Detroit-area companies join first class of Apple’s Impact Accelerator

By: Andy Kozlowski | Southfield Sun | Published October 8, 2021

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SOUTHFIELD — A Southfield company is among 15 nationwide chosen for the first class of Apple’s Impact Accelerator — a program aimed at helping minority-owned businesses that are committed to green technology and clean energy.

All 15 companies in the first class are owned by Black and brown individuals, and all 15 specialize in eco-friendly products and services. Through the Impact Accelerator, they will receive customized training to help them to grow, with access to Apple’s own experts and affiliates.

The Southfield business is Dunamis Clean Energy Partners, founded by CEO Natalie King — already a multimillion-dollar corporation with more than 150 employees across southeast Michigan. Dunamis is a technology, manufacturing and engineering firm focused on energy efficiency and environmental service solutions.

King previously served as the co-founder, vice president and general counsel of J King Solar Technologies LLC, a solar energy integration firm, according to her biography at dunamisenergy.com. She has more than 13 years of experience in the green energy industry. She also operated her own law firm, where she managed a corporate, real estate and entertainment law practice for more than 20 years.

King is native to the Detroit area, with an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a juris doctorate from Wayne State University Law School. She has headed up charitable initiatives, as well, having founded a nonprofit, the Doing the Work Foundation, which serves poor and disenfranchised communities around the world.

Dunamis is not the only company selected from the metro Detroit area, either. Others include Diversified Chemical Technologies, a specialty chemicals company focused on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint; VMX International, which has services for solid waste collection, recycling, and regulatory and project management; and RFG-MPW Environmental & Facility Services, an industrial cleaning company. All three are located in Detroit.

The other businesses in the first class run the gamut of eco-friendly concepts.

Inspectorio — a company in Minneapolis — uses cloud-based software to improve supply chains. Group O — in Milan, Illinois — also works on supply chain solutions, optimizing them to reduce waste.

BlocPower — a climate technology company in Brooklyn, New York — turns aging buildings into state-of-the-art structures and has improved more than 1,200 buildings in disadvantaged communities since 2014 with energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

Volt Energy is a solar energy development firm in Washington, D.C., which develops, finances and operates a variety of solar energy projects across the nation.

L2S Engineering LLC — in Leesburg, Virginia, and Apollo Beach, Florida — is a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering design firm focused on sustainability and energy efficiency.

Mosaic Global Transportation — in San Jose, California — is an international ground transportation company specialized in employee shuttles, commuter services and event businesses. Mosaic aims to replace gasoline-operated vehicles used for these services with electric vehicles.

Also in California is Vericool Inc., a packaging and shipment company in Livermore that specializes in making sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging that can replace expanded polystyrene and petroleum-based foam packaging for shipments that need to stay protected; and Bench-Tek Solutions, a manufacturing and automation company in Santa Clara that creates ergonomic and eco-friendly furniture for different types of workplaces.

GreenTek Solutions is a recycling and reuse company in Houston, Texas. Also in Texas is Argent Associates, in Plano, a consultancy that helps create eco-friendly supply chain solutions.

And the Oceti Sakowin Power Authority is a clean energy developer spanning tribal regions across the Dakotas. An independent nonprofit, it was formed by six Sioux tribes to jointly develop tribal renewable energy sources.

“We are thrilled to welcome our first Impact Accelerator class, and look forward to seeing how these innovative businesses will expand their work to protect the planet and our communities,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, said in a statement.

“On our journey to our 2030 carbon neutral goal for our supply chain and products, we’re determined to help create a greener and more equitable future for all people,” Jackson continued. “The businesses we’re partnering with today are poised to become tomorrow’s diverse and innovative industry leaders, creating ripples of change to help communities everywhere adapt to the urgent challenges posed by climate change.”

Keri Fulton, a spokesperson for Apple’s Impact Accelerator, said that the company has other social justice programs, as well.

“Our Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, or REJI, is a long-term effort to help ensure more positive outcomes for communities of color,” Fulton said in an email. “The initiative focuses on education, criminal justice reform and economic equality.”

She noted how Apple launched REJI with a $100 million commitment towards initiatives like the launch of the Propel Center, which supports minority leaders with educational programs, tech support, career opportunities and fellowship programs. Apple is also launching a new program called the Apple Developer Academy later this year that will provide Black entrepreneurs, creators and coders of all experience levels across Detroit with a new place to hone their skills and iOS apps. Apple also runs its Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers, which gives app developers one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple engineers.

And in the environmental space, “Apple has committed to being 100 percent carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030,” Fulton said. “The company is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations.”

A representative at Dunamis Clean Energy could not be reached for comment by press time.

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