Calling all university students for $50,000 cleantech opportunity

Cleantech UP is a business plan competition designed to help university students take the first steps towards creating viable businesses from sustainable technology.

As one of eight regional partners for the Department of Energy’s Cleantech UP, Clean Energy Trust will showcase the most innovative and promising university-based cleantech companies in the Midwest, of which one will receive a $50,000 grant.

Clean Energy Trust intends to maximize each student applicant’s access to quality mentorship, business development, and exposure. Finalist teams will be selected to take part in a mini-accelerator, where they will have access to CET’s tailored curriculum, leading network of mentors, and community of experienced innovators.

The winner of our final event – the Cleantech UP Showcase – will be determined by a panel of expert cleantech industry judges.┬áThe 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers will also go on to present at the Department of Energy’s National Cleantech UP competition.

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  • Cleantech UP is open to teams of students at undergraduate, graduate, or PhD levels.
  • Half of the team must be comprised of current, active students.
  • The program is open to students residing in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Application & Criteria

  • There is no application fee, however you must use the Gust platform to access and complete the application.
  • The application consists primarily of single-line and short answer questions, and also requires applicants to upload a pitch deck, short video, and financial projections spreadsheet.
  • Evaluations will be conducted by CET staff to determine finalists teams. The finalists will be coached through a mini-accelerator and the top finishers will be determined by a live panel of expert judges at the final showcase event.
  • For questions, please contact George Johnson at

Important 2017 – 2018 Dates

    • September 18, 2017: Application Opens
    • November 30, 2017: Applications Close
    • December 2017 – February 2018: Mini-Accelerator (do not need to be on-site in Chicago)
    • February 2018: Final Cleantech UP Showcase Event in Chicago, IL (date TBD)

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By Emily Achler | September 29, 2017