First Look West (FLoW), the leading clean energy business plan competition for university students in the West, is excited to announce increased participation from Venture Capital Firms and new opportunities for competition finalists.

Through FLoW’s extensive network of investment groups, VC firms Mohr Davidow, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, CalCEF, CMEA and the Angeleno group as well as corporate venture arm Chevron Ventures have agreed to act as judges and advisors to these young inventors. Additionally, FLoW now offers top notch training for participants in its competition. Finalists will be automatically accepted into the Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy (GTEA), offered by the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, at UC Davis, June 25 – 27, 2012. Taught by venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, university faculty, industry executives and angel investors GTEA is a premiere academic program for commercializing green tech innovations.

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Lastly, the Cleantech Open (CTO) will accept the top three FLoW competition finalists as semifinalists in the 2012 Cleantech Open competition, cover their application fees and provide them all benefits enjoyed by other semifinalists, including attendance in the Cleantech Open National Academy-West Coast. Over three days students will attend intensive business education seminars on such topics as Business Plan Essentials; Patents and Trade Secrets; Finding & Understanding the Customer; The Business Model–How Will You Make Money?; Fund-raising and Presentation Skills.GTEA logo

For students interested in starting new companies FLoW gives them a vital boost: the competition offers $200,000 in prizes as well as mentoring, legal start-up packages and the opportunity to pitch to investors. Winning teams from each region also get the chance to participate in the National Competition, hosted by the Department of Energy in Washington D.C. in June 2012.  

How to enter

Students attending accredited universities throughout the Western United States can submit an application by the deadline of February 28th, 2012. The final judging will be held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena California on April 30 and May 1, 2012. Students may enter the competition with a ready-to-go business or a business concept (promising idea). Accepted submissions in both categories will receive mentoring, but only the ready-to-go business submissions will be eligible for entry into the national competition. However, FLoW will offer recognition for the Promising Ideas category at the Regional Awards event, May 1, 2012, in Pasadena.