Office Of Public Affairs - Thursday, July 21, 2011

Washington, D.C. - As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to support and empower the next generation of American clean energy entrepreneurs, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $2 million in available funding for the National University Clean Energy Business Challenge. This nationwide initiative will create a network of regional student-focused clean energy business creation competitions whose winners will compete for a National Grand Prize at a completion held at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012.

The funding will support  up to six regional competitions  that will inspire, mentor, and train students from across the country to develop successful business plans  to create a new generation of American clean energy companies. These regional competitions will take place before May 1, 2012.

This national initiative will enable student participants to gain the skills required to build new businesses and transform promising innovative energy technologies from U.S. universities and National Laboratories into innovative new energy products that will to solve our nation’s energy challenges, spur business creation, create American jobs, and boost American competitiveness. 

”Fostering innovation at America’s universities and producing our nation's next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs is vital to ensuring our nation’s competiveness in the clean energy economy of tomorrow,” said Secretary Chu. “This investment will train a new generation of scientific and technical leaders and support the Administration's continued effort to ensure that America has the workforce we need to secure our energy future, create jobs here at home, and win the future."

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will consider applications that propose annual U.S. university-based business creation competitions for student entrepreneurs with business ideas in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Student teams that participate in the competitions will work with experienced mentors from the energy industry and start up community, along with university and national lab-based researchers, to develop creative business plans for transforming ground-breaking energy technologies into high impact market solutions. The FOA has been posted to FedConnect and is available under the reference number “DE-FOA-0000570.” Applications are due on August 22, 2011.  Selections are expected to be made before the end of September 2011.

This initiative, facilitated by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), aims to increase the number and quality of start-up businesses created with university-based energy technologies and to promote a new generation of energy entrepreneurs. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.