Cleantech Open: Announces North Central Competition winners

Media contact: Amy Fisher — — 612-455-1773

Top entrepreneurial companies from the Midwest win a “Startup in a Box” prize worth $30,000 and the chance to compete at the national awards in California

Oct. 7, 2010: Minneapolis – The Cleantech Open North Central region ( business competition announced the three finalists who will represent the region at the national competition in November. The winning teams, including EarthClean Corp., based in Minneapolis, Minn., Xolve, Inc., based in Platteville, Wis. and Silicon Solar Solutions, based in Rogers, Ark., were selected from an elite group of 16 semifinalist clean technology entrepreneurs from a region that includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. In addition to the regional finalists, NewWater, based in Minneapolis, won the regional sustainability award, an honor given to the team that most effectively incorporated a triple bottom line approach to scaling their business.

Each regional finalist won a “Startup in a Box” prize package including combined cash and in-kind services worth up to $30,000. The three finalist teams will advance to the Cleantech National awards on Nov. 17, 2010, to compete for a grand prize of $250,000 in investments and services.

“We were delighted to have more than 50 entries in this year’s first North Central region competition – which was second only to the California region,” said Justin Kaster, the regional director for the North Central region and an investment banker with Twin Cities-based Cherry Tree Companies. “While each entry was innovative and inventive, our four winners represent the best in cutting-edge clean technology and renewable solutions. With world-class training and extensive one-on-one mentoring, our winners now have the comprehensive tools to showcase their business. We’re thrilled to see such success in the competition’s first year in this region and believe the tremendous strides all our participant companies made will help our region lead in this emerging industry.”

The 2010 Cleantech Open competition offers more than $1 million in total prizes and aims to create 100,000 green-collar jobs in America by the end of 2015 with its “100K Jobs Challenge.” Currently, 22 states participate in the Cleantech Open program, and over 30 states are expected to contribute companies to the program in 2011.

Details on each of the winning companies for North Central include:

Regional Finalist: EarthClean Corp., Minneapolis, Minn.
Creator of a biodegradable, non-toxic fire suppressant system that can be used in existing firefighting equipment.

Regional Finalist: Xolve, Inc. (formerly Graphene Solutions, Inc.), Platteville, Wis.
Creator of technologies that increase the practical application of nanomaterials in coatings, composites and energy generation and storage.

Regional Finalist: Silicon Solar Solutions, LLC, Rogers, Ark.
Creator of technology to improve energy output and lower cost of silicon-based solar power cells.

Sustainability Winner: NewWater, LLC, Minneapolis, Minn.
Creator of a low-cost, drop-in solution to remediate the presence of atrazine, the most widely used herbicide in the United States drinking water.

About the Cleantech Open

The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech business competition. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. The program provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships to turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business competition and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has enabled hundreds of clean technology startups to bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helped alumni contestants raise over $280M, and created an estimated 1,200 green collar jobs. Fueled by a network of more than 700 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit, email and follow @cleantechopen on Twitter.

Cleantech Open North Central sponsors and partners include Chevron (global partner), Autodesk (national sponsor), Kauffman Foundation (national partner), Faegre & Benson, Wells Fargo, Padilla Speer Beardsley, Piper Jaffray, and AMEC.