To enter your worksheets in the system, you’ll need to be logged in and access your dashboard. (note this will redirect you to your cleantechopen.org account. In order to enter the information you need to complete the worksheets follow these steps)
The Cleantech Open worksheets have been designed to help you with the process of “progressively de-risking” your business.
They provide the basis for your work through the Cleantech Open’s training and mentoring programs.
Remember, worksheets are not business plans. Be flexible, agile, ready to pivot. Keep your answers short, pithy and to the point. Use bullets rather than paragraphs. Read each question carefully, and specifically answer the question, and only the question. Avoid the temptation to add extra padding.
There’s a character limit on each answer. You also have the opportunity to upload attachments. Keep those short, too. There are numerous reasons to keep your answers short, starting with:
Steps to completion
Things to note as you complete your worksheets
*NOTE: to create a single pdf from an Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs:
* Use the customer relationships section to record the potential size of your initial market subsegment, the ‘tenth’ section of the Business Model Canvas.
Business Model Canvas Judging Criteria
Product/Market Fit Judging Criteria
Markets and Getting to Them – Judging Criteria
Product/Technology Validation – Judging Criteria
to create a single pdf (even if you have multiple tabs) in Excel:
Windows: Save As …, select ‘Format’ PDF, select ‘Options’, then select ‘Entire Workbook’ – this will create a pdf for all your tabs.
Mac: Print, then select ‘Entire Workbook’ and print to pdf.
Finances & Funding Judging Criteria
Legal Judging Criteria
Management Team Judging Criteria
(1) Your Products and Their Impacts
Describe and quantify the environmental and social impacts/benefits of your product/technology (e.g. what environmental problem your technology solves, energy and/or resource conservation, protection of human health, reduced emissions, economic parity or improved return, etc.) Compare the sustainability impacts of your technology to the status quo, competition and/or alternative product or process. Ideally, this is a summary of product sustainability-related points already made throughout your other worksheets.
If you aren’t yet in an operational phase of your business, please give a good faith intent and projection.
(2) Your Company and its Impacts on Operational Environmental Responsibility
Describe and quantify the environmental and social impacts/benefits of how your product/technology will bemanufactured (if relevant), provided and/or operated. In creating your approach and impacts, consider the following in product development and delivery. You should ignore questions relating to manufacture if you are not developing a physical product. If you are planning to license or outsource manufacture, relate your answers to your manufacturing partners:
Where you have not yet implemented such practices, please indicate your timeline or intent to do so in the future.
Here are some links that you can use:
Sustainability Judging Criteria
Download the executive summary template below. You should upload your completed version through the dashboard:
You may have your own preferred executive summary format – but for the purposes of the Cleantech Open, please note that you must complete and submit your executive summary in this format. As always, please work with your mentor if you have questions.
Investors tell us they love short, pithy summaries. This is the ideal document to provide a prospective investor or a business partner, or anyone who’s trying to gain it, a rapid understanding of your business.
YOU HAVE A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF SPACE TO WORK WITH here, and you need to keep your answers down to a single page. That’s not easy – as Mark Twain famously said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”; some sections are asking for a fair amount of information, and it’s much tougher to express these things in a few words.
Things to note as you complete your executive summary
in the case of the investor presentation, you don’t need to have it in final form by September 10th. You will allowed to continue revising and polishing this for each round of judging, noting that your regional judging chair (and the national judging chairs, assuming you make it to the finals) will want you to submit a version at least a few days before the next round of judging.
Please note that your judging chair will let you know a date and time for submission, and that you *must* upload by that date and time. Judging chairs are unlikely to make any exceptions for any reason. NOTE: the upload must be in the ppt format.
Recommended content for your slide deck is shown below under ‘Presentation Content – Overview‘.
To enter your worksheets in the system, you’ll need to be in your dashboard:
You will be using your Investor Presentation for several judging sessions.
Things to note as you complete your investor presentation
Your Regional Director or Regional Judging Chair will provide your team with details on the pitching events’ exact dates, times and locations.
Mock Judging is an opportunity for you to pitch a panel of judges and receive feedback. You will have 10 minutes to pitch. The goal is to match the format of Second Round Judging and you will be cut off at TEN (10) minutes, so practice your timing! OUR RECOMMENDATION IS THAT YOU KEEP YOUR PRESENTATION TO ABOUT EIGHT MINUTES to allow plenty of time for questions (at the discretion of the the judging chair, extra minutes are likely to be added to the time allocated to questions, which can often be useful – your aim is to convince the judges, and the more time you have to answer questions, the more likely you are to be able to have them feeling fully convinced and ‘comfortable’ with your offering) . Following your pitch, the empaneled judges will ask questions for 10 minutes then provide with feedback. Judges will also score your pitch using the judging criteria (pages 21-25). Although these scores will not count in determining the regional winners and runners up, the detailed feedback will help you fine-tune your pitch in advance of the regional finals. Where possible, regional judging chairs will record a video of your Mock Pitch and the judges’ feedback, which will be privately available for your team to review. YOU ARE ALSO ENCOURAGED TO BRING A VIDEO CAMERA WITH YOU as long as you can set it up quickly – you will waste valuable minutes of your presentation time if you do no start on time.
Second Round Judging is where all regional finalists are selected. Months of work lead up to your 10-minute presentation. Your pitch will be followed by questions from the judges. The competition is often won or lost during the Q&A period, so make sure your answers are crisp and concise to make room for as many questions as possible – this is why a shorter presentation is so important; judges who didn’t feel they had enough time to ‘get comfortable’ with your plans or your technology are unlikely to award you top honors.
Regional Pitching Logistics
Your pitch slide deck. Since timing is always very tight during pitch days, you may not pitch using your personal laptop. Teams must upload their slide presentations to the Web site in PowerPoint or PDF format at least 48 hours before the presentation date. These files will be loaded onto a laptop in the judging room. No substitutions or presentation changes will be allowed. Save some trees: Please do not bring hard copies of your slides to distribute to the judges. Teams are strongly encouraged to bring a back-up copy of the presentation on CD or USB drive.
The room setup will feature tables, chairs, laptop, projector and screen. There will generally be no microphone or podium. Typically, the laptop you’ll use to present will be at one end of a boardroom-style table at the same end of the room at the projection screen.
You should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early and be prepared to stay 30 minutes after your scheduled time, in case the schedule needs to be re-arranged.
There is no dress code for pitching. However, teams are encouraged to dress in sharp business casual or business formal attire. Bottom line on dressing for pitching: wear something that makes you feel successful and comfortable.
Presentation Content – Overview
There is no limit to the number of slides in your deck, but the overall file size must be under 10MB to ensure that it can be easily uploaded (and if necessary, emailed). Acceptable file types are PowerPoint (.ppt or .pptx) and Adobe PDF (.pdf). Files will be renamed to match the Cleantech Open’s internal system, so the file name does not matter.
Many experts argue convincingly that a ten-minute pitch should have no more than ten slides of content; in other words, a 30-slide deck is not recommended. Keep your deck concise and be sure to include a few backup slides in an appendix (after your final slide, but in the same file) to support your answers to questions judges may ask.
Presentation Content – Overview
Pitching investors is an art. You, your team and your mentors will work hard to determine how to best tell your company’s unique story.
Some recommended topics to include in your deck follow. Note: the below is not a mandatory table-of-contents for your pitch – to repeat, these are suggestions. However, you would do well to cover the following in no more than 10 slides:
Presentation Content – Detail
Note: the below is not a mandatory content for your pitch. Treat the below as “food for thought” as you develop your slide deck.
Keys to Have Throughout
Frequently-Asked Questions on Worksheets
I can’t upload my Excel file for financials! What’s wrong?
You need to convert your excel file (and any other file you upload) to a PDF before uploading. It’s a simple process – instructions can be found here: http://office.microsoft.
NOTE: to create a single pdf from an Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs:
Windows: Save As …, then select ‘Options’, then select ‘Entire Workbook’
Mac: Print, then select ‘Entire Workbook’ and print to pdf
Am I required to use the Executive Summary template provided by Cleantech Open? We already have an executive summary.
Yes, please. Not all executive summaries were created equal. This one is an important summary that relates to the Cleantech Open process, and it’s one we believe is much better, sharper than the common-or-garden variety.
I can’t seem to upload more than one supplemental document per worksheet… it keeps overriding my existing uploads. Why?
Every upload is an update: you can keep uploading revisions right up to the deadline – each will overwrite the earlier version. That means you are limited to one upload per worksheet. If you have multiple graphics you need to combine the PDFs before uploading. But please remember – keep things concise and to the point! Our judges aren’t going to wade through 50 pages of uploads… they’ll likely take this to mean you can’t prioritize the most important information.
There’s not enough room for everything I want to say!
Remember: your worksheets are there as a precise, step-by-step guide to help you build a successful business. Be concise and to-the-point. Your goal is to be agile, to pivot when needed. Only established companies who’ve throughly figured out their business models need ‘business plans’.
How do I tell if I’m over the character limit for a worksheet question?
The maximum allowable characters are shown next to each question on each worksheet in this form: (<x characters) where “x” is the number of characters for this question. The number of characters you have remaining are shown at the bottom right of the text box in this form: “Remaining: y” where “y” is the number of characters you have left. If ‘Remaining’ shows a negative number, you have exceeded the maximum and you should trim; any extra text beyond the maximum will not make it into your submission.
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