Press Releases >

Cleantech Open Kicks Off Fifth Annual National Competition

Proven Cleantech Innovation Catalyst Expands to 5 Regions With Aim of Helping Entrepreneurs Expand Green Collar Jobs and Economic Opportunity

DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - March 1, 2010) - The Cleantech Open, the world's largest business competition created to find, fund, and foster startup clean technology companies, today announced the launch of its fifth annual competition.

The 2010 competition will welcome new regions and sponsors in the quest to create more cleantech jobs by connecting clean technology entrepreneurs with expert mentoring and guidance, venture capital and funding experts, private and public innovation centers, and sponsor organizations.

With 'ecopreneurs' across the country expected to enroll in its business competition, expert mentoring, and networking programs, the Cleantech Open is poised to help create new businesses that will help fuel the growth of the cleantech economy.

"We believe that the solutions to the most critical challenges facing the U.S. today, related to energy, environment and the economy, will come from the creativity, dedication, and passion of entrepreneurs and inventors," said Rex Northen, Cleantech Open national executive director. "As we continue to expand, we are able to offer regional innovators a faster path to commercialization by entering the competition, and to introduce new sponsors to the compelling benefits afforded by supporting the organization."

This year, the Cleantech Open will add two new regions: North-Central, which includes North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska; and North-East, which includes New York and Massachusetts. The new regions join California, where the competition was founded in 2006, and the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions, both of which participated for the first time in 2009.

Entrepreneurs will compete for a total of more than $1 million in prizes.

"We are excited to build on the momentum we established in 2009 and help expand the cleantech movement across the region," said Richard Franklin, co-chair of the Cleantech Open, Rocky Mountain chapter, which includes Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. "The enthusiasm and innovation of the people participating in the Cleantech Open are driving the formation of a clean, sustainable economy for generations to come."

Fostering Entrepreneurship and Clean technology

The Cleantech Open has helped connect entrepreneurs with the expertise, talent, and funding needed to create successful, sustainable businesses. Participants in the program benefit from a blend of mentoring, business-school-class training, and an opportunity to win funding and in-kind donations on a regional level, as well as compete for a national grand prize -- a "startup in a box" consisting of cash and services valued up to $250,000.

The Cleantech Open's programs have generated a stream of commercially viable businesses. In the first four years of the competition:


--  Nearly 200 teams have successfully competed in the program.
-- Alumni companies have raised more than $150 million in private capital.
-- More than 1,200 new jobs have been created by Cleantech Open

The Cleantech Open has created these jobs at a cost of less than $5,000 per job based on the organization's spending to date. This is far below the cost estimated for job generation under state and federal programs or the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

Competition Details

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:

Startups will compete first for regional prizes; regional winners will then face off in a national competition, vying for the Grand Prize of $250,000 in cash and services. Startups have until May 22, 2010 to submit entries. Semifinalists will be selected in each category and invited to participate in the Cleantech 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.

Cleantech Open Sponsors

The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by Global Partner: Chevron; and, across the country, Platinum Sponsors: PG&E, Faegre & Benson, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati; Gold Sponsors: Autodesk, Google, Holland & Hart, Intel, Merrick & Company, Marsh Fishmann & Breyfogle, Reed Smith and San Diego Gas & Electric; Silver Sponsors: Accretive Solutions, EKS&H and RoseRyan; and Program Sponsor: California Clean Energy Fund.

Useful Web resources

Cleantech Open blog -- Facebook -- LinkedIn -- Twitter: @cleantechopen

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, and follow @cleantechopen on Twitter.