Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator pushes to cut greenhouse gas emissions ahead of 2028 Olympics


The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a nonprofit that helps scale small businesses that are working to tackle climate change, is adding a new cohort of startups to its two-year program and will double down on efforts supporting minority founders as it looks to increase diversity in the green economy.

The deliberate approach to support minority businesses is coupled with goals that lower greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically shift the way people and goods move in a region notorious for its traffic. LACI is pushing for 30% of all cars on the road to be zero emissions vehicles, including 80% new cars sold in the region, by the time Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympics. Electrification of 40% of drayage trucks and 60% of medium-duty delivery trucks that often use the Port of Los Angeles is also a priority. 

"The eyes of the world will be on Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympics and we want to get a gold medal for clean air. We want to get a gold medal by demonstrating that, in fact, we can get Angelenos to start driving zero emissions vehicles," said Councilman Kevin de León, who represents the 14th district in LA where LACI is located. He added that if LA can hit its targets then "there's hope for the rest of the country and the rest of the world."

Since 2011, LACI has worked with nearly 300 startups in cleantech, helping them raise over $600 million while creating more than 2,300 jobs. But the organization has also prioritized supporting minority owners and the number of startups with founders of color has increased from 14% to over 55% in the past five years. Black and Latino founders who once made up just a tenth of founders at the incubator program now account for more than 30%.