The Clean Energy Trust is currently accepting applications for the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge, to be held March 1 in Chicago.

Now in its second year, the Clean Energy Challenge offers competition in two categories: Student and Early Stage. A $100,000 grand prize will be awarded in each division, with a total of $250,000 in prize money available across the competition. The Challenge is designed to identify the best student-generated business ideas and early-stage companies in the Midwest with the potential to bring new clean energy technology to the marketplace. 

Semi-finalists in the Student Challenge will be matched with sector experts and experienced entrepreneurs to prepare for the March 1st finals. The Student Challenge winner will receive a $100,000 grand prize and go on to compete at the Department of Energy’s National Student Business Plan Competition in Washington, DC.

Finalists in the early stage category will present their business plans to a panel of judges including leading venture capital and corporate strategic investors.

Applications are due December 5th, 2011. Submit here at the Clean Energy Challenge iStart portal. Visit to learn more.