Frequently Asked Questions

Who is behind the Challenge?

The CleanTech Challenge is a student competition jointly hosted by London Business School and University College London, and powered by Gore Street Capital, where students compete in cross-functional teams combining technical and business skills. The objective of the Challenge is to identify and reward innovative clean technology ideas that have been taken from a concept phase to a stage in which they would ideally attract Series A funding or otherwise be self-sustainable.

Who can participate in the Challenge?

The Challenge is open to all current university students (undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral) at a recognised Higher Education Institution anywhere in the world. “Current” means students who were enrolled in a degree programme as of the start of the competition, on 1 January 2024. For more information, please see the rules.

We do accept ideas that have been developed in collaboration with individuals who are not students (or no longer students). However, each team that competes in the Challenge must have a member who is a currently enrolled student. We allow — and encourage — participants to seek external input into the development of their ideas, as the aim of the competition is to help students further develop and refine their ideas.

How is the Challenge different from other business case competitions?

Most business plan competitions focus on the output – often an elaborate document that does not focus on the core risks and challenges faced by a new venture. This competition is different.

To begin with, students have to base their ventures on real technology opportunities and market needs. In addition, students are required to put together teams that are explicitly short-term – whose sole objective is to take the opportunity through to the next stage of investment by a process that we call ‘de-risking’. Third, students work with mentors to refine their ideas. In short – the CTC aims to create sustainable ventures.

What qualifies as “Clean Tech”?

We seek ideas that have the potential to make a significant environmental impact. If your idea falls in this definition, it can be considered “clean tech”. Clean tech includes (but is not limited to) the energy, water, waste treatment and agriculture sectors. 

What awards and benefits will the winners receive?

The winner(s) of the CleanTech Challenge will receive a cash award of £20,000. This prize may be split among teams upon the recommendation of the Judges and at the discretion of the CTC Organizing Committee, for instance in the case of a tie. The winners and all finalists attending the Boot Camp will get:

  • Feedback on their ideas from world class clean technology venture capitalists
  • Introduction to a network of clean technology entrepreneurs, investors and potential partners
  • Mentoring by experienced professionals

How do I submit my idea? Can I change my submission form after it is already submitted?

Applications will be released in December 2023. To indicate your interest and sign up for updates, please fill out this form:

Once your entry is submitted, and provided you successfully reach the second stage of the competition, you will not be allowed to substantially change or edit it during the second stage. You are however encouraged to continue to develop and refine your idea.

Can I submit more than one idea?

Yes, in fact this is encouraged! Please submit as many ideas as you like. However, individuals are only allowed to represent one team / idea for the Boot Camp finals.

What are the judging criteria for the ideas?

Please see the guidelines.

I don’t have an idea, but I would like to participate. How can I join the competition?

We strongly encourage you to try to create your own ideas, even if they are rough sketches, and submit for Stage 1. Do some research and see what is being said about CleanTech – maybe you will find some inspiration.

If you still don’t have even a sketch of an idea by Phase 1, please submit a short bio, include your background and interests. If we can match you with a team that is looking for another member and that is advanced to Stage 2 we will do so.

Does information about already secured funding for an idea in stage 1 have to be included in the 200-word idea submission?

The 200 words are reserved for description of the idea. However, as part of the stage 1 entry there is a section reserved for already secured funding details. Please provide any relevant information there. 

Other questions?

For any other questions, feedback or clarifications please email us at [email protected].