CleanTech Open Showcases Emerging Technologies
This Thursday, October 18th, innovative leaders and entrepreneurs in green technology fields will gather at the Aria at the Jeune Lune in Minneapolis to interact, discuss and share the latest ideas in energy, waste, water, green IT, materials, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and green building. More importantly, the CleanTech Open Expo and Awards Event will showcase 30 startup companies from 10 Midwest states and issue awards to the most innovative and sustainable.
Cash prizes accompany these awards, intended to accelerate the development of the winning startups and spur further innovation in these fields. The CleanTech Open Accelerator and Competition series has dished out $5 million in cash and services since its inception in 2006, and the 581 participating companies in the program have raised more than $660 million in external capital.
One of the featured startup companies at this year’s event is Chaksa, MN-based SheerWind. This company has developed a groundbreaking technology that harnesses the wind above ground and funnels it into turbines underground. The company won the Sustainability Award at last year’s event and hopes to build on that momentum this time around.
The primary goal of the CleanTech Open is to provide startup companies like SheerWind with the tools, services, mentoring and funding they need to get over the hump that keeps many startups from succeeding. The innovations realized by these small companies will drive the technologies and economies of tomorrow, but the groups may not have the infrastructure, wherewithal, connections or financing to get their ideas to a broader market.
One look at the attendees to this year’s event indicates the level of importance these emerging technologies carry. These are not fringe technologies looking for angel venture capitalists to take a chance. Large, well-established, successful companies like Wells Fargo, 3M, Chevron, Johnson Controls and Allete are listed as attendees this year. They recognize that sustainable energy, waste and resource management, and efficiency improvements are not just niche causes with environmentalists, they can greatly reduce costs and improve companies’ bottom line.
The CleanTech Open event seeks to find, fund and foster emerging clean technologies, and provides an amazing opportunity for startup companies leading the way in these crucial fields.