Our Program

What is LaunchR?

LaunchR is the Rutgers student-run clean technology startup accelerator funded by the United States Department of Energy. We are focused on connecting young, budding innovators in the green technology space through mentorship and workshops. At the end of the program, expert judges will reward the most promising company in the program with a $50,000 prize.

Scope of Business Plan

Business models should work to strengthen the United States’ energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. It should support this goal through (1) enhancing energy efficiency and productivity; and (2) bringing clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace. (eere.energy.gov)

Stage of Business and Ownership

To ensure a level playing field among business plan teams nationwide, all entrants must be early stage venture investments.

Teams must meet the following criteria:

  • Ventures participating in the competitions may not have equity capital totaling more than $200,000 prior to selection of regional winners.
  • Teams are not required to incorporate before entering the competition, but must be incorporated and have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) prior to receiving DOE awards or prizes.
  • All formal team members must demonstrate ownership by way of equity in the incorporated entity that emerges from the regional business plan competition.
  • Student members of the formal team must have combined minimum equity of 20% of the company.

Acceptable Technology Areas

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Vehicle Technologies
  • Federal Energy Management Program
  • Weatherization and Intergovernmental
  • Biomass Program
  • Geothermal Technologies
  • Fuel Cell Technologies
  • Solar Energy Technologies
  • Wind and Hydropower Technologies
  • Technologies that result in a net-energy reduction. Should reduce the environmental impacts of unconventional fossil fuel development, carbon sequestration and product delivery channels.


Applicants do not need to have a company to enter the competition. However team ventures must be incorporated and have an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Competing in Other Competitions

Contestants are encouraged to participate in other business plan competitions hosted by the DOE through the Cleantech UP network or on campus. This helps hone skills and gain valuable knowledge and connections.

Program Eligibility

  • 50% of any participating team’s “formal team members” must be actively enrolled in an accredited U.S. university or college (undergraduate or graduate level)
  • At least one member of the team must be a United States citizen
  • U.S. citizens attending universities abroad may participate in the competitions, given that the overall makeup of the formal team members meets all other criteria.
  • Students will be required to present business plans at the Cleantech UP Collegiate competitions and the national competitions. Non-student team members must only act as support to the team during presentations.