Clean Energy Trust

The Clean Energy Trust accelerates development of Midwest clean energy businesses by connecting entrepreneurs, researchers and early-stage companies with the expertise and capital they need to scale their innovations.

A nonprofit organization, the Trust is supported by corporations, investors and trade groups, and has received funding through competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Small Business Association.


Aileron Communications has provided Clean Energy Trust with communications, public relations, marketing, event management and political strategy almost since the Trust’s inception in 2010. Aileron brings local, regional and national attention to the non-profit business accelerator, its portfolio companies and its leadership.



With careful attention to the changing needs of this growing organization, Aileron has helped make the Trust into the most influential clean energy business accelerator in the Midwest. A few of the ways we accomplished this:

  • Performed an extensive messaging exercise that helped the Clean Energy Trust focus on its core functions and interests. 

  • Created Clean Energy Trust presentations that clearly deliver the organization’s messages to diverse audiences, including contributors, entrepreneurs, corporations, researchers and media. 

  • Built Clean Energy Trust’s connections with policy makers, influencers, investors and entrepreneurs interested in clean energy. 

  • Designed and executed a detailed publicity plan for the first edition of the Clean Energy Trust’s premier event, the Clean Energy Challenge, which has grown in influence and popularity each year since. 



  • The Challenge and its finalists received media coverage at the local, regional and national levels and its annual event is attended by top energy, investment and business leaders.

  • The nonprofit organization is now a nationally recognized cleantech accelerator that has jump-started more than 95 startups that have received tens of millions of dollars in prize money and follow-on funding, creating hundreds of jobs. 

  • Amy Francetic, former CEO of Clean Energy Trust, won a Green Award and was featured in Chicago Magazine as a "Woman to Watch."

  • Media placements include Forbes, The Hill, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, NBC News, Clean Technica, Midwest Energy News, CBS Detroit and Chicago Magazine.

© 2019 Aileron Communications