Over 50 companies gathered at the 3M Innovation Center on June 7 for Minnesota Cleantech Innovation Day. The conference showcased the state’s dedication to advancing energy and climate solutions.
Keynote speaker, Taj Ahmad Eldridge, shared his global experience in the cleantech industry. Eldridge’s expertise extends to fintech, media, energy, transportation, and the circular economy.
He currently manages climate innovations at Jobs For The Future and is a co-founder of Include Venture Partners. Eldridge was previously the senior director of investments at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.
The conference brought together hundreds of partners and newcomers to the table to be part of the growing ecosystem.
Eldridge has an impressive background in the cleantech industry, including his current role managing climate innovations at the non-profit organization Jobs For The Future (JFF).
He is also a co-founder of Include Venture Partners, which focuses on investing in diverse founders and fund managers committed to creating innovative ecosystems. Eldridge was named one of the “53 Investors to Watch in 2021” by Pitchbook and “101 Black Titans in Tech.”
Prior to JFF, Eldridge was the senior director of investments at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), where he helped establish the LACI Impact Fund I (LIF I) and the LACI Debt Fund. These funds enabled cleantech companies to grow with diverse capital.
Before LACI, Eldridge was the incubator’s director at the University of California in Riverside, CA. Under his leadership, the region was ranked number four in the United States for minority entrepreneurs, thanks to his vision to combine entertainment, policy, and entrepreneurship.
Eldridge’s professional experience extends beyond the cleantech industry. He has been a founder, board member, and/or investor in many companies, including Bevy, BlocPower, ILTG Media, Boswell Official Apparel, Voter, Xtopoly, Rookielook, iListen, KYC Hospitality, KIGT, Majira Project, CleanTek Capital, and ConCreates.
Eldridge is also actively involved in giving back to his community and serves as a member of the Climate Finance Advisory Team of the Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP), the executive board of the Homeboy Ventures Fund, The Majira Project, and the advisory board of VC Include.
He holds undergraduate degrees in poetry and literature and a graduate degree in geopolitical economics from Texas A&M University-Commerce, Pepperdine University, and Claremont Graduate University.