Student FLoW Clean Energy Competition

First Look West (FLoW) invites student teams throughout the Western U.S. to participate in the Department of Energy’s first ever, business plan competition for clean energy.  FLoW offers a first prize of $100,000, a second place prize of $60,000 and third place prize of $40,000.  In addition to prize money, FLoW offers mentoring programs, legal start-up packages, and the opportunity to pitch to investors who can help student entrepreneurs transform innovative ideas into commercial reality.  Applications are due by midnight, Feb 28 at first look west.  Additional details are here.

A panel of 15 experts including investors, technology specialists, university tech transfer personnel, energy corporations and leaders from the service industry will select those submissions demonstrating a strong technology platform and  a well-articulated concept for building a sustainable business. 

The national and international 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 attending the Cleantech Open National Academy-West Coast.  Over three days students will attend intensive business education seminars, given by experts, 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.

Students can 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.

The DOE developed the National University Clean Energy Business Challenge under the Obama Administration’s Startup America initiative to broaden innovation and commercialization efforts, and to champion a nation-wide energy entrepreneurship ecosystem. Over the following three years, funds totaling $2 million dollars will be distributed to six regional competitions with the objective of building a new generation of energy leaders, a strong workforce, and an overall green economy.

FLoW’s mission is to support the development of entrepreneurial talent within American universities, and to accelerate the movement of leading edge technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace. FLoW’s region stretches from California to Alaska, Idaho to Hawaii, and embraces a wide diversity of academic talent and business acumen, bent on devising new clean energy solutions to our power problems.

Mentors with business or professional experience interested in helping out the competitors can sign up here.