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Challenge to Innovate Relaunches Clean Energy Initiative | Business

Professors and college students pursuing early-stage projects or technologies in the clean energy industry in Puerto Rico will have the opportunity to apply to participate in the Challenge to Innovate: Project Switch educational initiative, an endeavor of the parallel entrepreneurship center18; which is part of the entrepreneurship pillar of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRSTRT). This initiative is made possible by an EPIC grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Technology Transition.

“The Trust, in parallel18 and with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy and its Office of Technology Transfer, is making this initiative available to Puerto Rican professionals and students to support their entrepreneurial projects through the EPIC program, which aims to promote innovation in energy systems, increase productivity of local businesses and improve the commercial success of new energy companies. I am sure that Parale18’s education and resources will stimulate these unique projects that can ultimately develop into successful emerging companies,” emphasized Eng. Lucy Crespo, CEO of PRSTRT.

“As part of Parallel Initiative 18, Challenge to Innovate: Project Switch has a mission to prepare potential entrepreneurs with early-stage clean energy projects, services and technologies. We want to encourage them to develop and contribute to the country’s economy by transforming them into market projects. As part of our daily work, we are committed to promoting innovation in this emerging sector. At the same time, we want to rely on research and innovation projects that are created at our universities. We will provide participants with all the necessary support, from the idea to the prototype phase of solutions, said Dr. Hector Jirau, executive director of Paralle18.


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People interested in participating in the initiative must submit their applications online by May 19. Once the application period closes, selected participants will gain virtual access to industry mentors from a parallel 18 mentor network for 12 weeks. These mentoring and training sessions are designed to help participants develop their projects or technologies towards future commercialization.

Among the initiative’s requirements, applicants must have relevant educational or professional experience in clean energy-related fields such as engineering, environmental sciences, business or entrepreneurship. Additionally, they must demonstrate a strong commitment to their project and a passion for tackling challenges in the clean energy industry. They must also commit to participating in the full 12-week hybrid program, including attending weekly sessions and completing required materials.

Selected projects must focus on the development of products, services or technologies within the clean energy industry (for example: renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, etc.). Moreover, these projects must be at an early stage, whether it is the idea or prototype phase. Finally, participants must have a clearly defined problem and proposed solution in the clean energy sector.

Participants in this initiative will have the opportunity to receive rewards after completing the 12-week educational program. Additionally, the most innovative project will receive a direct pass to the selection committee of the Parale18 pre-acceleration program (pre18).

Clean energy refers to energy sources that have a lower impact on the environment and produce fewer gas emissions compared to traditional energy sources based on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. This type of energy includes various technologies and resources that are considered renewable, sustainable and more environmentally friendly.