Entrepreneurs, start your engines. The Clean Tech Open, the Silicon Valley non-profit that has helped Aurora Biofuels, Lucid Design Systems and more than a hundred other startups raise nearly $125 million over the last three years, is going big time. The group’s annual competition for early-stage cleantech startups will for the first time this year extend beyond California to all U.S. residents and include a grand prize. In past years, teams vied for six awards of $50,000, plus $50,000 worth of office space and professional services like insurance and accounting. Contest organizers said this morning that 2009′s winnings for at least one startup will be even more extensive.
For those of you interested in competing, there are six categories: Air, Water and Waste; Energy Efficiency; Green Building; Renewable Energy; Smart Power; and Transportation. We’d love to share more details, but they won’t come out until the official Clean Tech Open launch taking place next month in San Jose. After that, startups have until May 30 to submit applications.