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Energy Department Announces $2.5 Million to Inspire Collegiate Clean Energy Entrepreneurs

February 11, 2015 - 4:00pm


The Energy Department today announced $2.5 million in available funding for the Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP), which aims to inspire the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs. This funding opportunity will support the commercialization of promising technologies for sectors such as solar and wind that reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean energy economy.

The Cleantech UP will create a strong national infrastructure focused on collegiate high-tech entrepreneurship that accelerates the rate of clean energy innovation in the United States, establishing a national Cleantech UP Hub and supporting up to eight Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions. The Cleantech UP Hub will create a national prize, train student entrepreneurs, and serve as a coordinating body for energy entrepreneurship training, while the Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions will provide prizes for eight individual university-focused competitions that will equip students with business skills to move clean energy technologies from the discovery phase to the marketplace. Together, the Cleantech UP Hub and Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions will form a strategic network that increases student entrepreneurs' participation—both in quantity and quality—in clean energy, and addresses the existing gaps in early-stage commercialization training.

Cleantech UP will build on the success of its precursor, the Energy Department's National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition (NCEBPC), which leveraged growing interest in energy entrepreneurship to expand student engagement in clean energy technologies. Launched in 2011, the NCEBPC has attracted more than 750 teams, resulting in more than 70 ventures and generating $38 million in follow-on funding.

Organizations interested in supporting clean energy entrepreneurship should apply. Find more information about this funding opportunity, including application requirements, here.

This funding opportunity builds on the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's work to accelerate development and facilitate deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.