The Structure of the Prize


The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a multi-stage, student-organized business plan competition. In 2016, student entrepreneurial teams competed for a $100,000 Grand Prize and $125,000 in category prizes, among other awards. University teams from across the United States enter their business ideas in one of four categories:

  • Generating Energy

  • Delivering Energy

  • Improving Energy Usage

  • Energy for Developing Economies

The prize structure changes slightly from year to year to ensure the CEP's relevance in a rapidly changing clean energy economy. However, the prize structure will be as depicted below.

In January and February, teams submit an executive summary and pitch deck. MIT CEP judges select 15-21 business plans (5-7 from each category), which then receive mentoring, $1,000, and access to other MIT CEP resources. During this time, finalists develop and refine their business plans before presenting them to a panel of expert judges at the CEP Finals event on April 14.

The top two teams in each category go on to compete in the Grand Finals on April 14. In the Grand Finals the six teams compete for a $200,000 Grand Prize, a $75,000 DOE EERE Clean Energy Prize, and the three $35,000 Track Prizes awarded by GE Ventures, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and ENGIE.

Learn about the Submission Requirements and Apply Here

To be eligible to win the $50,000 DOE EERE Clean Energy Prize and go on to represent the MIT Clean Energy Prize at the DOE’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington D.C., the entry must be consistent with the mission and technology portfolio of the DOE EERE.

Teams that win the grand prize or the DOE EERE prize are not eligible to receive track prizes. Therefore, the MIT Clean Energy Grand Prize and DOE EERE Prize winners are not eligible to receive Track Prizes. However, one team can win both the DOE EERE Prize and the MIT Clean Energy Grand Prize. The top three teams eligible for the DOE EERE Prize will be afforded the opportunity to compete for the national-level DOE Cleantech University Prize.