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The 2011 Al Gore Sustainable Technology Venture Competition

Event Date: September 22-25, 2011
Venue: IIT Madras, Chennai, India
Organizers: Cicero

About the Competition:

IIT Madras is to be the Education Partner of Asia’s first and most prestigious sustainable/cleantech venture – The 2011 Al Gore Sustainable Technology Venture Competition™. Collaborators this year are the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CEI) at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, The Indus Entrepreneurs, (TiE) – the world’s largest network of entrepreneurs, the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability at IIT Madras.

The competition was founded in February 2007 by Prof. Oopali Operajita, an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University, in honor of Nobel Laureate Al Gore. Ms. Operajita is the CEO of Cicero, a trans-national advisory, which organizes the competition. The competition is now in its fourth year.

Held in apex educational institutions across India, it is Asia’s first and most prestigious sustainable/clean technology business plan competition. The competition draws teams of students from India’s leading institutions, including its fabled Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

The motivation behind creating the competition was to stimulate the thinking of an entire generation of India’s remarkable students in engineering, science, technology, and management into thinking sustainability, with the hope was that these students would come together to create sustainable technology solutions “for the future of the imperiled planet”.

Who Can Participate?

Any post graduate student or undergraduate student from India’s academic institutions can participate, as long as the team of 3-6 members that he constitutes with other students includes at least one MBA candidate.

Rules for the 2011 Competition:

1. Teams of 3-6 students – post graduate students or undergraduate students – must include at least one MBA candidate. Engineering/Science/Technology and MBA students are to work together as a team. A team may consist of participants from 2 institutions, not more.

2. Each team must officially represent their institution and be mentored by a professor.

3. Each institution may submit a maximum of 4 proposals in the first round of the competition.

4. Each institution may send a maximum of 2 teams to the final competition at IIT Madras.

5. The business plans must represent an actual prospective business. This is not simply an academic exercise.

6. The deadline for electronic submissions is 11:59 PM IST on August 10. 2011.

7. Proposals must be sent to BOTH of the following e-mail ids: and

8. Business plans must be submitted in the following format, double-spaced, in Arial 12-point font:

  • Detailed Business Plan (12-18 pages)
  • Financial Summaries – cash flow, profit/loss, balance sheets, funding request/ROI/exit (3-5 pages)
  • Sustainability Benefits quantified, with discussion of metrics (3-5 pages)
  • Supplemental Data to explain an unusual market or technology (0-3 pages)
  • Contestants must submit a 3-page Synopsis of the Business Plan as well.

9. The business plan must meet traditional return-on-investment and profitability standards, while demonstrating eco-friendliness and eco-sensitivity by increasing sustainability.

10. Each business plan will be evaluated for its sustainability benefits. The business plan must detail the sustainability benefits resulting from the project, such as climate change mitigation, energy efficiency, beneficial materials, (toxicity, efficiency, renewables, and so on), cleantech, and water security, to name just a few. You will have to discuss the metrics by which these benefits are quantified.

11. Judges will include venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs.

Defining Sustainable Technology:

Sustainable Technology is defined for this competition as products or services that use new or innovative technologies, or processes, to enhance the usability and effectiveness of renewable resources, leading to lower costs and waste, and measurably reduce adverse environmental impacts in product life cycles, which might constrain future generations. Succinctly, these are projects that will increase sustainability on the planet.

Applications of sustainable technology are possible in many industry sectors: energy, transportation, engineered materials and chemicals, climate change, and the transformation of environmental toxics.


Winners, Runners Up and Finalists will receive cash prizes of Rs. 2,00,000 (INR Two Lakhs).

Important Dates:

  • Plans Being Accepted: July 30 – August 10, 2011
  • Deadline for Electronic Submission of Plans: August 10, 2011 (11:59 PM)
  • Declaration of Finalists: August 20, 2011
  • Mentoring Period: August 21 – September 20, 2011
  • Intensive Mentoring at IIT Madras: September 22 – 23, 2011
  • Live Presentations to the IIT Madras Judges’ Panel: September 24, 2011
  • Awards Ceremony at IIT Madras: September 25, 2011

Logo CiceroAbout the Organizers:

Cicero, a trans national advisory, is a sole proprietary, founded in 2004 by Oopali Operajita, an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University and one of India’s senior political and international affairs advisers, to foster understanding and partnerships between nations and cultures, and top international political and business leaders, with special focus on education, the environment, sustainable development and climate change, and women’s empowerment. For more information, visit

Contact Details:

For further enquiries, please send e-mail to:

For further details of the competition, visit:

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