Dutch CleanTech Challenge 2021

Sustainable development is a hot and challenging topic. The same goes for founding a successful business. Within 10 weeks of interactive seminars you will be able to combine the two.

Are you interested in starting your own sustainable business but don’t know where to start? The Dutch CleanTech Challenge is a competition for entrepreneurial students throughout the country.

Sign up to get to know more about the CleanTech Challenge!

How it works

1. Find

Find your own team with students from TU Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University and come up with a business idea.

2. Learn

Coaching from specialists in the field of sustainability.

3. Improve

Make sure that the business idea is not only sustainable but financially feasible.

4. Pitch

Pitch your idea during the Dutch and London finals.

At the cornerstone of innovation.

The CleanTech Challenge provides entrepreneurial students the chance to work out their innovative ideas from the concept stage to a final business plan, with the help of professionals throughout the process.

After the great success of the previous Dutch CleanTech Challenges, we are proud to announce the 2021 edition of the Dutch CTC. The Dutch CTC is hosted by Yes!Delft Students and the Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship and encourages student teams with interdisciplinary backgrounds to develop and pitch their concepts for a sustainable start-up. The CleanTech Challenge provides entrepreneurial students the chance to work out their sustainable, innovative ideas from the concept stage to a final business plan, with the help of professionals throughout the process.

If you are interested, join our network event on December 16th at Yes!Delft where you can meet other participants and make a team to join the competition. We invited a few special guests as well to give you some inspiration and more information about the CleanTech Challenge.



Timeline 2020-2021


Preliminary Kick-off CleanTECH Challenge 2021

During the kickoff, you will get some more information about what Clean Tech is and what to expect of the CleanTech Challenge.
There will also be a panel discussion afterwards with experts in the field and a previous winner. Of course, there is time to network with the other attendees with some drinks, to get ready to form your team.

Speeddating and Networking Drinks

At the speeddating sessions you will have the possibility to get to know possible team members with whom you will start the challenge! This event will be held at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and is aimed at all students who would like to participate in the challenge



DEadline team registrations phase 1

Make sure you’ve registered yourself and your team before the January 31st to make sure you can participate in the challenge! Sign up through the ‘Get started’ button above!


Together with your team you will first be working on the baseline of your idea out on paper. This will become the foundation of your work that is ultimately refined into your cleantech solution!


February & March


Build and refine your ideas and skills at the workshop sessions. Through these extensive workshops from leading experts in the field of cleantech and innovation you will take your idea to the next level!


Get ready to present your idea to the world, the best 8 teams will go on to the Dutch finals!



Dutch Finals

Here the teams that have advanced to the final stage will face off against each other to showcase the best student cleantech innovation of 2021! The winner receives funding for their start-up and the wildcard ticket to the global finals in London!


The winners of the Dutch finals will advance to as the Dutch delegation towards London to pitch their idea in the global competition!


       Previous winners


REAPlastic will purchase the collected plastic waste from existing plastic waste pickers’ organizations. This plastic waste will be processed into recycled granules by local disadvantaged groups. A part of the granules will be sold directly to other local plastic...


We want to reduce the suicides committed by farmers in India by making customized affordable products in order to tend their land and pay their bills. Aquadrive is a bike pump used to irrigate farmers fields. The product is the cheapest solution for backup power...

SecondLIFE Power Solutions

Aims to replace diesel generators with a cleaner alternative in the form of solar powered second-life automotive batteries. We have a proprietary technology to increase the life of second-life batteries. Our market study showed great potential, with the diesel...


Air-conditioning is currently not sustainable when look at the amount of energy that is costs. At places which have a supply of 80 degrees Celsius and a cooling demand of 16 degrees Celsius CLAIR can provide clean cool air! Clair is able to connect this system to...


Makes the ammonia production process clean and sustainable by using biomass/waste resources in place of fossil fuels. The business model revolves around collecting bio-waste from farmers, processing the waste, producing fertilizer out of it and supplying back the...


Project Dare proposes an innovative street-smart lighting system that saves energy and reduces CO2 emissions. “Dare” consists of two elements: “Drop” and “Share”. “Drop” focuses on the physical lighting fixture itself and “Share” compliments “Drop” by attempting to...

Play Around

Using mechanical and 3-D printing technology, we aim to close the material loop for children toys, providing customers with an experience of visualizing the creation of value from “waste”. Moreover, Play Around aims to introduce the concept of sustainability to...


The Kartent is the new, green festival tent. Made purely from cardboard the Kartent is recyclable, cheap and can be printed on by festival sponsors. With the dimensions 2.40m by 1.40m the Kartent is even big enough for two people.

Aftermovie from previous challenges



I am studying in Rotterdam/Leiden/Amsterdam/a non-technical university. Is this challenge also for me?
It sure is! At first glance this competition might be all about the innovation in ideas, which is not true. In England this competition was actually started by the London Business School and University College London, which might hint the importance of business.
Who can participate in the Challenge?
The Challenge is for university students only, and is targeted at those currently undertaking a postgraduate degree (Masters or Doctoral) in a business, science or engineering discipline at a recognized Higher Education Institution anywhere in the world. “Current” means students who were enrolled in a degree programme as of the start of the competition.

We do accept ideas that have been developed in collaboration with individuals who are not students (or no longer students). However, each team of 2-5 people that competes in the Challenge must entirely be comprised of students. We allow — and encourage — participants to seek external input into the development of their ideas, as the aim of the competition is to help students further develop and refine their idea

How is the Challenge different from other business case competitions?

Most business plan competitions focus on the output – often an elaborate document that does not focus on the core risks and challenges faced by a new venture. This competition is different.

To begin with, students have to base their ventures on real technology opportunities and market needs. In addition, students are required to put together ‘teams’ that are explicitly short-term – whose sole objective is to take the opportunity through to the next stage of investment by a process that we call ‘de-risking’. Third, students work with mentors to refine their ideas.

In short – the CleanTech Challenge aims to create sustainable ventures.

What qualifies as “CleanTech”?
We seek ideas that have the “potential to make a significant environmental impact.” If your idea falls in this definition, it can be considered “clean tech.” CleanTech includes (but is not limited to) the energy, waste treatment and agriculture sectors. A good characterization of the ideas we would expect to fall in the CleanTech category is provided here.
What awards and benefits will the winners receive?

The winner(s) of the Dutch CleanTech Challenge will receive price money including a ticket to the finals in London, offering an opportunity to win an additional cash award of £10,000. All winners from the first round will get:

    • Feedback on their ideas from world class clean technology venture capitalists
    • Certification of your participation in the CleanTech Challenge 2020
    • Introduction to a network of clean technology entrepreneurs, investors and potential partners
    • Mentoring by experienced professionals
    • Access to exclusive seminars

Note that this prize may be split among teams upon the recommendation of the Judges and at the discretion of the CTC Organizing Committee, for instance in the case of a tie.

How does the winner get selected?
For each round there will be a panel of judges comprised of various experts in the field with regards to innovation and cleantech.

Entering the challenge

Am I eligible for this challenge?

If you’re a student registered for degree programme in the Netherlands during the academic year 2020 / 2021, you are more than welcome to participate! We anticipate but do not require that students will be post-graduate (Masters or Doctoral).

How do I enter the challenge with my idea?


You’ll need a team in order to participate in the CleanTech Challenge 2021, this team can contain anywhere between 2-5 people as they’re eligible for the challenge. During the kickoff on the 7th of January the official registration will be opened up after which you can sign up with your team and idea! Afterwards you will receive an email containing a confirmation and the next steps in the process, depending on your type of registration.


Are there any limitations for submitting your idea?

We do accept ideas that have been developed in collaboration with individuals who are not students (or no longer students, but your team that will be competing in the Challenge must entirely be comprised of eligible students. We allow — and encourage — participants to seek external input into the development of their ideas, as the aim of the competition is to help students further develop and refine their idea!


I don’t have an idea, but I would like to participate. How can I join the competition?

We strongly encourage you to try to create your own ideas, even if they are rough sketch, and submit for Phase 1. Do some research and see what is being said about CleanTech – maybe you will find some inspiration.

Option 2 is to find a team that has already formed an idea over here. The kickoff and the speeddating session give you the opportunity to get know possible teammates and interesting ideas you could work with. You can always get in touch with us at info@cleantechchallenge.nl if you’re looking for additional teammates!

If you still don’t have a sketch of an idea by Phase 1, you can technically join in Phase 2 if you get recruited by someone who has made it through Phase 1. That would be the third option. Of course it’s more fun to try your hand at Phase 1, though, so we recommend you to do so.

We also recommend to like the Dutch Clean Tech Challenge Facebook page, so that we can keep you updated on the competition.

Unfortunately, I can't make it to the kickoff and/or speeddating session. Is it still possible to enroll in the CleanTech Challenge 2021?

Of course this is still possible through the signup link available after the kickoff! The signup process will be the same through the online form. If you’re having difficulties forming a team, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@cleantechchallenge.nl!

What's the deadline for registration in the challenge?
Make sure you’ve registered yourself and your team (if applicable) before January 24th!
How do I signup my team for the challenge?

Registration for the challenge opens soon! Please sign up for our newsletter and we will keep you updated on the coming events and when to registrate you and your team for the challenge!

Get in touch with the CTC team

Feel free to contact us by mailing us at info@cleantechchallenge.nl or through filling in the contact form below! 

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