i6 Green Challenge Seeks To Spark Cleantech

In the last 30 years–according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke–nearly all net new jobs in the U.S. were created by start ups. In an effort to speed the pace at which such businesses help to build the country’s green economy, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy‘s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship have announced the opening of the $12 million i6 Green Challenge.

The Challenge–conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office–will offer funding for six teams around the country that have demonstrated “the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in support of a green innovation economy, increased U.S. competitiveness and new jobs.”

Wind Farm

image via GE Energy Financial Services

In order to be eligible for funding through the Challenge, applicants are required to demonstrate innovation in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, or green building technology, through one or more of the government’s Proof of Concept Centers across the country, which $2 million in DOE funding for the program recently went to establish or expand.

“Initiatives like the i6 Green Challenge support the President’s vision for out-innovating the rest of the world by moving great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to spur the development of 21st century jobs and industries,” Locke said, in a statement.

The Federal Funding Opportunity notice and application information for the i6 Green Challenge is available online. The deadline for applications is May 26 of this year and funding is contingent upon Congressional approval of the current administration’s 2011 budget.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • This is a great way to find innovative ideas. Big companies and governments have too much bureaucracy to allow ideas through their systems. Too many managers thinking they know what a good idea is. It will be fun to see the solutions developed.