Times are a-changing, and with it, comes new efforts to keep our planet healthy, which we are major supporters of at I Want Her Job. Today’s interview is with someone hustling to change the future of clean energy, Dawn Lippert. As the co-founder of Elemental Excelerator (formerly Energy Excelerator), a startup accelerator program based in Hawaii, Dawn and her team helps budding businesses change the world, one community at a time.

As co-founder of the organization, Dawn talks to I Want Her Job: The Podcast Host Polina Selyutin about the iteration she went through to refine and design the model Elemental Excelerator uses to fund and support startups. With many startups having different needs and time frames to scale, Dawn says, the nonprofit helped develop a model that works by partnering with corporations to test products and services, as well as non-competing companies that can support and complement one another.

Dawn also discusses her initial inspiration for the nonprofit, largely driven by the realization that the change the world needs to see, needed to be accelerated. “As I was working on these issues in Washington, D.C. on the policy side, it became really clear to me that the speed at which we needed to find solutions was astonishing,” she says. “Entrepreneurship to me is that tool … It’s our theory of change that by empowering entrepreneurs who are building quickly scalable business models that can really address these challenges at scale. That’s how we’re really going to change the world.”

As of press time, Elemental Excelerator has awarded $20 million to 53 portfolio companies (up to $1 million per company), co-funding 28 demonstration projects across areas affecting infrastructure, the environment and quality of life (including energy, water, agriculture and transportation systems). The nonprofit was created in collaboration with Emmerson Collective, an investment and philanthropic platform.