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RBC sponsors 2011 Imagine H20 Prize for Water Startups

Third Annual Business Plan Prize Focuses on Wastewater Opportunities

SAN FRANCISCO, September 1, 2011 - Imagine H2O, an organization that inspires and empowers people to turn water challenges into opportunities, today announced its 2011 Prize competition, with $200,000 in cash and in-kind services to be shared by water startups that have the most viable business plans for wastewater innovations.

The RBC Blue Water Project is a founding sponsor of this annual competition.

Imagine H2O's Prize, now in its third year, highlights startup businesses across the spectrum of wastewater solutions. The 2011 Prize expects to attract innovations related to water reuse, treatment, resource recovery, energy production, smart management, and other methods to generate revenue from wastewater opportunities.

The competition, which is open to entrepreneurs from around the world, is divided into two tracks: pre-revenue and early revenue companies. Finalists from both tracks will enter the Imagine H2O Accelerator Program - a recognized path-to-market platform featuring an advanced network of business service providers, industry mentors, investors, beta-customers and other strategic partners. Once again, Imagine H2O's Prize features a judging panel comprised of industry leaders, academic experts and seasoned investors.

"Wastewater is all about perception," said Imagine H2O's Prize Manager Kate Gasner, "and the industry's strategy is evolving from risk management to asset recovery. Our 2011 Prize is an initiative to position wastewater as a business opportunity while supporting a new wave of entrepreneurship within the sector."

The Wastewater Opportunity

The wastewater market is valued at $200 billion per year across the industrial, commercial and residential sectors worldwide. These sectors each produce a substantial amount of water that requires treatment before being reused or returned to nature. This treatment inevitably requires multiple steps, myriad chemical and biological treatments and a significant amount of energy.

"This is one of the fastest growing segments of the water market," said the Cleantech Group's Mia Javier. "It's unique because there is a willingness to pay amongst utilities, corporations and other sectors."

Key Dates

The competition is open to entries from September 1 to November 15. This fall, Imagine H2O will convene a series of nationwide Water Entrepreneurship Workshops and webcasts for international audiences. The workshops will be hosted by a number of Imagine H2O university and water business incubator partners, including the newest Imagine H2O partners - Fresno-based Claude Laval Water & Energy Technology (WET) Incubator and the Colorado Water Innovation Cluster in Ft. Collins. Workshop participants will explore the wastewater opportunity through an interactive lineup of discussions with leading market experts.

Imagine H2O invites all interested entrepreneurs and startups to attend one of the workshops or send an email to to indicate their interest in competing. The 2011 Prize's official terms are posted on Imagine H2O's website.

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