The U.S. Department of Energy wants the nation's universities to cough up its best and brightest green entrepreneurs. The agency has launched an initiative meant to create up to six regional "student-focused" business creation competitions.
The National University Clean Energy Business Challenge has been capitalized with $2 million to cover costs. Regional winners will compete for a grand prize in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012.
"This investment will train a new generation of scientific and technical leaders," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. He said the effort supports the Obama Administration's continued effort to ensure that America has the workforce "to secure our energy future, create jobs here at home and win the future."
The business ideas sought have to do with energy efficiency and renewable energy. Officials say that student teams in the competitions will work with experienced mentors from the energy industry along with university and national lab-based researchers. The intent is to develop creative business plans for "transforming ground-breaking energy technologies into high impact market solutions."
For more information, go to fedconnect.net and plug in the funding opportunity reference number DE-FOA-0000570. This part is for institutions interested in staging the competitions. Applications are due on Aug. 22, 2011. Selections are expected to be made before the end of September 2011.
We'll keep you posted as we learn more specifics.