FAQ

I have an idea but I need a team. How can I find one?

Visit the Find a Team Page, where you can browse for potential team members or post announcements for potential team members with the specific skills you’re looking for. You can essentially use the find a team page like a jobs board to post open positions on your team or to help you find a team to join

I want to compete but I don’t have an idea yet, can you help?

Visit the Find an Idea Page, where you can learn about all the resources we’ve made available to help figure out an idea, and where  you can go for help. Teams are encouraged to utilize technology from universities and national labs, although this is not a requirement.

Do I have to patent my idea?

Maybe. Many cleantech businesses have an underlying technology or innovation that gives them an edge over the competition and can help increase the odds of success. In these cases I/P is extremely important and will impact how well your team scores in the competition. Many times the technology will have already begun the patent process if your team utilizes a technology from a university or national lab, and it’s important to work with the technology transfer office at the institution that invented the technology. Note that if your team utilizes technology from a research institution you don’t necessarily have to have obtained the I/P rights (ownership, license agreements, etc.) prior to the competition, but it your team will score higher if you demonstrate a reasonable strategy and path for acquiring the required rights.

How can I sign up to be a mentor?

We’re always looking for great mentors, both locally in the Colorado Front Range but also across the competition region. If you’d like to volunteer as a mentor please contact our Mentorship Lead, TBD. Additionally, for more information about mentorship, please visit the Mentorship Page.

Can my business sell outside of the U.S.?

Yes and no. While we live in global economy and there are certainly vast opportunities for cleantech companies to sell to global markets, the focus of the competition is to encourage American innovation and help support the American economy. So while it’s important to note opportunities abroad, the company must be U.S. based and focus should be on the U.S. market.

There are other DOE sponsored regional cleantech business plan competitions, can I compete in those as well?

Yes. There are 6 regions of the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored business plan competitions hosted by our partner organizations Caltech, M.I.T. University of Maryland, Rice University, and Clean Energy Trust. Your team can compete in the other competitions as long as you meet their eligibility requirements (generally similar to the CU Cleantech NVC requirements). However, you may only win the top prize at one regional competition. So if you compete in the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge but win another regional competition, you will not be able to win the $100,000.

Is this competition open to undergraduate or graduate students?

Both! This competition is open to undergraduate, graduate, and PhD students at Universities in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Additionally, there are no restrictions on majors, so business students, engineers, arts & science, lawyers, etc. are all able to participate. The best teams will have a mix of business and technical expertise.

 

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