ORANGE, Calif. — Chapman University joins a consortium including, USC, UCLA, UC San Diego, and energy company OnGreen, Inc., who will collaborate with Caltech as the $2 million grant recipient from the Department of Energy (DoE). The consortium serves as the Western Region recipients of a grant to manage a business plan competition focusing on clean energy entrepreneurship.

The grant award is for $2 million over three years for awardees in six regions across the United States. The Western Region is comprised of: California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific territories of Guam and American Samoa. The grant is designed to enable universities to create and administer a network of student-driven business creation competitions and, in particular, to encourage young entrepreneurs into clean energy start-ups. According to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Moneytree Survey, SoCal currently ranks third in total venture capital investment, behind New England and Silicon Valley, powered by large cleantech deals.

Chapman University’s Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics Director Richard Sudek will lead the effort for Chapman. Under Sudek’s leadership, Chapman University has established a business plan competition with a $100,000 prize, which will serve as a feeder to the DoE competition.

“Clean technology is rapidly growing in Southern California, and the universities in this consortium are well positioned to facilitate this competition,” said Richard Sudek, also Chairman Emeritus TechCoast Angels. “We are thrilled to be a part of this consortium representing the Western Region.”

Also participating in the project will be Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology.

“The awarding of the grant points to the importance of clean tech in the region, and specifically Orange County, said Menas Kafatos, Dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology.” At Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology, we view issues related to energy as of paramount importance for both a healthy economy and the environment. Our industry relations and focus of technology solutions seek to tie together the energy, the economy and the environment. As such, opportunities for working together to advance Chapman’s goals abound for both the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics, and the Schmid College of Science and Technology, promoting projects with both the DoE and the clean tech industry in Orange County.”

The project objectives are to create a sustainable competition that supports the next generations of student entrepreneurs, which enhances energy efficiency and productivity while bringing clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace. Ideally, it will create a new network of clean technologists and entrepreneurs.

The DoE’s national business plan competition will first culminate with the six regional competitions to be completed by May 1, 2012. The regional awards will include first, second and third prizes. From there, a panel of judges will select a winning team from each region to advance to the finals. The six regional winners will each receive $100,000 in DoE prize money and a chance to compete for a national grand prize at a competition held at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012.

This national initiative is part of the Obama Administration’s campaign to inspire and promote entrepreneurship called StartUp America. For more information on the DoE project, please visit,

About the Ralph W. Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Ethics

Established in 1995, Chapman University’s Leatherby Center offers one of the nation’s most respected programs for entrepreneurial young men and women.  The center aims to prepare and inspire principled, dynamic entrepreneurs whose ideas improve lives and solve important problems.  Through innovative courses and real-world leadership, the center provides students with access to a range of resources, including professional mentoring, entrepreneurial internships, a multi-university network, community resources, events, speakers, research, professional groups, competitions and boot camps. Ranked as the #6 Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program by Business Week, the Leatherby Center is unique in its approach to connecting students with inventors, investors and real-world entrepreneurs.

Tracing its history to 1861, Chapman University is one of California’s oldest and most respected private institutions. The university is known for its commitment to deeply engaged learning, providing students with a remarkable educational environment from the moment they step onto campus. Chapman University alumni are found throughout the world, providing ethical and innovative leadership in their communities and disciplines. Our graduates now excel in film and media arts, performing arts, educational studies, business and economics, law, humanities and the sciences.


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