Funding: UW Environmental Innovation Challenge


$45K Available for Prototype Funding – Deadline 12/16/13
Application here:
.pdf here: Prototype funding pdf 12_6_13

Funding will be announced by January 8, 2014. Questions? Pam Tufts,

Student teams from Washington State schools are invited to apply…for funding to build prototypes for the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge, which will be on April 3, 2014. These funds can be used to purchase materials, rent equipment, purchase safety gear, or hire short-term workers with skills beyond a team’s capacity.

Although the applicant must be from a WA State school, the team may consist of students from multiple schools throughout the Pacific NW.

  • Washington State Schools – Available Funds $5K
    WRF Capital has provided $5K to teams who are serious about environmental innovation.
  • WA State-Clean Energy Institute – Available Funds $15K
    The Clean Energy Institute has provided $15K to fund prototype development for student teams from across the state of Washington. In order to qualify, teams must focus on tech innovation in solar energy, electrical energy storage, and/or the software or hardware for renewable integration with the grid.
  • UW Seattle Campus (may include students from other schools) – Available Funds $25K
    The UW College of Engineering has provided $25K for teams entering the Challenge. Although the team may include students from other discipline and other schools, the application must be submitted by a UW engineering student who is on the team.

Note: teams that receive funding agree to participate in the Challenge on April 3, 2014. If you receive funding and then drop out, all funds must be returned to The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.


Interdisciplinary student teams define an environmental problem, design and develop a solution, and work together to produce both a prototype (proof of concept or computer simulation) and a 5 to 7-page business summary that outlines the market opportunity. At the Challenge on April 3, 2014, students pitch their concepts and demonstrate their product/idea to a group of judges that includes technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors. Teams are judged on their prototypes, business summaries, and potential for impact.

Total prize money=$27,500. Many teams decide to go on into the Business Plan Competition.


  • Prototype funding application due Dec. 16
  • Resource Nights, Winter Quarter, Thurs, 6-7:30. Highly recommended for EIC teams and open to students from other schools – drop in, no rsvp required. We find that a number of EIC teams decide to continue on to the BPC. Having attended Resource Nights is excellent preparation for both.Video will be available on our website.
  • January 22, Panel of Past EIC Participants & Team Networking Night – excellent place to fill out your team or find a team to join.
  • February 2, Intent to Submit – online preliminary team information only.
  • February 23, Official Team Entry. 5 to 7-page Business Summary. Describe the problem, the solution, the team, market opportunity, and prototype or computer simulation. Feedback to each team will be provided by a panel of judges to each team.
  • March 12, Pitch Workshop 6-8:00 p.m. Mandatory for all teams within the Seattle area. At least 1 member from each team needs to attend. More are recommended.
  • March 30, 1-page Business Summary: describe the problem, solution, team, market opportunity, and potential for impact and describe the prototype, computer simulation or proof of concept.
  • April 3, Thursday Challenge Day! Team set-up in the morning, judging 1-5, followed by the reception and awards ceremony from 5-7 pm.

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