May The Best Clean Energy Idea Win

While a killer idea is step one for any successful entrepreneur, funding is step two, and could easily turn into a chicken and egg conversation. For entrepreneurs with a competitive edge, one way to solve this problem is by entering one of the many emerging business challenge competitions. Midwesterners have done just that, entering Clean Energy Trust’s 2012 Clean Energy Challenge business competition with new ideas for energy management systems, wind and solar energy innovations, automotive technologies, battery advancements, and biomass and clean energy financing.

Clean Energy Trust announced it has received 100 applications from startup companies, university professors, students,and independent entrepreneurs, drawing on all experience levels across eight Midwestern states. Applicants can compete on either the newly added student track or the early-stage business track, with both offering grand prizes of $100,000.

Clean Energy Challenge 2012

image via Clean Energy Trust

After review of the applicants’ executive summaries and pitch videos, finalists will be announced later this month and paired with industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs to prepare for the final round in Chicago, where each team will present its idea to a panel of investors and clean energy business leaders.

If the $100,000 grand prize isn’t motivation enough, last year’s finalists secured a collective $9 million in venture funding. Last year’s grand prize winner, Clean Urban Energy, won with the idea to “turn buildings into batteries” by optimizing the way HVAC systems are integrated with grid and energy markets. Stay tuned to see the exciting clean technology innovations that will emerge from the second annual competition.

Angeli Duffin is a Midwest transplant currently living in San Francisco, CA. Kicking off her career doing product design and development with Fair Trade artisans around the world, she then moved on to the editorial side, writing for eBay’s Green Team blog and working as a marketing consultant for social and environmentally minded companies

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