This year’s competition focuses on promoting Proof of Concept Centers, which supports all aspects of the entrepreneurship process, from assisting with technology feasibility and business plan development, to providing access to early-stage capital and mentors to offer critical guidance to innovators. Centers allow emerging technologies to mature and demonstrate their market potential, making them more attractive to investors and helping entrepreneurs turn their idea or technology into a business.

“The i6 Green Challenge will help catalyze American ingenuity by leveraging the proven benefits that these centers offer to promote green growth, advance cluster development and strengthen the economic ecosystems of America’s regions,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez said. ‪

‪”The history of environmental protection has been a history of innovation, with new tools and technology that make everything we do cleaner and greener. American small business and startups have always been at the heart of our innovative capacity and continue to lead the way in America’s world-leading environmental technology industry,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.  “We’re proud to be working with our federal government partners to support new ideas and new products to grow our economy at the same time we clean up our environment.”‪ ‪

EPA joined the i6 Challenge this year to support the development of technology geared toward protecting human health and the environment. EPA funding will be targeted to technology that has a high priority in those areas such as improving energy efficiency in water treatment, renewable energy from wastewater sludge and animal waste, and recycling of e-waste.  Funding will also broadly support actions to commercialize environmental technologies.

The Federal Funding Opportunity notice and application information on i6 Green is available at The deadline to submit an application is May 26, 2011. Funding is contingent upon congressional approval of the administration’s 2011 budget.