Its official name is the National Clean Energy Business Creation Competition for University Students, but it’s a whole lot easier to call it the Obama Business Plan Competition. And what it will do is provide approximately $2 million in prize money to student clean-tech entrepreneurs over the next three years.
Coming out of President Obama’s “Startup America” entrepreneurship initiative, and first announced by the U.S. Department of Energy in July of this year, the competition is broken up into six regional clean-energy competitions, which for the most part are existing business-plan competitions that have agreed to add a clean-energy track and award at least $100,000 to their student winners. (That $100,000, plus $20,000 for administrative support, comes the DOE and is provided each year for three years. It all adds up to about $2.1 million in federal money.)
The six regional competitions were recently announced:
- Northeast: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Clean Energy Prize)
- Southeast: University of Maryland (ACC Clean Energy Challenge)
- Eastern Midwest: Clean Energy Trust (Clean Energy Student Challenge)
- Western Southwest: Rice University (DOE Clean Energy Prize)
- Western Midwest: University of Colorado at Boulder (CU New Venture Challenge)
- West: California Institute of Technology (First Look West)
The winners of each regional contest in 2011-12 will advance to the finals to be held at the DOE in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012. The National Grand Prize has not yet been divulged but we are guessing it will include a visit with the President.
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