Proven clean tech innovation catalyst launches fourth annual competition with more than $1M in total prizes; competition expands to include Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions.
SAN JOSE, Calif.—March 19, 2009: The Clean Tech Open (www.cleantechopen.com), the innovation catalyst that helps great ideas become viable clean tech businesses, today challenged entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, government agencies, universities, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to participate in the Clean Tech Open's 100K Jobs Challenge — to create 100,000 clean tech jobs in America over the next five years.
"Entrepreneurs are the key to re-building the nation's economy; their optimism and innovation is exactly what the country needs right now," said Michael Santullo, co-founder of the Clean Tech Open. "Many participants in the Clean Tech Open are first-time entrepreneurs—they have a great idea, but could really use some assistance. This is where the Clean Tech Open steps in: we connect entrepreneurs with the expertise, talent, and funding to create a successful, sustainable business."
The ambitious 100K Jobs Challenge is part of an aggressive expansion for Clean Tech Open, the leading clean tech business competition that has already helped more than 120 entrepreneurs launch companies—and subsequently raise over $125 million in external funding—since its inception in 2006.
This year, in addition to the original competition held in California, the Clean Tech Open is expanding to two new regions: the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; and the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Entrepreneurs will compete for a total of more than $1 million in prizes.
"We are excited to bring Clean Tech Open to Colorado and the region," said Richard Franklin, co-chair of the Clean Tech Open, Rocky Mountain chapter, based in Denver. "This is the hub of the New Energy Economy and this competition will help accelerate the creation of green collar jobs and a sustainable regional economy."
"The Pacific Northwest is already a major source of clean technology innovation, whether in fuel cell technology, synthetic forecasting, advanced biofuels and biomass, ocean energy and energy efficiency," said John Pierce, co-chair of the Clean Tech Open Pacific Northwest chapter, based in Seattle, and Member, Renewable Energy and CleanTech Practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. "This event will sharpen the focus of our region's venture capitalists, academic institutions and laboratories on the economic opportunities clean technology offers."
To help expand its reach, the Clean Tech Open is partnering with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest U.S. foundation that focuses on advancing entrepreneurship and innovation.
"We will work with this initiative to help it connect with the organizations, entrepreneurs and innovators interested in advancing green technologies," said Christine Gulbranson, a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation. "We fully support this vision because whenever you connect entrepreneurs with a solid network of support, you will see companies emerge. And new companies translate to new jobs."
"The Clean Tech Open works," said Zach Gentry, CEO, Adura Technologies. "Back in 2006, our clean tech vision needed support, connections and seed funding to grow. Today, we have 20 employees and have raised more than $5 million in capital. We're proof that the Clean Tech Open's support and education of entrepreneurs is the right strategy for growing our economy—locally and nationally."
The Clean Tech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by National Expansion Sponsor, U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Platinum Sponsor, PG&E; Gold Sponsors The Cleantech Circle, Google, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati; Silver Sponsors Accretive Solutions and RoseRyan; and Program Sponsors California Clean Energy Fund, Ernst and Young, and Korn/Ferry International.
Early stage startups are invited to enter in six competition categories: renewable energy, transportation, smart power, energy efficiency, green building, and air/water/waste management. More information on the competition is here: http://www.cleantechopen.com/competition.php?page=home
Startups will compete first for regional prizes—$100,000 in cash and services to each of six winners in California; cash and services worth $50,000 to each of the three winners in both the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions. The 12 regional winners will then face off in a national competition, vying for the Grand Prize of $250,000 in cash and services.
The competition is now open in all regions, and startups have until May 30, 2009 to submit entries. Semifinalists will be selected in each category and invited to participate in the Clean Tech Open Accelerator program, where they will be given hands-on training and experience in all aspects of starting and sustaining their businesses from national experts in venture capital, business, law, marketing and sustainability.
About the Clean Tech Open
Clean Tech Open is a catalyst for clean tech innovation, and the impetus behind the Clean Tech Open's 100K Jobs Challenge. A non-profit organization founded in 2006, it provides today's clean tech innovators with the tools, training and connections they need to become tomorrow's viable clean tech businesses. The core of Clean Tech Open is an annual business competition, supported by expert volunteers and mentors, that provides entrepreneurs with the crucial business training, services and insights they need to go to market successfully. The Clean Tech Open has assisted over 120 companies raise more than $125 million in external funding, and has spurred the creation of hundreds of jobs in California. Fueled by a network of over 400 volunteers and sponsors, the Clean Tech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America's clean tech sector a thriving economic engine. Past alumni successes include Adura Technologies, Cool Earth Solar and GreenVolts. To learn more, visit: www.cleantechopen.com.