PSU teams with Wells Fargo to launch $50,000 Cleantech Challenge competition
Author: Christina Williams, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Posted: April 17, 2013

Portland State University and Wells Fargo are partnering to present a new competition to help improve the way the world operates in a resource-constrained environment. PSU students and faculty are invited to test out their innovative concepts in the PSU-Wells Fargo Cleantech Challenge, which will offer $50,000 in cash to help innovation teams at the university bring their ideas to market.

From now until May 10, the Cleantech Challenge will accept submissions from PSU teams working on products, processes or services that have a positive impact on the environment — anything from green consumer products to high-tech manufacturing improvements. 

Up to six semi-finalists will be announced in late May. Semi-finalists will be awarded a $5,000 development grant to move their concepts into the prototype stage. In September, the semi-finalists will present their projects to a panel of judges from around the region. 

The results will be showcased, with announcement of the winning team at the Oregon BEST FEST, the annual conference put on by the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center. The winning team will receive the grand prize of $25,000 and the chance to meet with potential investors, a membership position in the PSU Business Accelerator and other professional services.

“This competition provides an opportunity for students to not only showcase their innovative ideas, but, thanks to Wells Fargo, it will also give them the seed money to develop them into real world products to solve real world problems,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel.

The contest builds on Portland’s and on Oregon’s commitment to driving a clean economy that benefits from innovation and sets an example for other regions to follow. Following a successful launch of the competition at PSU, organizers hope to expand the competition across Oregon University System schools.

“This is one of many cleantech competitions that Wells Fargo is sponsoring at universities and think tanks across the nation,” said Regional President Don Pearson of Portland. “We recognize that our environmental impact goes beyond how we operate. As a financial services company, we feel we can influence positive change by strengthening our environmental leadership and by partnering with PSU on this great project.”

To learn more and to enter the competition, visit