Win $15K for a Student-run Energy Project

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new American Made Challenge Competition: The Community Energy Innovation Prize, with a dedicated track to support student-led community energy innovation initiatives. Program staff, faculty, or student club/group leaders (with their institution’s support) are eligible to apply.

To compete for one of 10 cash prizes of $15,000, we suggest these steps:

  1. Register for the challenge by going to this website and clicking Solve the Challenge.
  2. Submit a short application explaining your project concept by November 3rd to win $15K for your project! You must have a community partner specified in your application.
  3. Register for the Entrepreneur Futures Network (EFN) informational Webinar on October 17th 1-2pm ET to learn more about the prize. Can’t attend live? Register to receive a copy of the recording after the event.
  4. Join weekly office hours to get feedback on your concept and your questions answered about the prize. See a full schedule of office hours here. 
  5. Looking for more resources? Join additional webinars and office hours led by Power Connector organizations. 

More about this Prize

The Community Energy Innovation Prize aims to support local organizations with proven track records of engaging underserved communities and/or promoting environmental, climate, and energy justice as they enact community-led climate and clean energy solutions. The Community Energy Innovation Prize is made up of three tracks: the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track, the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track, and the Collegiate Track.

Collegiate Track teams must be made up of an academic institution, eligible students, and a community partner that meets the eligibility requirements. Diverse, interdisciplinary, well-rounded teams are highly encouraged, and both U.S. and non-U.S. institutions and students are welcome to apply, but non-U.S. institutions must partner with a U.S.-accredited institution to participate.

The competition will challenge students to work alongside a community partner to plan and implement a project related to the clean energy transition and create a measurable impact. DOE aims to support skills development and prepare students to do this work through collaboration with industry professionals in a real-world setting.

Some successful projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Capacity Building: Work to meet identified community needs related to the clean energy transition.
  • Project Creation and Implementation: Identify and implement a sustainable clean energy project or initiative in partnership with community members, local government, local organizations, etc.
  • Educational Material and Resource Development: Identify the most critical educational needs and develop and distribute materials to engage community members in the clean energy transition

The Collegiate Track: CONCEPT Phase Submission Deadline to win $15K for your project is Nov. 3, 2023, 5 p.m. EDT. Winners of the CONCEPT phase will be eligible to win up to 2 additional prizes throughout the academic year. View complete eligibility requirements and prize details in the official prize rules.

Entrepreneur Futures Network is a global non-profit dedicated to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. We provide training, accelerator, and funding development programs powered by 20 years of experience and our global network including having worked with over 100 universities. EFN is an official DOE technical assistance provider and has received funding from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to provide support to applicants for the Community Energy Innovation Prize.