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Cleantech Startups to Compete for up to $1 Million in Prize Funding at Clean Energy Challenge

Chicago, IL, December 19, 2014 --( Clean Energy Trust is launching its 5th annual Clean Energy Challenge, a nationally acclaimed accelerator program and pitch competition that has helped jumpstart more than 60 cleantech startups in the Midwest. On April 14, 2015, Clean Energy Trust will award a record total of $1 million in investments through the following prize categories:

· Pritzker Foundation Prize ($100,000) – Awarded to a startup based in Chicagoland from the Student, Early Stage or Emerging Growth categories.

· Wells Fargo Prize ($100,000) – Awarded to an Early Stage startup from the Midwest region;

· U.S. Department of Energy Student Prize ($75,000) – Awarded to a startup from the Student track. The winning team will also advance to the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition held in June in Washington, D.C.

· Boeing, United and UOP Honeywell Advanced Biofuels Prize ($50,000) – Awarded to a startup from any of the three tracks. The winning business must be related to the advanced biofuels sector.

· McCaffrey Building Efficiency Prize ($25,000) – Awarded to a startup from any of the three tracks. The winning business must have an application to large scale building and urban energy efficiency standards.

· Hanley Family Foundation Prize ($25,000) – Awarded to a startup from any of the three tracks. The winning business must have a focus on helping encourage sustainable practices in everyday life.

· ComEd Female CEO Prize ($20,000) – Awarded to a woman-led startup from any of the three tracks. This prize underscores ComEd and Clean Energy Trust’s commitment to gender equality in the Energy and STEM fields.

· Emerging Growth Awards ($100,000–$500,000) – Illinois-based companies in the Emerging Growth track will be eligible for awards from the Illinois Clean Energy Fund sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Emerging Growth companies based outside of Illinois will be eligible for awards from the Clean Energy Trust Fund.

· Remaining funds up to $1 Million will be disbursed on a discretionary basis.

Cleantech companies have received a total of $2.2 million in startup funding, raised $46 million in additional capital and created over 300 jobs, since the Challenge began in 2011.

“We are looking forward to awarding a record amount of $1 million in total investment funding at the Clean Energy Challenge in April,” said Amy Francetic, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “Every year we have been able to grow the Clean Energy Challenge thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, judges and mentors and we are eager to see some of the best clean energy startups in the U.S. compete for the prize funding.”

Applications for competitors are open now and will be accepted through January 13, 2015. Startups and students can apply at: The Clean Energy Challenge will take place on April 14, 2015.

Clean Energy Trust relies on the generosity and support of sponsor organizations, including Wells Fargo, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the U.S. Department of Energy.

About Clean Energy Trust:
Clean Energy Trust (CET) fuels clean energy innovation in the Midwest. A Chicago-based nonprofit, CET helps launch, fund and grow Midwest clean energy companies to ensure a more prosperous, sustainable future for generations to come. CET does this through direct investment, commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to its broad partner network and the promotion of a supportive clean energy community and business climate. For more information visit
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Clean Energy Trust
Dennis Dougherty

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