The competition, presented by DTE Energy and the University of Michigan and now in its second year, challenges teams to develop business plans that promise to move a new, clean-energy technology from the laboratory to the market place.
A total of 32 teams made up of students from six Michigan colleges and universities participated in Round 1, for which judging was conducted Nov. 23 at U-M’s Ross School of Business. The schools represented by participants in the first round include The University of Michigan, Davenport University, Henry Ford Community College, Wayne State University, Michigan State University and Oakland University.
The competition requires that teams focus on business ideas that support renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid technologies, environmental control technologies, plug-in electric vehicles or energy storage. The teams are competing for a share of a $100,000 prize pool, which will be awarded Feb. 12 after the final round of judging. The prize money rewards the winning teams with resources that can help them further develop their ideas and ultimately start new businesses that can contribute to Michigan’s emerging role as a leader in clean energy.
The teams that advanced from the first round are:
* Advanced Battery Control
* Carbon Perks
* Dadi Systems
* Food Waste Energy
* Go Green Energy Consulting
* Green Silane
* Ice Mitigating Systems
* Nalu Solar Software
* The Planeteers
* Qisol, LC
* Rho G Wind
* Smart Energy Inc
* Synerton Innovations
In Round 2, these teams will present a market analysis and preliminary financial analysis to a panel of judges that includes leaders from the venture capital, business, industry and academic communities. The teams also are required to submit a written summary of their analyses. The judges will assess the teams on their written material as well as their presentation skills.
Of the 16 teams competing in Round 2, as many as eight teams will advance to the semi-final round that will be held Feb. 12.
The Clean Energy Prize competition was established by DTE Energy and the University of Michigan to encourage entrepreneurship in Michigan and the development of clean-energy technologies. The Masco Corporation Foundation and The Kresge Foundation were Clean Energy Prize founding sponsors and they continue to support the competition. Additional sponsors include UBS Investment Bank and Nth Power, a clean-tech venture capital company.
"The primary purpose of the Clean Energy Prize is to foster greater entrepreneurship within universities and be part of a broader ecosystem to encourage more risk-taking and tech start-ups in Michigan," said Knut Simonsen, president, DTE Energy Ventures.
The U-M Ross School of Business’ Ross Energy Club along with the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and the Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship are organizing the current competition. Also providing support is several other University of Michigan entities, including the college of engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, and MPowered Entrepreneurship.
Simonsen said he is pleased with the number of teams participating and with the number of schools represented. In the first year, all teams had to have at least one U-M student or faculty member. "After the success of the inaugural Clean Energy Prize last year, we decided to open the competition to all Michigan colleges and universities so that it could generate more ideas and greater participation," he said. "And the results ? with 32 teams and 135 individuals participating ? have exceeded our most optimistic expectations."
Jeff Caveney, one of the Ross Energy Club student leaders, said the competition has generated dozens of compelling ideas for new, clean-energy businesses and demonstrates the enthusiasm that students have for entrepreneurship. "Round 1 of the 2009/2010 Clean Energy Prize was a testament to the creativity, ingenuity, and overall interest in clean energy amongst students in Michigan," he said. "Both the participants and leadership team are eagerly awaiting rounds two through four to watch the ideas mature into viable business plans."
Details of the competition are available on the Clean Energy Prize Web site: www.dtecleanenergyprize.com.
DTE Energy Ventures is a DTE Energy company that invests in emerging energy technologies and to date has invested more than $100 million in energy-related companies and funds, making us one of the largest Michigan-based venture capital operations. Information about DTE Energy Ventures is available at www.dteenergyventures.com.
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at www.dteenergy.com.
The Ross Energy Club is a group of talented business students who share an interest in energy. REC promotes career development by providing a forum for education about all aspects of business in the energy sector.
The Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute develops, coordinates and promotes multidisciplinary energy research and education at U-M. Some 75 faculty in disciplines ranging from engineering to policy to environmental science to urban planning are a part of the institute.