Five student entrepreneurial teams will compete in the semifinals at the Ohio Clean Energy Challenge
in Columbus on January 29, presenting their business plans and technologies to a panel of judges for the chance to win $10,000 and an opportunity to go on to the Midwest regional competition in Chicago.
The event is hosted by the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio
(UCEAO) and NorTech
as part of the Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. This is the second year the competition has been held in Ohio.
“We’ve expanded quite a bit this year,” explains Ashley Sparks, senior project coordinator at NorTech. “Each team was paired up with an industry mentor who could really help the teams build on their ideas and get feedback.”
The businesses represent various ideas in clean energy solutions. “It’s paramount for this region to have students really interested in commercialization,” says Byron Clayton, NorTech vice president. “These are students who are involved in bringing jobs here and it addresses the brain drain issue in that these businesses they create keep them here.”
The top team in the Ohio competition will go on to compete for $100,000 in Chicago at the Midwest regional competition. In addition to the five Cleveland teams, there are seven other teams from around the state.
“This challenge helps raise awareness of these startup companies in the state and the region,” says Clayton. “This challenge brings new innovations to the area, provides funding, creates mentoring opportunities and access to venture capital.”
Source: Ashley Sparks, Byron Clayton
Writer: Karin Connelly