This article highlights one bright spot in the cleantech scene, that of companies made of students with technologies coming out of University research. The path these companies take is a bit different from that of your typical startup. At H2GO Power, it seems like we've always got a business plan competition that we're in. These cleantech focused competitions seem to provide a better platform, more understanding and nuanced judges, and overall a great way of developing technologies that are a lot more "science-y" than a more typical internet startup. Personally, I've been quite impressed with the willingness of governments and companies (both in the US and Europe) to sponsor these invaluable competitions and events.
With the ingenuity and passion of student-entrepreneurs such as those at Unified Solar, it is unsurprising that the start-ups emerging from the MIT CEP and other business plan competitions have bucked international trends and found success in a field known for being unforgiving for entrepreneurs. In such a challenging environment, these competitions can play a key role in helping start-ups become successful businesses by providing mentorship from other successful entrepreneurs and industry experts, expanding their networks and opening opportunities for partnerships, and lending credibility and national exposure that can be crucial to securing additional funding or finding the right strategic relationships.