The 2013 National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition is entering its first stage of competition at the regional level, with the Ohio Clean Energy Challenge event right around the corner. On January 29th, some of Ohio’s most innovative student entrepreneurs will pitch their cutting-edge technologies and business plans at an event in front of a judging panel of industry experts and investment professionals in Columbus.

Twelve student teams from universities across the state were selected as semifinalists for the 2013 Ohio Clean Energy Challenge. The event, hosted by the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio (UCEAO) and NorTech, is part of the Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, which is designed to create a network of student-focused clean energy business competitions.

The students have developed technologies in a variety of areas, including wind, solar, biomass and waste to energy, and home energy management. They will showcase their innovations in front of a live audience while competing for a $10,000 prize and a spot in the Midwest regional competition, the Clean Energy Student Challenge in Chicago on April 4. The winner of the regional competition receives a Department of Energy-sponsored $100,000 prize, and a chance to compete in the National Grand Prize in Washington, DC in June.

“Fostering greater entrepreneurship is one of the keys to revitalizing Ohio’s economy, and commercializing new technologies to meet the energy challenges of the 21st Century is a huge market opportunity,” says Richard Stuebi, managing director of Early Stage Partners and one of the judges. “The Ohio Clean Energy Challenge is a terrific program enabling students at Ohio’s universities to ride both of these waves, hopefully spawning some successful companies.”

Over the past four months, UCEAO sought submissions from its member universities and colleges. Once the semifinalists were chosen in December, NorTech partnered each student team with an experienced entrepreneur or technical expert who served as a mentor. A detailed list of the semifinalists and their technologies can be found at www.uceao.org/challenge/semifinalist-teams.

The 2013 Clean Energy Challenge marks the second year the competition comes to Ohio. It will be held at the Blackwell Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of Ohio State University from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Attendees will have the chance to meet the students and network with clean energy and business thought leaders. To attend this exciting live judging event, you can visit http://ohiocleanenergychallenge.eventbrite.com. Regular registration is $75 and the discounted student rate is $25. 

Good luck to all of the competitors!

Blog post written with help from Christian Taske at NorTech