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Consortium that includes Chapman receives $2 million clean-energy grant

October 7, 2011

Chapman University has joined a consortium that includes USC, UCLA, UC San Diego and the energy company OnGreen Inc. and will collaborate with Caltech as a $2 million grant recipient from the Department of Energy (DoE). The consortium will serve the Western Region, managing a business plan competition focusing on clean-energy entrepreneurship.

The grant award is for $2 million over three years for awardees in six regions across the United States. The Western Region is comprised of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific territories of Guam and American Samoa. The grant is designed to enable universities to create and administer a network of student-driven business-creation competitions and, in particular, to encourage young entrepreneurs into clean energy start-ups.

According to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Moneytree survey, Southern California ranks third nationally  in total venture capital investment  powered by large clean technology deals. Only New England and Silicon Valley rank higher.

Chapman University’s Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics Director Richard Sudek will lead the effort for Chapman. Under Sudek’s leadership, Chapman has established a business plan competition with a $100,000 prize, which will serve as a feeder to the DoE competition.

“Clean technology is rapidly growing in Southern California, and the universities in this consortium are well positioned to facilitate this competition,” said Richard Sudek, also chairman emeritus of Tech Coast Angels. “We are thrilled to be a part of this consortium representing the Western Region.”

Also participating in the project will be Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology.

“The awarding of the grant points to the importance of clean tech in the region, and specifically Orange County,” said Menas Kafatos, Dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology. “At Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology, we view issues related to energy as of paramount importance for both a healthy economy and the environment. Our industry relations and focus of technology solutions seek to tie together the energy, the economy and the environment. As such, opportunities for working together to advance Chapman’s goals abound for both the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics, and the Schmid College of Science and Technology, promoting projects with both the DoE and the clean tech industry in Orange County.”

The project objectives are to create a sustainable competition that supports the next generations of student entrepreneurs, which enhances energy efficiency and productivity while bringing clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace. Ideally, it will create a new network of clean technologists and entrepreneurs.

The DoE’s national business plan competition will first culminate with the six regional competitions to be completed by May 1, 2012. The regional awards will include first, second and third prizes. From there, a panel of judges will select a winning team from each region to advance to the finals. The six regional winners will each receive $100,000 in DoE prize money and a chance to compete for a national grand prize at a competition held at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012.

This national initiative is part of the Obama Administration’s campaign to inspire and promote entrepreneurship called StartUp America. For more information on the DoE project, please visit, http://energy.gov/articles/department-energy-awards-2-million-national-university-clean-energy-business-challenge-jump.

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