A new $100,000 Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Energy Prize will be offered at the 2012 Rice University Business Plan Competition in April.
The prize was established to encourage students from across the country to create new businesses and transform promising energy technologies from U.S. universities and national laboratories into innovative energy products that will help to create jobs, boost American competitiveness and strengthen the economy while also providing clean, efficient energy solutions for America.
The prize will be funded by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as part of Startup America, the Obama administration’s campaign to inspire and promote entrepreneurship.
The DOE Clean Energy Prize complements the Rice Business Plan Competition, said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which hosts and organizes the competition.
The annual event already offers two $100,000 prizes in the area of clean energy, sustainability, recycling and renewable energy: the Waste Management “Think Green” Investment Prize and the KPCB Prize for Clean Tech Innovation, sponsored by the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The 2012 competition will be held April 12-14.
In 2011, the Rice Business Plan Competition attracted 510 applicants from around the world for the 42 spots to compete for more than $1.3 million in front of more than 250 venture capitalists and other judges. More than 133 companies have been successfully launched after competing at Rice. They have raised more than $394 million in funding and created thousands of new jobs.
The DOE will fund six university competitions throughout the United States. The winners of each of the six competitions will compete in a final competition in Washington, D.C., in the summer. The focus of this program is to connect research and development activities with critical venture capital funding and expertise that will help increase the rate and scale of clean-energy-technology market penetration across the country.
“By promoting innovation at our nation’s universities and cultivating America’s next generation of scientific and technical leaders, we will ensure our nation’s competiveness in the clean-energy economy of tomorrow,” said Henry Kelly, DOE’s acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The competitions seek to:
- Increase clean-energy businesses coming out of universities and national labs.
- Create a new generation of entrepreneurs to serve the nation’s energy mission.
- Capitalize on the U.S. investment in clean energy research and education to: Capture a leadership position in the global marketplace and enhance America’s economic security, environmental security and national security.
“As the world’s largest and richest business plan competition, we are pleased to be working with the Department of Energy to ‘jump-start young entrepreneurs’ and support the commercialization of new clean-energy technologies,” Burke said. “The faster we can advance technologies to provide clean, sustainable energy, the faster that we can eliminate the world’s dependence on current energy sources that are limited in supply, becoming more costly to produce and creating environmental issues.”
The Rice Business Plan Competition is supported by Insperity (title sponsor) and more than 100 corporations, foundations and individuals including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Greater Houston Partnership, DFJ Mercury, Waste Management, Fortune magazine, the NASDAQ OMS Stock Market, The GOOSE Society of Texas and KPCB.