MIT competition seeks green entrepreneurs

MIT competition seeks green entrepreneurs

$200,000 cash prize for best energy saving ideas

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has unveiled its Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize to help develop and motivate the next generation of energy entrepreneurs.

The nationwide competition is sponsored by MIT, NSTAR Electric & Gas Corporation and the US Department of Energy, and offers a top cash prize of $200,000.

Applicants are invited to create business plans for clean energy products, or technologies that promote, enhance or advance energy efficiency and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

"The ultimate goal of this contest is to find innovative solutions to transform today's energy systems into tomorrow's sustainable energy future," said Susan Hockfield, president of MIT.

The prize was established by combining two existing MIT competitions: the $100,000 Entrepreneurship Competition and the Ignite Clean Energy Competition.

MIT hopes that the expanded competition and bigger prize pool will encourage more teams to get involved, thereby accelerating the pace of innovation in clean energy.

Entrepreneurial teams from all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to participate, as the competition is open to student and non-student teams that meet eligibility requirements.

Teams will undergo a rigorous mentoring, coaching and selection process as the competition progresses.

"The Department of Energy is proud to support the work of America's best and brightest on one of our most important and pressing challenges," said Alexander Karsner, assistant secretary of energy at the Department.

"The President has set out aggressive goals for renewable and clean energy technologies, and we need America's dynamic and innovative entrepreneurs to be the agents of change."

The semi-finalists and finalists will present and defend a full business plan before a panel of clean energy industry experts and venture capitalist judges.

The MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize and runner-up prizes will be awarded in May 2008.