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Ann Arbor, Mich.-based DTE Energy and the University of Michigan (U-M) have teamed up to challenge teams from Michigan colleges and universities to develop the best business plans for bringing new clean energy technologies to market. The teams with winning ideas will share $100,000 in prize money, to be awarded in spring 2009.

"Our goal is to drive promising clean energy ideas and technologies from the research lab to commercialization," says Knut Simonsen, president of DTE Energy Ventures. "This competition will encourage students and faculty to integrate new technology with a sound business plan, and it will reward the winning teams with additional resources, so they can further develop their ideas. We also believe the competition will help reinvigorate a culture of entrepreneurship in Michigan."

The U-M Ross School of Business' Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship and the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, along with student organizations MPowered Entrepreneurship and the Ross Energy Club, are organizing the competition. The competition is open to students and faculty from all Michigan colleges and universities. Each team must have at least one University of Michigan student or faculty member.

The competition will require that teams focus on business ideas that support renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid technologies, environmental control technologies, plug-in electric vehicles or energy storage.

The business plan entries will be judged by independent panels that will include leaders from the venture capital, business, industry and academic communities.

The prize money will help the winning teams start new businesses that can contribute to Michigan's emerging role as a leader in clean energy. Assuming this initial competition is successful, it is envisioned that the competition will be held in subsequent years with an annual prize pool of $200,000.

SOURCE: DTE Energy

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