Challenge to Innovate – Project Switch
  1. Antecedent

Challenge To Innovate – Project Switch (the Program) is a transformative energy innovation incubator program of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRSTRT). Building on PRSTRT’s success with its Parallel18 accelerator, Project Switch will empower Puerto Rico’s burgeoning clean energy entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing critical resources to translate ideas into commercialized technologies. Through comprehensive programming and unparalleled access to experts, we seek to enable energy entrepreneurs to structurally develop bankable business models, materialize innovative prototypes, and catalyze IP-generating technologies primed for international export. Ultimately, the Program aims to position Puerto Rico as a global leader in energy innovation while stimulating sustainable economic development, creating high-value jobs, and facilitating a just transition to renewable energy.


    1. Main Goal
  • Specifics Goals
  • Establish the first Clean Energy incubator in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
  • Foster a dynamic and inventive community atmosphere, strengthening various Clean Energy sub-sectors  such as Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Alternative Fuels, and related fields.
  • Promote buy-in from both the private sector and all facets of the government by demonstrating success and advancing economic development.
  • Promote participation from local and international angel investors, venture capital firms, private equity funds, and other capital providers to invest in the most promising startups emerging from Puerto Rico.
  • Aid in addressing prevalent challenges within the Puerto Rican economy and simultaneously drive growth in the island’s economic development.
  • Promote corporate partners to participate in business development with startups, exploring fresh opportunities for corporate innovation.
  • Place Puerto Rico prominently on the global startup ecosystem map, establishing it as a globally recognized hub for innovation.


  1. Expected Results


  • The Program aims to offer Clean Energy entrepreneurs the chance to enhance their capabilities through seminars and workshops. These sessions feature speakers from Puerto Rico and the Mainland U.S. who possess industry and technical expertise.
  • Cohort entities are anticipated to generate economic development by creating new job opportunities spanning various roles, including administrative and industry-specific.
  • Participants are expected to leverage access to capital and network opportunities over the Program’s duration. 
  • Participants will be able to engage in networking and meeting events with prospective corporate partners and investors.


  1. Eligibility
  • The venture must be focused on developing products, services, or technologies within the clean energy industry (e.g., renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, etc.).
  • The venture should be at an early stage (idea stage, prototype stage, or early revenue stage).
  • The venture must have a clearly defined problem and proposed solution within the clean energy space.
  • The applicant(s) must be committed to participating in the full 12-week Program, including attending all sessions and completing required deliverables.
  • Applicants should have relevant educational or professional experience in fields related to clean energy, such as engineering, environmental sciences, business, or entrepreneurship. (Preference may be given to applicants with prior industry experience or technical expertise in clean energy technologies.)
  • Applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to their venture and a passion for addressing challenges within the clean energy industry.
  • They should be willing to dedicate significant time and effort to the Program and the growth of their venture.
  • Applicants should be prepared to seek external funding or investment opportunities during or after the Program.
  • Applicants should have a clear understanding of any existing intellectual property related to their venture and be willing to develop an IP strategy during the Program.
  • Applicants may be required to travel to different municipalities of the island to participate in in-person meetings or events. 
  • Applicants should have reliable connectivity for required virtual meetings. 
  • An individual who is either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and anticipates sustaining ongoing research & development efforts in Puerto Rico.
  • An individual who shows the capacity or proper track record of ensuring the appropriate development of the prototype, proof of concept (experimental), or platform technology.
  • The PRSTRT may alter the aforementioned eligibility criteria without prior notice at any time.


  1. Participant

An individual possessing a for-profit-driven entity or the ability to register one during the Program. The existing or prospective entity must have approval to conduct business in Puerto Rico. The majority ownership of the company must reside with individuals presently living in Puerto Rico and whose business management burden relies on Puerto Rico. The company’s endeavors should demonstrate innovation, featuring a business model capable of expanding and scaling its operations beyond Puerto Rico. Additionally, the participant must designate at least one point of contact solely dedicated to its operations. Operations must be focused in the Clean Energy sector.

The applicant/participant must be over eighteen (18) years of age. The Program reserves its discretion to accept participants below the age of eighteen (18) in extraordinary circumstances.

>Important: Individuals who have not yet registered a for-profit entity but possess a functional prototype, proof of concept (experiment), or technology may be admitted to the Program, provided that the registration of their entity takes place within the Program’s duration.


  1. Program Activities

The Program will consist of various activities and events available to participants in Spanish or English and a hybrid format (In-person and virtual). A clear differentiation between mandatory and optional activities will be established within this array.

6.1 Mandatory Activities

The Program curriculum has a duration of twelve (12) weeks. The cohort period commences on the date for Kick-off Day as announced. Throughout this curriculum, participants must be present in Puerto Rico and ready to engage in the specified mandatory activities:


  • Mentor Sessions: Participants are expected to attend seminars once a week, on Saturdays, with invited speakers or mentors as part of the curriculum. 
  • Catch-up meetings: Participants are expected to attend at least once biweekly to a catch-up meeting with Challenge to Innovate: Project Switch staff to track progress. 
  • Office hours with mentors of choice, stakeholders, corporate partners, or with any of our resources brought as part of their tailored experience. Any PRSTRT member can be considered a mentor.


Midpoint Evaluation:

  • The cohort will convene with Challenge to Innovate: Project Switch staff, providing a brief progress update using a designated form. The Program will utilize the collected information to assess the participants’ advancements during the initial six weeks of the Program. 


End of the Program:

  • Participants in the cohort will receive invitations to a concluding curriculum-term event where the projects with the most progress will showcase their accomplishments, highlight milestones attained, and outline their next steps to the community.
  • Cohort participants will be provided with a due diligence survey to gather data on their progress. This information will be utilized for our internal assessment, enabling us to enhance the Program’s offerings and better tailor the experience for the subsequent cohort.


6.2 Optional Activities

At their discretion, the participant may engage in or execute the activities listed below unless these have been explicitly designated as mandatory in the preceding subsection:

  • Presentations, office hours, workshops, classes, or other events organized by other Program participants.
  • Other activities related to the project or Program are specified as optional.


>Important: If participants fail to attend the mandatory activities without prior authorized exemption, the Program reserves the right to remove the participant from the Program through the Early End of Participation section under these terms. In person attendance may be required for some sessions.

The schedule for seminars, meetings, and events will be communicated ahead of time, and any modifications will be notified in advance.


  1. Project Content

7.1 Application content 

  • Provide comprehensive identification and background documentation for all individuals mentioned in the project application, detailing their nationality, educational background, technical expertise, and professional work history. Include documented evidence of the accomplishments of each participant.
  • If selected, applicants who are already incorporated must submit the documentation related to their company.
  • A photocopy of the ID indicating the name, identification number, issued, and expiration dates. Documents must not be expired.
  • Dedication (time and resources) to the project from the participants.
  • Brief information on the prototype, proof of concept (experimental), or platform technology intended for commercialization. 
  • Description of the competition and the project’s differentiation.
  • Growth stage in which the project is, at the moment of application.
  • Explain the project goals and why you think the Program would help accomplish the milestones that you are aiming to achieve.
  • Additional information may be required depending on circumstances.
  • Additional optional information:
    • Relationship with international networks to position Puerto Rico as an innovation hub.
    • Activities to promote interaction, networking, and the transfer of knowledge, skills, and best practices to local entrepreneurs and their environment.
    • Scalability strategy, entry, and exit barriers.
    • Progress to date and plan during the Program.
    • Target, size, and market position.


>Important: Incomplete applications will be deemed not submitted.


  1. Deadlines

The Program consists of twelve (12) weeks of curriculum. The specific dates will be communicated upon the selection of companies.

  1. Applications

9.1 Procedure

The Program will be accessible to interested individuals through a designated community platform. Announcements regarding the application period will be disseminated via a notice on Challenge to Innovate: Project Switch’s website (https://parallel18.com/) and related social media platforms. Applications will be accepted from May 6th to May 19th, 2024. Evaluation of applications will take place between May 20th to May 30th, 2024, with notification of results scheduled around May 31st, 2024. Dates can be adjusted if necessary.

9.2 Means of Application 

Entry into the community management platform is exclusive to participants and their required documentation. The system accepts supporting documents in compatible formats, including text documents, spreadsheets, and other file types like doc, xls, jpg, or pdf.

9.3 Limit of Applications

A single applicant can submit only one application with one project during each application period. If a participant is involved in multiple applications for distinct projects, The Program reserves the right to deem both the project and the applicant invalid.

  1. Evaluation

There will be three phases of the evaluation process: Screening Round, Judging Round, and Selection committee.


10.1 Phase 1- Screening Round

Program staff will assess all applications to ensure they meet the fundamental criteria. Those who successfully pass the internal screening round will progress to the external committee evaluation.

The team will scrutinize the alignment of the project’s objectives with the Program’s guidelines, considering factors such as market competition, capacity, and project viability. Additionally, adherence to the following requirements will be validated:

  • For-profit organizations incorporated in Puerto Rico or the United States with authorization to do business in Puerto Rico. The company must maintain an active presence in Puerto Rico.


>Important: Following this assessment, the Program team will categorize the projects as relevant or irrelevant based on justified criteria. If a “Not Relevant” determination is made, the project will not proceed in the evaluation process. 

10.2 Phase 2- Judging Round

Program staff will organize a committee equipped with the necessary information to assess applications. The applications will be scored on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 represents the minimum score, and 5 signifies the maximum score. The evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

Idea, Product or Service (30%)

Team Qualifications & Experience (20%)

Market and Competitive Positioning (20%)

Funding  Readiness (15%)

Commercialization Strategy (15%)


10.3 Phase 3- Selection Committee

After evaluations conducted by the committee, the Selection Committee will determine the selection of companies to participate in the cohort.

10.4 Interviews (If necessary)

Throughout the selection phase, evaluators may request an interview via video conference or in person, when possible, to address any queries and provide further clarification. This phase is optional and discretional to the Program.

  1. Participant Selection and Acceptance

Upon completion of the evaluation, the Program will notify the applicants of the final decision and extend an offer to join within three business days. The PRSTRT reserves the right to select the next available participant after this time. The onboarding process commences once participants accept the invitation to join the Program.  


  1. Right to Invest

By agreeing to participate in the Program, the participating company acknowledges and agrees to provide the PRSTRT with the right, at it’s discretion, to invest in the company in any future fundraising initiative that the participant engages in. 


  1. Early End Participation

Without prejudice to other causes for early termination outlined in these criteria, the PRSTRT may make a determination under the following instances and impose the specified sanctions:

13.1 Early end of participation for reasons not attributable to the participants.

The Program may initiate, or respond to a participant’s request for, early termination of participation in the following scenarios:

  • Failure to achieve critical results or continuity milestones established by the Program and the project for reasons not attributable to the lack of diligence of the project duly qualified by the Program.
  • Circumstances surrounding the project reasonably determine that the project will not achieve the expected results and that it cannot be executed within reasonable parameters for reasons not attributable to the lack of diligence of the project, as duly qualified by the Program.
  • Other causes are not attributable to the participant’s lack of diligence in carrying out the activities related to the project and participation in the Program, duly qualified by the Program.
  • The PRSTRT may terminate any person’s and any project’s participation in the Program at any time in the PRSTRT’s best interest.

If requested by the project and accepted by the Program, it shall be understood that the project’s participation has been terminated early from the date of the notice of Early Termination or as determined therein.

>Important: The PRSTRT reserves the right to conclude Program activities or terminate the engagement of any participant before the Program’s scheduled conclusion whenever it deems such action to be in its best interest. Any termination will be communicated through a written notice, and the effective date of termination will be at least fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of receiving the notice.

13.2 Early end of participation by deed or act attributable to the project.

The Program reserves the right to terminate participation prematurely if the project fails to adhere to its obligations due to negligence or a lack of due diligence. Instances such as these, among others, may be considered causes for termination of participation:

  • Denial or hindrance of project monitoring.
  • Negligence in performing key financial and technical activities.
  • Non-compliance with federal regulations and guidelines pertaining to intellectual property, plagiarism, or unethical research conduct.
  • A serious discrepancy between the declared technical, legal, and factual information.
  • Making substantial alterations to the project or business model as outlined, which fundamentally impacts the capacity for success and no longer aligns with the goals of the Program.
  • Other reasons are attributable to the participants’ lack of diligence in carrying out their activities related to the project and/or their participation in the Program.


  1. Warranties

The participants warrant and represent the following:

  • The participants shall not violate any intellectual property rights, confidentiality, right of privacy, or other right of the PRSTRT or of any third parties participating in the cohort under the Program (protected parties). The participant understands, acknowledges, and agrees not to disclose any business or personal confidential information, that may reasonably be determined as such, of the protected parties, either provided or incidentally obtained regardless of the source.
  • The participants represent that the information they provided to Challenge to Innovate: Project Switch/parallel18 during the application and contracting phases is accurate and complete. Each participant understands that in the event he or she has failed to disclose any relevant information that may have impacted parallel18’s decision to award participation for their project or has provided false data, parallel18 will be entitled to terminate participation under these terms, in addition to any other remedies which the PRSTRT may be entitled to exercise.


  1. Non-Disclosure

Any information, data, or materials disclosed by the Participant to the Program, whether in writing, orally, or through any other means, that is not publicly available and is considered proprietary or sensitive, which may include, but is not limited to, trade secrets, business plans, financial data, customer lists, marketing strategies, technical specifications, and any other information that the Participant reasonably designates as confidential, or that otherwise may be reasonably considered confidential information by common definition, shall not be disclosed to third parties without authorization from the participants unless needed to be shared with PRSTRT partners, affiliates, or contractors (“partners”) only in relation to the Program and its successful execution and for the benefit of the participant, or when legally required. The partners shall be bound by similar confidentiality obligations. The PRSTRT shall take all necessary and reasonable measures to protect the confidential information and promptly return or destroy the information upon the termination of the participant’s involvement in the Program.


  1. Independent Entities

The Program participants shall remain independent of the Trust and the parallel18 Programs. Nothing in or relating to these Terms and Conditions shall be construed as establishing or creating an employer/employee relationship or any partnership, joint venture, or agency relationship with the PRSTRT.

The PRSTRT shall not be responsible for any loss, accident, damage, or injury suffered, either by the participants or by third parties, arising during or as a result of their participation in the Program. The PRSTRT shall not be responsible for any expenses incurred by the participant in and for theirinvolvement in the Program.

  1. Liability

The participants hereby indemnify and hold the PRSTRT harmless from and against the total amount of all claims and liabilities, including legal fees and costs, which are or may be made, filed, or assessed against parallel18 Programs at any time and based on, or arising out of, breach by the participants of any of its representations or warranties under these terms and conditions and, if selected, contract, regardless of whether such representations and warranties are explicitly incorporated herein or are referred to in any attached Appendices.


  1. Assignment

The participants shall not assign, transfer, pledge or make any other disposition of these Terms and Conditions or any part thereof, or any of their rights, claims, or obligations under these Terms and Conditions except with the prior written consent of parallel18.

  1. Program Termination

The PRSTRT reserves the right to end the Program or any part, with or without cause, at any time without liability, obligation, or claim against the PRSTRT. Participants acknowledge and agree that no damages, compensation, or recourse may be sought or granted in connection with the Program’s termination.

20  Amendment

The TRUST reserves the right to unilaterally amend these terms and conditions in future publications. Participants will receive electronic notification in such an event. Continuing participation in the Program will be understood as providing consent to the new version of this document.

  1. Consult

Questions may be addressed to the following e-mail address: [email protected].

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