CHICAGO – Clean Energy Trust is calling on the most

innovative cleantech startups from across the Midwest to compete in the 6th

Annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge, a single-day pitch competition that will

award $1 million to start-ups in April 2016 – nearly ten times the amount

distributed at the annual event in 2011.

The Clean Energy Trust Challenge brings together venture

capitalists, industry executives, civic leaders, the media and the public to

watch startups pitch their businesses and learn from keynote addresses by

prominent thought leaders. By combining access to capital with premier

mentorship and national exposure, Clean Energy Trust Challenge finalists

receive value beyond funding. Through CET’s direct investment, finalists gain

commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to an elite partner network

and the promotion of a supportive clean energy community and business climate.

CET invested in Detroit’s GreenLancer, which has since gone

on to raise $5 million in Series B funding after winning the Clean Energy Trust

Business Model Innovation Prize in 2014.

Entrepreneurs, researchers, and students with the best

clean energy ideas and business plans are invited to compete for a chance to be

selected to participate in the nationally acclaimed competition. This year’s

categories include: Renewable Energy, Advanced Transportation, Efficiency,

Energy Storage, Building Technologies, Microgrids/Smartgrids, Bioenergy,

Water-Energy Nexus, and Internet of Things/Smart Cities.

Since 2011, CET has invested in 29 startups across the

Midwest states. Clean Energy Trust Challenge companies have gone on to raise an

additional $71 million in follow-on funding and have created more than 300 new


“Every year, the Clean Energy Trust Challenge helps

boost the environment for Midwest cleantech startups by providing a platform of

opportunity and funding that is essential for the growth of early-stage businesses.

I can’t wait to see what this year’s applicants have to offer,” said Amy

Francetic, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “CET Challenge award winners are

accomplishing great things after completing our accelerator program and we’re

very proud to have played a vital role in their successes.”

Since the first Clean Energy Trust Challenge, CET has

awarded more than $2 million to deserving companies. This year, prize sponsors

for the 6th Annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge include the Department of

Energy, Wells Fargo, The Pritzker Foundation, United Airlines, and the Hanley

Family Foundation, among others.

Student-led teams developing innovative business plans for

their MBA, researchers working on promising research and early stage startups

in the beginning stages of raising funds and generating revenue are eligible to

apply by going to


All applications will be thoroughly reviewed by a panel of

industry, finance and innovation experts who will select a group of

finalists. Finalists will be notified in early 2016 and be invited to

pitch their company to an esteemed panel of judges who will select the awards.

The full day competition will take place on April 12 at

Venue Six 10 at the Spertus Institute, 610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL