The Clean Energy Challenge is meant to bring entrepreneurs together with people who can help them prepare for commercial deployment. Finalists will present business plans to a panel of judges that includes venture capitalists, corporations, and business leaders. There’s also prize money, provided by the United States Department of Energy as part of the $1.05 million grant awarded to the Clean Energy Trust in October.
“The Clean Energy Challenge will help take creative, innovative concepts in clean energy and make them realities,” says Warren Ribley, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director. This gig is for small start-up ventures. In order to participate, applicants can’t be bringing in more than $2 million, excluding grant income.
The Clean Energy Trust is a new Chicago-based nonprofit “founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation in the Midwest.” The Trust also advocates for the adoption and advancement of clean energy technology, and our very own Northwestern University is one of the Trust’s university partners! TechNexus is a Chicago incubator and the location of the Clean Energy Trust.
Clean energy is the way of the future, and the Clean Energy Trust aims to make Illinois and the rest of the Midwest a leader in clean-energy entrepreneurship. They provide financial assistance and other support services to the most promising technologies. They also have a bit of a focus on renewable energy as well as other areas like smart meters and information technology to help with behavior modification.