CleanTech Challenge 2017

Stage: Competition Finished

Purpose and guiding principles of the Cleantech Challenge

The purpose of the CleanTech Challenge is to stimulate the creation of novel, clean-technology innovations. The CleanTech Challenge has been designed with two particular personas in mind: (i) science and engineering students who have developed a technology that could find useful application in cleantech – but who lack the business skills and insights to develop the technology into a business, and (ii) business students who have conceived a new cleantech product or service, but who lack the engineering and technical skills build it. 

The CleanTech Challenge provides the impetus to define the product and problem that it can solve (Phase 1), to build an embryonic team around the nascent business, thinking through fundamental issues relating to the proposed business (Phase 2), and then thinking through the next stages of the business – the Phase 3 bootcamp challenge, requiring the new team to develop a strategy for next-stage development (to which it is intended that the prize money will be applied). 

This purpose informs judging at every stage of the process. Proposals that remain as ‘ideas’ still backed by a weak team through to Phase 2 are unlikely to proceed through to the bootcamp (Phase 3) no matter how promising the idea. Ideas that are already well developed at the start of the challenge process (as evidenced, for example, by a team that has been working on the business for a lengthy period or that has already won a previous competition for essentially the same idea) will be expected to show substantial progress over and above that already made before the beginning of the CleanTech Challenge. 

CleanTech Challenge 2017 Competition Rules


To be read and acknowledged by all Entrants.



As used in this Agreement, the following terms (in the singular or plural form) shall have the following meaning:

The Challenge” or “CTC”: The CleanTech Challenge

Phase 1 Entrant”: the individual who submits an idea in Phase 1 of the Competition.

Phase 1 Entry”: the material submitted by the Phase 1 Entrant

Successful Phase 1 Entrant”: Phase 1 Entrant whose ideas is selected to proceed to Phase 2 of the CTC.

Phase 2 Team”: Team of individuals who submit during Phase 2, comprising at least one Successful Phase 1 Entrant

Phase 2 Entry”: the documentation submitted by Phase 2 Teams in order to apply for Phase 3 of the CTC (the Boot Camp).

Successful Phase 2 Team”: Phase 2 Team that is selected to take part in Phase 3 (the Boot Camp).

Entrant“: Phase 1 Entrant or Phase 2 Team.

Boot Camp” and “Phase 3”: The finals of the CTC attended by all Successful Phase 2 Teams.

Winner”: Team declared by the Judges as the winning Team at the end of the Boot Camp

CTC Organisers”: Members of the CTC Committee and designated representatives of UCL and LBS

CTC Officials”: CTC Organisers, Judges, Mentors



The following are eligible to participate in The Challenge: any current student registered on any full time (or part time) degree programme (we anticipate but do not require post graduate study programs such as Masters, PhD, MBA, Executive MBA; undergraduate candidates are permitted) during the academic year 2016/2017. Team members who are enrolled in such a program in January 2017, but graduate before the boot camp finals are still eligible to participate. Entrants may be disqualified if the Organisers (at their sole discretion) consider the entrant not eligible to participate.

All Entrants must be aged 18 or over.

For Phase 2, Entrants must form teams of 2 to 5 students with each team having a mix of business and technical/engineering/science backgrounds. During the initial stage (Phase 1), Entrants do not need to have a team already formed and ideas may be submitted individually, but the team must be formed for Phase 2.

The Organisers may not enter the competition.


Entry fees

There are no entry fees.



All entries must be the original work of the Entrants.

All entries and presentations (including verbal and written material) made as part of the Challenge should be made with full understanding of your Institution’s regulations on Intellectual Property Rights. It is the responsibility of the Entrant to ensure that no third party, such as a research sponsor or another member of your Institution who participated in your research, has any rights on the contents which may prevent its disclosure and exploitation. Such Proprietary Information relating to the Idea should not be disclosed.


Phase 1 Entries

By Submitting a Phase 1 Entry, Phase 1 Entrants Acknowledge and agree to be bound by Terms of the ‘Competitions Disclaimer’ as set out in these Guidelines. As part of submitting their Phase 1 Entries, Phase 1 Entrants give permission to the CTC Organisers to make their submissions available to all CTC Organizers and CTC Officials.

Phase 1 Entries may be no more than 200 words in length. Such Entries longer than 200 words may be truncated without notice or consultation before being passed to judges.

No Phase 1 Entries will be accepted after the deadline.

Successful Phase 1 Entrants will be notified by email. The decision of the judges is final. No correspondence will be entered into between any applicant and the judges during the competition (i.e. until after Boot Camp finishes).

All successful Phase 1 Entrants will be invited to submit a Phase 2 Entry.


Phase 2 Teams

The purpose of Phase 2 is to further develop the idea and build interdisciplinary teams (e.g. business students and science/engineering students). We believe that the most successful ventures are likely to comprise management teams that combine technical expertise and experience to develop the product and the business expertise and experience to manage the commercial development of the product. Our objective is to create real early stage businesses run by teams with the right mix of competent and committed individuals. This will be one of the criteria used by our judges throughout in order to ensure that all such teams compete on the same footing.

Phase 2 Teams can be no smaller than two persons and no larger than five. A team of four persons is ideal. All Phase 2 Teams must include at least one Successful Phase 1 Entrant.

The Organisers will not be responsible for the formation of the Phase 2 Teams. The selection of the team members will be the sole responsibility of the originator of the Phase 1 Entry.


Phase 2 Entries

Phase 2 Entries must be received by the specified deadline (28th of February 2017). Such Entries must be made on the forms supplied by CTC Organisers.

By submitting a Phase 2 Entry, Entrants acknowledge and agree to be bound by the ‘Competition Disclaimer’ as set out in these Guidelines. As part of submitting their Phase 2 Entries, Entrants give permission to the CTC Organisers to make their submissions available to all CTC Organisers and CTC Officials.

Entrants that have already established a company for this business idea must disclose the name and date of formation of the company.

Entrants that have already secured arrangements for capital from any source must disclose the amounts and sources as an addendum to their entries. Example sources of capital include cash generated from sales revenues, venture capital, proof of concept funding, contracts and personal or family funds. Given the purpose of the competition is to take ideas through to ‘proof of concept’ phase, entries may be disqualified if the Organisers (at their sole discretion) consider the funding already secured to have enabled development beyond this stage.

Successful Phase 2 Teams will be notified by email. The decision of the Judges will be final.


Phase 3 – The Boot Camp finals

Successful Phase 2 Teams must ensure that they are available for the full two days during the Boot Camp finals (27th and 28th of April 2017) to attend the seminars, work with their mentor and deliver their final pitch.

The Organisers will issue a ‘challenge’ to the teams during the course of the Boot Camp. Teams will then be given an equal amount of time to address this challenge, following which they will present their response to the ‘challenge’ to a panel of judges and fellow Phase 3 participants.

Following the presentations the Phase 3 judges will meet and declare the Winner. The decision of the Judges will be final.



The judging panels of all of the competition will be coordinated by the CTC Organisers. Phase 1 submissions will be sifted to ensure the quality of entries. Phase 2 Entries and Phase 3 (Boot Camp) presentations will be judged by a panel of judges with expertise in the CleanTech sector, such as investors, entrepreneurs and those with experience of the industry.

The CTC Organisers, acting on advice from the Judges, reserve the right to disqualify any Entry that, in its opinion, violates the rules or the spirit of the competition.

All prizes are awarded at the discretion of the judging panel and all judging decisions are final and not subject to appeal.


Judging Criteria

In Phase 1, each 200 word Entry will be judged independently by a minimum of 2 (two) judges.

The Criteria against which entries will be judged is as follows:

(1) Is the idea CLEAR?

  • Is the Idea well-structured and comprehensive within the word limit?
  • Does the Entrant provide sufficient analysis regarding the technological and business aspects of the Idea?

(2) Does the idea have potential to make a SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT?

  • What impact on the environment might this idea make?
  • Is this impact positive and significant, either broadly or deeply in an area?

(3) Is the idea NOVEL?

  • Does the idea involve a new product, method, solution or technology? The idea can either be entirely new or a new application of an existing product, method, solution or technology.

(4) Is the idea FEASIBLE?

  • Is the proposed Idea technically feasible? Does the Entrant illustrate the feasible implementation of the Idea?
  • Does the Idea provide insight into technical potential or product need in sufficient depth?
  • Is the market targeted by the Entrant attractive?
  • Does the Entrant demonstrate depth of knowledge regarding the initial target market (e.g. channel, target customers, competitive advantage of the product etc.)?
  • Does the Entrant provide viable ideas to finance the business plan, and provide a clear and persuasive timetable and strategy to run the business (e.g. market strategy, solution to potential risks, revenue model etc.)?

Additionally, in Phase 2 and Phase 3, Entries will be evaluated based on the quality of the team:

(5) Can this TEAM make it happen?

  • Does the Team have the right mix of business and technical/science students to make the idea happen?
  • Do the members of the team bring strong and relevant skills to the team?
  • Are the team members motivated to make it happen?



The Winner of the Boot Camp finals will receive a £10,000 grant awarded by University College London (UCL) and London Business School (LBS)



Entrants acknowledge that in an open competition such as the CTC it is difficult to maintain confidentiality whilst at the same time enabling ideas to be shared and developed by other Entrants. Entrants should therefore be aware that, whilst the ‘Competitions Disclaimer’ binds Entrants to “respect the confidentiality of any information disclosed by the other Entrant/s of the Competition”, this undertaking provides minimal protection in law.

The Organisers will organise optional online and offline networking opportunities to help Entrants to share ideas and form Teams. Entrants are strongly advised not to disclose any information that may compromise their ability to secure protection of their intellectual property since such information will be available to other Entrants.

Phase 1 Entries will be seen only by the CTC Organisers.

Phase 2 Entries will be seen only by the CTC Organisers and Phase 2 Judges.

Phase 3 presentations will be seen by Phase 3 judges, other Successful Phase 2 Teams, CTC Organisers, and others invited to attend the Boot Camp.


Intellectual Property Protection

The Organisers will ensure that all Entrants acknowledge the ‘Competitions Disclaimer’ agreement.

The Organisers, LBS and UCL will take no further responsibility to protect the intellectual property or any other rights of any Entrant. The protection of intellectual property or other rights of the Entrants is the ultimate responsibility the Entrant in who possesses such intellectual property or other rights. If in doubt, Entrants should seek professional advice on the issues surrounding Intellectual Property Ownership and Rights.


Competition Disclaimer

By submitting an Entry to the Competition the Entrants agree to the following conditions:


The Ideas embodied in Entries are the original work of the Entrant(s) and their exploitation will not, to the best knowledge of the Entrant(s) (but without having made any specific enquiries) infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party.

Neither the Ideas nor the Entrant(s) is subject to any agreement or restriction which would prohibit or restrict the disclosure or submission of the Entry to the CTC or exploitation of the Ideas in accordance with the Entry concerned.


Entrants confirm that they have read the Rules and certify that their Entry complies with, and they agree to abide by, those Rules.


Entrants acknowledge that the Officials are volunteers, assisting with a student run, free competition, and have no duty to provide any advice or service to any Entrant. In particular, but without limitation, any views expressed by Officials are their own opinions, given in good faith, and not those of the LBS, UCL, its subsidiaries, the Organisers, Officials or any other person or entity. Teaching or mentoring is provided as a help and is not a substitute for professional advice necessary to develop any idea into a commercial venture.

Entrants understand that the Officials will take reasonable steps to keep Entries confidential, subject to the need to share and circulate information as necessary to facilitate smooth running of the Competition. They acknowledge and agree that legal protection of the intellectual property rights in any Entry is the sole responsibility of the Entrants. In consequence they understand and agree that, save in relation to personal injury or death caused by negligence or in respect of fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation:

(a) No warranties are made in relation to the Competition or views expressed by or conduct of Officials; and that

(b) Neither the Officials nor LBS nor UCL shall be liable for any damages or expenses of whatsoever nature and howsoever arising (and whether in contract, tort, negligence or for breach of statutory duty or misrepresentation) in connection with an Entry, the Competition or views given by Officials, including without limitation any indirect, incidental or consequential loss.


The Entrants understand that receiving the Prize comes with specific conditions, laid out in the Prize section of the Rules.


The Entrants agree to respect the confidentiality of any information disclosed by the other Entrant/s of the Competition.

 Funding Available



A global entrepreneurship competition for graduate students with clean-technology business ideas organised by the London Business School and University College London