New energy contest hopes to spark entrepreneurial ideas

University Park, Pa. -- Ever have an idea for an energy efficient product that you feel you could turn into a business? Penn State’s Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP), in cooperation with the Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP), is offering an innovative entrepreneur with a great idea the chance to win $35,000 to get that business concept off the ground.

The New Energy Idea Contest, which is accepting entries from now until April 15, will award the prize to an entrepreneur who currently is developing a new business plan related to alternative or renewable energy.

“In challenging economic times, PennTAP is looking for ways to make the energy industry more competitive and contribute to new ways of thinking,” said Wayne Figurelle, director of PennTAP.

The competition will be judging entries based on technical merit and business opportunity. Topics may range from improvements in existing technologies, new hardware or software products that improve efficiency in battery or fuel cell applications, engine and turbine technologies and agriculture-based projects.

“An ideal candidate for the contest is someone who is willing to put their heart and soul into their business,” said Figurelle.

To be eligible, applicants must be in the pre-revenue stage if the business is currently in operation. They also cannot have received previous BFTP funding for their business. In addition, the business must be currently operating or willing to relocate to one of the 32 counties in the central and northern Pennsylvania regions.

Those counties include: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Elk, Erie, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Perry, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren and York.

To apply, visit online.

Prize money for this contest is being provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the BFTP.

The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) engages, guides and empowers businesses and organizations throughout the Commonwealth and beyond by providing objective and experience-based technical and workforce solutions that enable clients to succeed and thrive—stimulating economic growth for Pennsylvania. For more information, visit online. PennTAP is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010