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Green Machine: Saint-Gobain's NOVA Innovation Competition Taps North American Startups

Jun 15, 2012

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, has partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council – Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) to co-present the company’s NOVA Innovation Competition. The competition rewards startup greentech and cleantech businesses around the world offering innovations in sustainable products, advanced materials, high-efficiency building solutions, clean technology and renewable energy sources with cash prizes and access to partnership opportunities with Saint-Gobain.

The deadline to submit an entry is June 30; finalists will win the chance to pitch their innovative business to the senior leadership team of Saint-Gobain in a live speed-dating format at the 2012 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in San Francisco on November 15.

NOVA External Venturing, the international group of Saint-Gobain analysts that identifies and evaluates start-up companies for partnerships with Saint-Gobain businesses, believes there is a flourishing entrepreneurial community in the U.S. and Canada, and anticipates exceptional entries to the 2012 NOVA Innovation Competition as it is hosted for the first time in North America.

John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Corporation and member of the NOVA board said, “We have a responsibility to nurture start-up companies that otherwise would not have had the access to bring their innovation, be it sustainable building solutions or renewable energy technologies, to the commercial market.”

At Greenbuild, NOVA External Venturing will award a first place winner with $50,000 and 2nd and 3rd place winners with $25,000 and $10,000 respectively. Winners will also work with NOVA to explore a variety of working partnerships with the company such as licensing, manufacturing or commercial agreements, equity investment or joint ventures.

Rakesh Kapoor, Director, Saint-Gobain Northboro R&D Center and NOVA External Venturing, says companies that are poised for growth but lack the capacity to commercialize will gain the most advantages from the NOVA Innovation Competition.

“Since 2006, we’ve invested in dozens of promising start-ups in the United States and Europe, with a select few rising to the top through the Innovation Competition,” said Kapoor. He adds that winning companies thrive with access to the global market through Saint-Gobain’s established distribution channels and, most importantly, through the support, resources and expertise that comes from the company’s nearly 350-year history of building materials innovation.

The 2012 NOVA Innovation Competition entrants will join the extensive list of progressive companies that NOVA External Venturing has evaluated since 2006, and winners will become part of an elite group of more than 40 existing partnerships.

Earlier this spring at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, Saint-Gobain announced that it would co-present the Innovation Competition with USGBC-NCC. Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group, creators of the i3 platform and producers of Cleantech Forum said the Innovation Competition would provide emerging companies the power of a global partnership to unlock new markets, elevate their brand, and validate their technology.  

Sheeraz also said, “This landmark competition goes far beyond providing funding and instead helps young companies establish themselves in the global marketplace to prove their business models and cultivate their customer base.”

To learn more about the NOVA Innovation Competition, recommend a start-up or apply using the online form, please visit  before June 30, 2012.

The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.

Theo works for Saint-Gobain's NOVA External Venturing team, which aims to develop partnerships between young companies in the areas of Advanced Materials, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat and Distribution Processes and Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest Building Materials company (with $50...


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