Posted by Martin LaMonica (news.com)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is kicking off a competition
to award $200,000 to entrepreneurs in the green-energy field.
The MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize, announced Wednesday, combines two existing prizes and increases the prize money.
The revamped contest pulls in sponsorship from the U.S. Department of
Energy and NStar, an electric and gas utility based in Massachusetts.
In addition to receiving cash or services, competitors will also get
mentoring from experts as they develop their business plans.
Sponsors hope the competition will accelerate the pace of innovation and energy.
"We want to help these entrepreneurs get their great ideas and
possible solutions to the nation's energy needs off the drawing boards
and into the homes and businesses of our customers," NStar CEO Tom May
said in a statement.
The prize is part of a campuswide initiative related to sustainable energy that was launched by MIT President Susan Hockfield last spring.
In the past three years, there has been an avalanche of venture
capital money into clean tech businesses, with solar and biofuels
attracting the most investment.
But the field is still trying to pull in a steady flow of
entrepreneurs and experienced business managers, with many people
trying to make the jump from the IT industry to clean energy.
The new contest combines what were formerly known as the MIT $100K
Business Plan Competition and the Ignite Clean Energy Competition.
The contest begins February 15 on MIT's campus in Cambridge,
Mass. In addition to the grand prize, there will be three secondary
prizes of $20,000 each. Winners will be announced in mid-May.