Leaders of the Clean Tech Open (www.cleantechopen.com), the innovation catalyst that helps great ideas become viable clean tech businesses, today stood with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who called for governors from the Rocky Mountain region and across the country to embrace the New Energy Economy and support entrepreneurs participating in the $1 million Clean Tech Open business competition. The national business competition has helped more than 120 entrepreneurs launch companies and subsequently raise more than $125 million in external funding since its inception in 2006.“Today I stand with 64 ecopreneurs whose optimism and innovation represent the future of Colorado and this nation’s economy,” said Ritter. “I call on governors from around the Rocky Mountain region to support this event that will help drive the creation of green collar jobs across the region.”The Clean Tech Open is a partner in Governor Ritter’s 21st Century strategy to lead Colorado forward and establish the state as a national and international leader in the New Energy Economy, attracting thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new companies as Colorado leads the country toward a new energy future.The 2009 Clean Tech Open competition includes more than a $1 million in total prizes and a “100K Jobs Challenge” to create 100,000 clean tech jobs in America over the next five years.“We are honored to have the support of Governor Ritter as we drive the development of a clean, sustainable economy in the Rocky Mountain West,” said Richard Franklin, co-chair of The Clean Tech Open, Rocky Mountain chapter. “Many of the participants are first-time entrepreneurs who rely on the influence of local and state leaders to sharpen the focus of our region’s venture capitalists, academic institutions and laboratories on the economic opportunities clean technology offers.”A total of 64 early-stage startups in the Rocky Mountain region participated in this year’s competition, from a variety of clean tech categories: companies as varied as creating biofuels from waste, to transportation companies working to create more efficient engines.Twelve regional semifinalists will be selected later this month to compete for three regional prizes of cash and services worth $50,000. Similar regional competitions will also take place in California and the Pacific Northwest. The regional winners will then face off in a national competition this fall, vying for the Grand Prize of $250,000 in cash and services.In addition, semifinalists will be invited to participate in the Clean Tech Open Accelerator program, where they will be given hands-on training and experience in all aspects of starting and sustaining their businesses from national experts in venture capital, business, law, marketing and sustainability.