Competition: Global Venture Challenge

by James Gabriel Duncan

Global Venture Challenge

Capitalism runs on competition, so a competition run on capitalism makes sense. And why not make it about sustainability and green energy? This is the idea behind the Global Venture Challenge sponsored by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The challenge uses the Idea to Product® competition model to identify new energy technologies that meet a current market need. An advisor-led team of 2-4 graduate students will be awarded $25,000 to commercialize their innovation.

Global Venture Challenge 2009 is an educational event designed to foster entrepreneurial spirit by engaging students, industry, government and the investment community in the discovery and development of innovative ideas. The ultimate goal is to encourage students to launch new technology-based businesses that can improve the well-being of the world. Specific areas of interest include Bioenergy, and Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energies.

It is a three-phase challenge. Part one is to submit a 1-page description of the technology idea, the general market size, target customer, IP strategy and other aspects of the business. Part 2 is to send in a Technology Commercialization Plan (max 5 pages). Part 3 is a presentation in April at ORNL. The teams will be competing for numerous prizes including a grand prize of $25,000. The application deadline for part 1 is February 2, 2009. The Technology Commercialization Plan is due by March 16, 2009. Note Idea to Product® competition are slightly different from business plan competitions.

Global Venture Challenge is having a similar competition for high school students with a $4000 scholarship to University of Tennessee as the grand prize.

More info is available at

Another note is that the Global Venture Challenge has been about as global as the US judging by last year’s competition. And mainly Southeastern USA at that.