Cleantech Open Gets Boost From Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo provides regional grants to Cleantech Open in California, Rocky Mountain, Northwest, North Central and Northeast regions.

DENVER - June 28, 2010

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) today announced a multi-regional investment of more than $100,000 in cash and in kind support to the Cleantech Open, the world’s largest business plan competition that encourages the development of clean technology companies and innovation. The investment marks the first multi-regional sponsorship in the history of the competition.

“Our employees have enthusiastically volunteered for this inspiring business plan competition serving as subject matter experts, mentors, speakers and judges, and we are proud to further support the organization with multi-regional grants,” said Mary Wenzel, director of Environmental Affairs, Wells Fargo. “Investing in the Cleantech Open is one of the many ways we address needs and create opportunities related to helping our country transition to cleaner technology and sources of energy.”

Last year, Wells Fargo introduced its National Cleantech group – a division of the company’s commercial banking group dedicated to supporting clean technology companies. The group provides customized commercial banking products and services to businesses that manufacture, market or develop clean technologies such as solar and wind power, energy and water efficiency, electric and low-emission vehicles, and smart grid applications.

“Supporting clean technology is a priority for Wells Fargo, because we believe the sector will continue to grow and play a critical role in a greener economy,” said Puon Penn, head of Wells Fargo’s National Cleantech Group. “We’re excited to be a part of the Cleantech Open and join in its efforts to encourage the development of clean technology.”

The Cleantech Open has helped connect entrepreneurs with the expertise, talent, and funding needed to create successful, sustainable businesses. Participants in the program benefit from a blend of mentoring, business-school-class training, and an opportunity to win $30,000 in funding and in-kind donations on a regional level, as well as compete for a national grand prize—a “startup in a box” consisting of cash and services valued up to $250,000.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Wells Fargo, a leading corporate citizen that is clearly walking the walk when it comes to environmental initiatives,” said Richard Franklin, chair of the Cleantech Open, Rocky Mountain chapter, based in Denver. “As an investor in cleantech with more than $6 billion in loans and investments to businesses focused on environmentally beneficial activities, Wells Fargo’s support of the Cleantech Open will help us reach our goals.”

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs and the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com) across North America and internationally. The Company promotes economic growth and self-sufficiency, education, social services, the arts and the environment in thousands of communities across North America. In 2009, the Company gave $202 million in grants to 18,000 nonprofits, and team members contributed more than 1.2 million volunteer hours around the country. For more about Wells Fargo's achievements in Social Responsibility: www.wellsfargo.com/about/csr.

It is ranked #1 among banks and insurance companies – and No. 13 overall – in Newsweek magazine’s inaugural “Green Rankings” of the country’s 500-largest companies.

About The Cleantech Open
The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech business competition. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. The program provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships to turn ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business competition and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has helped hundreds of clean technology startups bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helping alumni contestants raise over $200m and creating an estimated 1,200 green collar jobs. Fueled by a network of more than 750 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit www.cleantechopen.com, and follow @cleantechopen on Twitter.