Friday, September 16, 2011

Cleantech Open Regional Semi-Finalists to Compete for Shot at Nationals Tuesday

Every year some of the most promising clean technology start-up companies compete in Cleantech Open. Cleantech Open 2011 is a business competition is designed to take ambitious start-ups to a level where they can pitch venture capitalists and get their business funded and functioning. The competition began in California in 2006 and expanded to the Colorado and Rocky Mountain region two years ago.

Tuesday, the semi-finalists from the Rocky Mountain Region will compete in a regional mock judging so they can develop a 10-minute pitch geared at venture capitalists. The Rocky Mountain Region Awards Ceremony will be in Denver on Oct. 6. Three regional winners for each category and one sustainability winner will be selected to advance to the National Cleantech Open in San Jose, Calif. in November.

The Colorado Cleantech Industry Association support and sponsors the Cleantech Open because of its track record of helping bring cleantech companies to market faster. CCIA and the CTO share the same vision of fostering education and business connectivity to all the necessary stakeholders throughout the region, expanding Colorado as a cleantech industry hub.

A rich blend of mentoring, business-class training, meetings with industry experts and a strong emphasis on building a successful business model make the competition unique. For participants, the opportunity to gain access to these resources can make all the difference in their business journey.

Knowing how multi-faceted the program is, it’s hard to pin down only one thing that competitors get from it. Richard Franklin, the director for the Rocky Mountain Region, knows how well developed the program is. “I don’t know that you could isolate one single piece. If I had to sum it up, it would be education, and business connectivity to all the necessary stakeholders,” says Franklin of the program’s greatest asset.

Often in any industry where economic success is critical, good ideas can’t make it off the ground. Sometimes it can be a lack of funding, a poor business model or even misguided management practices that prevent a company from evolving. A central goal for Cleantech Open is to foster growth from a dynamic cleantech idea to a successful, functioning business. “All of it together translates to a comprehensive process of education and business modeling that mitigates risks and hopefully accelerates their speed to market,” said Franklin.

Winners can receive prizes valued anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000 in funding and in-kind awards. However, the true prize for Cleantech Open participants is the experience itself. No monetary award can compare to the invaluable mentoring, development and evolution a young company gets from participating.

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