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Cleantech Open and Ignite Clean Energy Agree To Combine

Partnership will create the world's largest cleantech business competition, anchored in the two leading hubs of cleantech innovation in the United States, and offering coast-to-coast coverage to attract contestants, funding, and sponsors.

SAN FRANCISCO and BOSTON, February 25, 2010: The nation's two largest cleantech business competitions - the MIT Enterprise Forum's Ignite Clean Energy Competition (ICE) and the Cleantech Open - have agreed to combine resources and efforts to establish the largest global cleantech business competition. Together, the two organizations have welcomed nearly one thousand contestants, spawned over 200 successful cleantech companies, and have helped create thousands of green jobs. Given considerable private, federal and state capital committed to the industry's growth in the US in 2009/2010, interest in the national Cleantech Open, which now operates in five regions across the United States as well as internationally through its Global Cleantech Ideas competition, is expected to skyrocket.

Both competitions provide a nexus for cleantech innovation, money and entrepreneurial spirit that has catalyzed the progress of homegrown companies - from a spark of an idea to a viable cleantech startup. The organizations have also been extraordinarily successful in securing private and public funding - including the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the U.S. Department of Energy. This year, the Cleantech Open and ICE will graduate dozens of viable startups through their extensive training and mentoring programs, and provide sponsoring companies with access and exposure to the best and brightest cleantech ideas and entrepreneurs.

"The Ignite Clean Energy Competition has grown exponentially in the past several years due to the overwhelming demand to build on the cleantech industry in New England and throughout the nation," said Clark Waterfall, chairman of the 2008 and 2009 ICE competitions. "We were in search of opportunities that would allow our continued growth while offering the same competitive level of resources and expertise to our contestants. Joining with the Cleantech Open does exactly that and we are excited to be a part of an impressive national team."

For his part, Cleantech Open Executive Director Rex Northen sees the partnership as an opportunity to rejoin with the organization that created the original blueprint for the Cleantech Open. "The Cleantech Open has grown over the past few years from its roots in California to a network of regional competitions and training programs with operations in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis - and now, Boston. The Ignite Clean Energy Competition provided the model that the Cleantech Open followed to help invigorate our cleantech industry nationally," said Northen. "Joining with ICE unites the two largest cleantech business competitions, ensures the highest quality entrepreneurial training and mentorship from coast to coast, and will graduate contestants that will become competitive cleantech entrepreneurs in a ferocious global marketplace."

"This partnership will create a truly national clean energy business competition that will provide clean tech entrepreneurs from coast-to-coast with opportunities in training and mentorship," said Clean Energy Center Executive Director Patrick Cloney.

ICE, widely recognized as the first cleantech competition of its kind, celebrated its fifth year in November 2009. Beginning in 2004 with less than 30 teams, the competition grew to 83 contestants in 2009 and expanded to include more than a dozen team building and kick off events throughout the East Coast of the US. The Cleantech Open is the largest cleantech competition in the country and the world, holding annual regional competitions throughout the nation and the first Global Cleantech Ideas competition held in 2009. Together, the two competitions attracted entries from 361 companies in 2009 and distributed over 1 million in cash and prizes. Additionally, both organizations have helped cleantech companies raise over $220 million in venture capital, secure over $15 million in research funding, and tens of millions in public grants and loans.

ICE will continue to operate as an autonomous organization while serving as the Northeast Cleantech Open representing the New England region. Winners from the Northeast competition will move on to the national Cleantech Open finals in San Francisco this November. ICE will now be known as the ICE/Cleantech Open Northeast with existing leadership and partners remaining in place.

The MIT Enterprise Forum will continue to shepherd the ICE competition into 2010 while offering resources and opportunities for cleantech professionals in New England and beyond. "ICE has been a labor of love for the MIT Enterprise Forum and we are excited to be working with the Cleantech Open to make an even bigger impact on environmental entrepreneurship in the years to come," said Trish Fleming, executive director of the MIT Enterprise Forum. "We can only build a competitive cleantech industry in the US if we work together and share the resources of our most powerful and capable organizations."

Useful Web resources
Cleantech Open blog - Facebook - LinkedIn - Twitter: @cleantechopen

Cleantech Open Sponsors
The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by Global Partner Chevron, and Regional Partners, including platinum sponsors Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Faegre & Benson.

About Ignite Clean Energy
Sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, Inc., the Ignite Clean Energy (ICE) business plan competition began in 2004 to stimulate the growing clean energy industry in Massachusetts and build the regional network of companies, funders, government officials, researchers, and mentors. Between the competition and its nine-month mentor program, the Ignite Clean Energy Competition has worked with nearly 500 teams, 50 universities, teams from multiple states and countries and 400 mentors and judges. Alumni contestants have raised over $80m, won significant research competitions, and have sold product all over the US, in India, and even Antarctica. Staffed primarily by volunteers, the ICE Competition has been a key player in building the clean-tech economy. For more information, please visit www.ignitecleanenergy.com.

About the Cleantech Open
The Cleantech Open is the world's largest cleantech business competition. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today's most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. The program provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships to turn ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business competition and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has helped hundreds of clean technology startups bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helping alumni contestants raise over $150m and creating an estimated 1,200 green collar jobs. Fueled by a network of more than 750 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America's cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit www.cleantechopen.com, and follow @cleantechopen on Twitter.