Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge focuses on venture creation

The Michigan Clean Energy Challenge is evolving and the latest version has added a new word to the business plan competition's name: Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge.

The Clean Energy Challenge began a few years ago, thanks to a partnership between the University of Michigan and DTE Energy. The idea is to create a platform to launch green-tech startups in Michigan with an annual prize purse of $100,000. This year's competition is shifting its focus from awarding the best of the startups with cash prizes to helping more of these startups make it to launch, hence the name change.

"We're really focused on venture creation," says Amy Klinke, assistant director of small company initiatives at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. "Before it was sort of a formal business plan competition. This time we let all the teams stay in and we grow them."

This year, 16 student-led startups from six universities across Michigan will present their green technology solutions later this week for a chance to win a piece of the $100,000 pie. The Clean Energy Venture Challenge encourages students from Michigan colleges and universities to grow clean-energy solutions into thriving businesses.

"We found in the past that a lot of the teams have great ideas but need mentoring and work," Klinke says.

Source: Amy Klinke, assistant director of small company initiatives, Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

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