What started as a California-centric business competition with a few dozen entries has grown to become a nationwide cleantech event. Of course, we are talking about the Cleantech Open Accelerator and Competition. Founded in 2006 by a group of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, the competition has grown across state lines and is now setting its sights globally. The mission: to find, fund and foster the next great cleantech ideas.
“What we aim to do is attract innovators with great cleantech ideas to enter our competition,” Tim Cox, PR chair with the Cleantech Open said in a recent interview with us.
So if you’ve got a great idea, the Cleantech Open wants to hear from you. Applicants have until May 8 to submit their ideas. There are special categories for professionals and students. And, there is a category for virtually every green idea you might be able to think of, as the categories include: energy efficiency, green building, renewable energy, smart power, green grid, transportation and air, water and waste.
“We fundamentally seek diversity and so we don’t encourage specific categories over others,” Cox said.
Cox estimates that about 350 entries will come in, from which about 120 will be selected to advance into the competition. If a team makes it into the semifinals, there is a fee that includes all training, mentoring, materials and some meals at its national events/training program. Applicants are encouraged to apply within the region they live or work in. There are seven regions across the United States. And now, there is also a Cleantech Open in France, with more emerging regions forming worldwide.
“Our ultimate goal is to have these connections be truly global so that a company based in Kenya or South Africa receives mentoring from someone in India, Iceland or Italy, and licenses their technology to a company in China or Chile, all funded with venture capital from Australia or the USA,” Cox said.