability practices in the built environment by cultivating a cross-disciplinary community where practitioners are encouraged to share, collaborate and learn.