Frequently Asked Questions

Is Megawatt Ventures only for student teams?

All applicant teams must be “student-led”, meaning the efforts and execution of the business must be from students.

At least 50% of the team’s “formal team members” must be actively enrolled in an accredited U.S. university or college. “Formal team members” are defined as those individuals eligible to directly receive prize money or services awarded. Student members of the formal team must have combined minimum equity of 20% of the company.

Formal team members may be citizens of foreign countries; However at least one U.S. citizen must be a formal team member.

U.S. citizens attending universities abroad may participate in the MegaWatt Ventures competition, given that the overall makeup of the formal team members meet all other criteria.

When exactly do I need to apply?

Applications for the 2017 competition are open until March 10th, 2017 at 5:00 PM EST. Apply online here!

We highly recommend that you start your application as soon as possible to make sure you have a well thought out idea, executive summary and team.  Keep in mind that after you “submit” your application on Gust, you can login and edit it at any time before the final deadline.  The version of your application saved at that time will be the version that is judged.

What do I need to apply?

The Megawatt Ventures competition is designed for student-led companies.  You need to form a team that is willing to work as a company with the goal of commercializing innovative energy related technology.

Anticipated application requirements include:

What should eligible students be studying and from what schools?

Typical student applicants are upperclassmen undergraduates or graduate students seeking a degree in the following areas: Engineering, Science, Technology, Architecture, Business, or Public Policy/Public Affairs. Students must be interested in a career in clean technology and/or conducting research in this space. Students should be from accredited four – eight year university programs.

Do I need to legally form a company before I apply?

No, you do not need to legally form a company before applications are due.  If you are selected as one of the ten finalists, however, you will need to legally form a company before you can accept the award.

How many people can I have on my team?

You need at least two people on your team.  Your team can be as large as needed.  A team of people with diverse backgrounds related to the technology and business experience can very helpful.

Does my company need to be located in eligible Southeastern US states?

Applicant companies are not required to be located in the Southeastern U.S., but applicants from this region are strongly encouraged to apply and will benefit most from the resources and network-building provided by the MegaWatt Ventures competition.

Is the judging based on the prototype or strength of the business?

Both.  Judging will be based on the technical strength, innovation and commercialization opportunity of your proposed prototype as well as the ability of the company to identify target markets and follow through with commercialization.

Is Megawatt Ventures a Venture Capital firm?

Megawatt Ventures is the name of a U.S. Department of Energy funded competition to promote the commercialization of energy related technologies.  Megawatt Ventures is not a business or Venture Capital firm.

Does the program take any equity in my company?

No, if your company is a finalist in MegaWatt Ventures and receives the $50,000, the program does not own any stake in your company nor any intellectual property generated from its duration.

What help can I receive during the application process?

You can contact Jack Henkel from the Megawatt Ventures team at Jack@ucf.edu with any questions during your application process.  If you need help finding additional team members with specific expertise, finding information on potential markets for your innovations or anything else on the application feel free to contact us and we will help you with any information we can.

What do finalists receive?

From the applications submitted ten teams will be chosen as finalists.  Each of these ten teams will participate in an intensive training program designed for cleantech entrepreneurs.  There will be a technical and business mentor network available for guidance.

The ten finalists will participate in a technical showcase for their prototype and present their business pitch.  The best, as decided by the judging panel, will receive $50,000 for their company. *The top three finalists will be invited to compete at the U.S. Department of Energy’s national Cleantech UP competition for an additional $50,000.

Do you have a question that we didn’t answer?  Feel free to email Jack Henkel at Jack@ucf.edu or call 407-8282-0663 for more information.

Good luck with your applications!