Competitions Students on campus have the opportunity to compete in the Wisconsin Engineering for Sustainability Challenge (left) as well as national competitions such as the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Competition (right).

The Wisconsin Energy Institute invites all UW-Madison students to contribute their own creative solutions to the Wisconsin Energy & Sustainability Challenge. The competition occurs annually during the Energy Hub Conference.


The competition is intended to celebrate social enterprise in Wisconsin, including organizations that take a business model approach to making a positive difference in our state by deliberately addressing social challenges affecting people and/or the planet.

Off-Campus Competitions


Our second annual Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aims to recognize new innovative solutions that leverage technology for social impact from student entrepreneurs around the world. The Challenge is open to students and recent alumni from any college or university.

$300,000 USD in prize money will help accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is pleased to invite clean energy startup companies to apply to the 2018 Industry Growth Forum. Each year, the Industry Growth Forum recruits the most innovative, emerging clean energy start-up companies from across the globe to apply to present.


At American universities across the nation, our best and brightest young minds are discovering innovative new solutions to our energy challenges. However, turning a game-changing technology into a commercial product requires a lot more than time in a lab. Aspiring student entrepreneurs often lack the business development skills, market exposure, and investor feedback they need to launch viable new businesses.

Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) business plan competitions provide aspiring student entrepreneurs with the mentorship, business development skills and training, and investor feedback they need to turn their clean energy ideas into businesses offering real-world solutions.

As one of eight regional partners for the Department of Energy’s Cleantech UP, Clean Energy Trust will showcase the most innovative and promising university-based cleantech companies in the Midwest, of which one will receive a $50,000 grant.


The Climate Action Challenge is a new global design competition calling on the creative community to submit bold, innovative solutions to combat the impacts of climate change.

What Design Can Do (WDCD) and its main partners, IKEA Foundation and Autodesk Foundation, invite designers, creative thinkers and imaginative trouble-shooters from all countries and disciplines to take part!

This challenge is for everyone who is concerned about the climate crisis and wants to make a contribution to a possible solution. As a participant you will be part of a global creative network and receive exposure for your ideas through the communication channels of all of our partners.


Shell’s GameChanger programme works with start-ups and businesses on unproven early-stage ideas with the potential to impact the future of energy. We provide companies with support, expertise and seed funding, while they maintain the independence to make their own decisions.

Founded in 1996, Shell GameChanger provides start-ups and businesses with a quick and cost-efficient way to show the technical and commercial viability of their technology idea or business plan.

Do you have an idea or technology that could transform the energy industry? We are seeking out original ideas, from the unproven to those ready to deploy. Your proposal should tackle a challenge relevant to our business. In turn, we can support you with funding, laboratory and research space, professional coaching, or access to markets and manufacturers.