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College of Business student teams compete in the Jackson-Rainey Business Plan competition

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Six student teams competed in the annual Jackson-Rainey Business Plan competition based on the work they completed in the COB 300 course.

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The 20 Best Business Plan Competitions to Get Funding

business plan competition

Business plan competitions can provide valuable feedback on your business idea or startup business plan template , in addition to providing an opportunity for funding for your business. This article will discuss what business planning competitions are, how to find them, and list the 20 most important business planning competitions.

On This Page:

What is a Business Plan Competition?

How do i find business plan competitions, 20 popular business plan competitions, tips for winning business plan competitions, other helpful business plan articles & templates.

A business plan competition is a contest between startup, early-stage, and/or growing businesses. The goal of the business plan competition is for participants to develop and submit an original idea or complete their existing business plan based on specific guidelines provided by the organization running the contest.

Companies are judged according to set criteria including creativity, feasibility, execution, and the quality of your business plan.

A quick Google search will lead you to several websites that list business planning competitions. 

Each site has a different way of organizing the business planning competitions it lists, so you’ll need to spend some time looking through each website to find opportunities that are relevant for your type of business or industry.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

Below we’ve highlighted 20 of these popular competitions, the requirements and how to find additional information. The following list is not exhaustive; however, these popular competitions are great places to start if you’re looking for a business competition.

Rice Business Plan Competition

The Rice University Business Plan Competition is designed to help collegiate entrepreneurs by offering a real-world platform on which to present their businesses to investors, receive coaching, network with the entrepreneurial ecosystem, fine-tune their entrepreneurship plan, and learn what it takes to launch a successful business.

Who is Eligible?

Initial eligibility requirements include teams and/or entrepreneurs that:

  • are student-driven, student-created and/or student-managed
  • include at least two current student founders or management team members, and at least one is a current graduate degree-seeking student
  • are from a college or university anywhere in the world
  • have not raised more than $250,000 in equity capital
  • have not generated revenue of more than $100,000 in any 12-month period
  • are seeking funding or capital
  • have a potentially viable investment opportunity

You can find additional  eligibility information on their website.

Where is the Competition Held?

The Rice Business Plan Competition is hosted in Houston, TX at Rice University, the Jones Graduate School of Business.

What Can You Win?

In 2021, $1.6 Million in investment, cash prizes, and in-kind prizes was awarded to the teams competing.

This two-part milestone grant funding program and pitch competition is designed to assist students with measurable goals in launching their enterprises.

Teams must be made up of at least one student from an institution of higher education in Utah and fulfill all of the following requirements:

  • The founding student must be registered for a minimum of nine (9) credit hours during the semester they are participating. The credit hours must be taken as a matriculated, admitted, and degree-seeking student.
  • A representative from your team must engage in each stage of Get Seeded (application process, pre-pitch, and final pitch)
  • There are no restrictions regarding other team members; however, we suggest building a balanced team with a strong combination of finance, marketing, engineering, and technology skills.
  • The funds awarded must be used to advance the idea.

The business plan competition will be hosted in Salt Lake City, UT at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah.

There are two grants opportunities:

  • Microgrant up to $500
  • Seed Grant for $501 – $1,500

Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is a worldwide business plan competition for students from all majors. The GSEA aims to empower talented young people from around the world, inspire them to create and shape business ventures, encourage entrepreneurship in higher education, and support the next generation of global leaders.

  • You must be enrolled for the current academic year in a university/college as an undergraduate or graduate student at the time of application. Full-time enrollment is not required; part-time enrollment is acceptable.
  • You must be the owner, founder, or controlling shareholder of your student business. Each company can be represented by only one owner/co-founder – studentpreneur.
  • Your student business must have been in operation for at least six consecutive months prior to the application.
  • Your business must have generated US $500 or received US $1000 in investments at the time of application.
  • You should not have been one of the final round competitors from any previous year’s competition.
  • The age cap for participation is 30 years of age.

You can find additional   eligibility information on their website.

Regional competitions are held in various locations worldwide over several months throughout the school year. The top four teams then compete for cash prizes during finals week at the Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York City.

At the Global Finals, students compete for a total prize package of $50,000 in cash and first place receives $25,000. All travel and lodging expenses are also covered. Second place gets US $10,000, while third place earns US $5,000. Additional prizes are handed out at the Global Finals for Social Impact, Innovation, and Lessons from the Edge.

Finish Your Business Plan in 1 Day!

The collegiate entrepreneurs organization business plan competition.

The Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Business Plan Competition (COEBPC) exists to help early-stage entrepreneurs develop their business skills, build entrepreneurial networks, and learn more about how they can transform ideas into reality. It also offers cash prizes to reward entrepreneurship, provide an opportunity for recognition of top student entrepreneurs around the world, and provide unique opportunities for networking.

To compete, you must:

  • Be a currently enrolled student at an accredited institution
  • Have a viable business concept or be the creator of an existing business that generates revenue.

If you are among the top three finalists of the business plan competition and successfully receive prize money, you will be required to submit a class schedule under your name for the current academic semester. Failure to do so will result in the forfeit of the prize money.

All competitions are held online. The finalist will receive a trip to the International Career Development Conference, where they have an opportunity to win additional prizes from CEO’s sponsors.

  • First Place – $7,000
  • Second Place – $5,000
  • Third Place – $3,000
  • People’s Choice Award – Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year – $600

MIT 100k Business Plan Competition and Expo

The MIT 100K was created in 2010 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to foster entrepreneurship and innovation on campus and around the world. Consists of three distinct and increasingly intensive competitions throughout the school year: PITCH, ACCELERATE, and LAUNCH. 

  • Submissions may be entered by individuals or teams.
  • Each team may enter one idea.
  • Each team must have at least one currently registered MIT student; if you are submitting as an individual, you must be a currently registered MIT student.
  • Entries must be the original work of entrants.
  • Teams must disclose any funding already received at the time of registration.

Hosted in Cambridge, MA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology beginning in October through May of each academic year.

Top finalists will have a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at a live event for the chance to win the $5,000 Grand Prize or the $2,000 Audience Choice Award.

20 Finalists are paired with industry-specific business professionals for mentorship and business planning and a $1,000 budget for marketing and/or business development expenses.

The 10 Top Finalists participate in the Showcase and compete for the $10,000 Audience Choice Award while the 3 Top Finalists automatically advance to LAUNCH semi-finals.

The grand prize winner receives a cash prize of $100,000 and the runner-up receives $25,000.

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Business Plan Competition

The FAU business plan competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs. The competition covers topics in the areas of information technology, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, operations management, etc.

All undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate.

The business plan competition will be held at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

  • First prize: $5,000 cash
  • Second prize: $500 cash

Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Business Plan Competition

The Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Business Plan Competition is designed to offer an opportunity to develop your business plan with the guidance of industry experts. It provides the opportunity for you to compete against fellow entrepreneurs and explore big ideas.

  • Participants must be the legal age to enter into contracts in the country of residence.
  • Participants may not be employed by an organization other than their own company or business that they are launching for this competition.
  • The plan should be for a new business, not an acquisition of another company.

The Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Business Plan Competition is held in the USA.

There is a cash prize for first, second, and third place. There is also a potential for a business incubator opportunity, which would provide facilities and assistance to the winners of the competition.

Washington State University Business Plan Competition

The Washington State University Business Plan Competition has been serving students since 1979. The competition is a great opportunity for someone who is looking to get their business off the ground by gaining invaluable knowledge of running a successful business. It offers a wide range of topics and competition styles.

  • Any college undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree-seeking student at Washington State University
  • The company must be an early-stage venture with less than $250,000 in annual gross sales revenue.

The Washington State University Business Plan Competition is held in the Associated Students Inc. Building on the Washington State University campus which is located in Pullman, Washington.

There are a wide variety of prizes that could be won at the Washington State University Business Plan Competition. This is because the business plan competition has been serving students for over 30 years and as such, they have offered more than one type of competition. The common prize though is $1,000 which is awarded to the winner of each class. There are also awards for those who come in second place, third place, etc.

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

The Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition is one of the most well-known competitions in the country. They have partnered with many prestigious institutions to provide funding, mentorship, and expertise for the competition.

Education ventures with innovative solutions to educational inequity from around the world are encouraged to apply, especially those ventures founded by and serving individuals from marginalized and historically underrepresented communities.

We encourage applicants working in every conceivable educational setting–from early childhood through corporate and adult training. We also welcome both nonprofit and for-profit submissions.

The competition is held at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

All finalists receive $1,000 in cash and $5,000 in Amazon Web Services promotional credits.

Next Founders Business Plan Competition

Next Founders is a competition geared towards innovative startups with a social impact, looking to transform society by addressing key global human needs. The competition inspires and identifies energetic, optimistic entrepreneurs who are committed to achieving their vision.

Next Founders is for Canadian business owners of scalable, high-growth ventures.

Next Founders is held at the University of Toronto.

You could win up to $25,000 CAD in cash funding for your new business.

Hatch Pitch Competition

The Hatch Pitch competition is one of the most prestigious business competitions in the US. The winners of the Hatch Pitch Competition are given access to mentorship courses, discounted office space with all amenities included, incubators for startups, tailored education programs, financial counseling & more.

The competition is for companies with a business idea.

  • The company’s product/service must have launched within the past 2 years, or be launched within 6 months after the Hatch Pitch event.
  • Founders must retain some portion of ownership in the company.
  • Received less than $5 million in funding from 3rd party investors.
  • The presenter must actively participate in Hatch Pitch coaching.

The Hatch Pitch Competition is located at the Entrepreneur Space in Dallas.

The grand prize for this business plan competition is access to resources like incubators and mentorships that could prove invaluable in bringing your startup company to the next level.

TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield

The Startup Battlefield is a business plan competition that is sponsored by TechCrunch.  It awards the winner $50,000. There are two different rounds to this competition:

  • First Round – 15 companies from all of the applicants that submitted their business plans for this round.
  • Second Round – Two finalist companies compete against each other at TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s main stage.

At the time of the application process, companies must have a functional prototype to demo to the selection committee. In selecting final contestants, we will give preference to companies that launch some part of their product or business for the first time to the public and press through our competition. Companies that are in closed beta, private beta, limited release or generally have been flying under the radar are eligible. Hardware companies can have completed crowdfunding but those funds should have been directed to an earlier product prototype. Existing companies launching new feature sets do not qualify.

TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield is held at different locations.

The Startup Battlefield rewards the winner with $50,000. In addition, the two runner-ups get a prize of $5,000 each.

New Venture Challenge

New Venture Challenge is a competition hosted by the University of Chicago. There are 3 main categories that will be judged:

  • Innovative Concept – Arguably the most important category, this focuses on uniqueness, originality, and suitability.
  • Market Fit/Business Model – Are you solving an actual problem for your target market? Does your project have the potential for profit?
  • Presentation – Did you make a compelling, impactful presentation? Did you clearly communicate your goals and vision to potential investors?

You can find  eligibility information on their website.

The New Venture Challenge competition is held in Chicago, IL.

Finalists are awarded:

  • First Place: $50,000 equity investment and access to industry mentors and other resources.
  • Second place: $25,000 equity investment and access to industry mentors and other resources.
  • Third place: $15,000 equity investment and access to industry mentors and other resources.

New Venture Championship

The New Venture Championship is hosted by the University of Oregon and has been since 1987. The championship brings new ventures and innovative business ideas to life and the competition offers plan writing as a service to those who need it.

The University of Oregon New Venture Championship is open to university student teams with 2-5 members that have at least one graduate student involved with their venture. Students should be enrolled in a degree program or have finished their studies in the current academic year.

The New Venture Championship hosted by the University of Oregon is held in Eugene, Oregon.

Every business plan has a chance of winning a cash prize from $3,000 to $25,000 and additional benefits like plan coaching and office space rental.

Climatech & Energy Prize @ MIT

The Climatech & Energy Prize @ MIT is a competition that focuses on companies that are involved in the area of energy, environment, and climate change.

  • Participants must be a team of two or more people.
  • At least 50% of formal team members identified in the competition submission documentation must be enrolled as half-time or full-time college or university students.

The Climatech & Energy Prize @ MIT is held in Cambridge, MA.

The grand prize winner receives $100,000 and other winners may receive other monetary prizes.

Baylor Business New Venture Competition

This competition has been offered by Baylor for the last 20 years. It is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs refine business ideas, and also gain valuable insights from judges and other entrepreneurs.

Must be a current undergraduate student at Baylor University or McLennan Community College.

The Baylor Business New Venture competition will be held at the Baylor University, Waco, TX.

The grand prize winner will receive $6,000. There are also other prizes given out to the other finalists in each category which are worth $1,500 – $2,000.

13th IOT/WT Innovation World Cup

The 13th IOT/WT Innovation World Cup was organized by the 13th IOT/WT Innovation World Cup Association. It was organized to provide a platform for innovators from all over the world to showcase their innovative ideas and projects. The competition aimed at drawing the attention of investors, venture capitalists, and potential business partners to meet with representatives from different companies and organizations in order to foster innovation.

The revolutionary Internet of Things and Wearable Technologies solutions from developers, innovative startups, scale-ups, SMEs, and researchers across the world are invited to participate. Eight different categories are available: Industrial, City, Home, Agriculture, Sports, Lifestyle, and Transport.

Only those submissions that have a functional prototype/proof of concept will advance in the competition, mere ideas will not be considered. 

The competition is held in Cleveland, Ohio also an important center for innovation and cutting-edge technology.

Win prizes worth over $500,000, connect with leading tech companies, speed up your development with advice from tech experts, join international conferences as a speaker or exhibitor, and become part of the worldwide IoT/WT Innovation World Cup® network. 

The U.Pitch is a competition that gives you a chance to share your idea and for the community of budding entrepreneurs, startup founders, CEOs, and venture capitalists to invest in your enterprise. It also provides mentoring by experts in the field.

  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program
  • Applicants may compete with either an idea OR business currently in operation
  • Applicants must be 30 years of age or under

The U.Pitch is held in San Francisco, California.

Enter to win a part of the $10,000 prize pool.

At the core of CodeLaunch is an annual seed accelerator competition between individuals and groups who have software technology startup ideas.

If your startup has raised money, your product is stable, you have customers, and revenue, you are probably not a fit for CodeLaunch.

CodeLaunch is based in St. Louis, Missouri. 

The “winner” may be eligible for more seed capital and business services from some additional vendors.

New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition

The New York StartUP! is a competition sponsored by the New York Public Library to help entrepreneurs from around the world to develop their business ideas.

  • You must live in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island
  • Your business must be in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island
  • All companies must have a big idea or business model in the startup phase and have earned less than $10,000

The New York StartUP! competition is held in New York, NY.

Two winners are chosen: 

  •  Grand Prize – $15,000  
  •  Runner-up – $7,500  

tips for success

First, determine if the competition is worth your time and money to participate.

  • What is the prize money?
  • Who will be on the judging panel?
  • Will there be any costs associated with entering and/or presenting at the competition (e.g., travel and lodging expenses)?

Once you’ve determined the worth of the competition, then shift to focusing on the details of the competition itself.

  • What are the rules of the competition?
  • Are there any disqualifying factors?
  • How will you be judged during the different parts of the competition?

After conducting this research, it’s best to formulate an idea or product that appeals to the judges and is something they can really get behind. Make sure you thoroughly understand the rules and what is expected from your final product. Once you know what is expected from you, you’ll be able to refine and practice your pitch to help you move through the stages of the competition.

These competitions are a fantastic method to get new business owners thinking about business possibilities, writing business plans, and dominating the competition. These contests may assist you in gaining important feedback on your business concept or plan as well as potential monetary prizes to help your business get off the ground.  

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The Best 20 Business Plan Competitions to Get Funding in (2024)

Business Plan Template

Free Business Plan Template

Radhika Agarwal

  • October 18, 2023

11 Min Read

Top Business Plan Competitions

Brilliant business ideas deserve 2 things for sure – Feedback and Funding.

And if you think you have a good business idea and have some bit of groundwork figured out, you may want to look into business plan competitions.

Now, what is a business plan competition? Why should you participate in one? How to find one that’s just right for your business?

We’ll discuss all of the above and more through this article.

What is a Business Plan Competition?

A business plan competition is an event that allows small businesses and startups to compete with each other, get feedback and advice on their business, and also can help you get your business funded.

Businesses are judged on several factors including execution, feasibility, innovation, etc.

How to Find a Business Plan Competition?

There are several business plan competitions listed on Google that you can look through. Different competitions have different eligibility criteria and guidelines. Go through all of that to know if it fits your business or not.

At the same time, it is important to check the credibility and check for any scams or illegitimate sites.

To make finding business plan competitions a little easier we have compiled a list of 20 popular and credible competitions that you can apply for.

Business Plan Competitions

  • Global Student Entrepreneur Awards
  • tecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition
  • HATCH Pitch
  • Rice Business Plan Competition
  • New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition
  • MIT 100k Business Plan and Expo
  • FAU Business Plan Competition
  • NIBS Business Plan Competition
  • Pistoia Alliance President’s Startup Challenge
  • College of New Jersey’s Mayo Business Plan Competition
  • Next Founders Business Plan Competition
  • TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield
  • New Venture Challenge
  • New Venture Championship
  • Climatech & Energy Prize @MIT
  • Baylor Business New Venture Competition
  • 13th IOT/WT World Cup

1. Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

To encourage students across the globe to become entrepreneurs GSEA organizes this competition for students from all disciplines and countries. The main aim of the awards is to draw people towards entrepreneurship, shape their ideas, and become a catalyst for their business’s growth.

Eligibility

The student must enroll in a part-time or full-time undergraduate or graduate course.

The student should own or work as a founder or co-founder of the startup.

Only one person from the startup can represent it.

The person should either be 30 or under 30 years of age.

The startup should be running for at least 6 months from the date of application.

The startup should either generate $500 or get $1000 as investments at the time of application.

The startup shouldn’t have reached the final round of the competition in previous years.

For more details check out their website.

The competition is held at several locations across the world over months during a school year. The finals among the Top 4 teams are held at Goldman Sachs New York.

  • First Prize: $25,000
  • Second Prize: $10,000
  • Third Prize: $5,000

Lodging and travel expenses are covered and additional prizes are handed out at the event.

2. tecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition

The tecBRIDGE competition is divided into two parts, with one for college students across 14 colleges and universities and a non-collegiate one for early-stage entrepreneurs.

( For Collegiate )

At least one member as a college student

The product must identify commercial solutions through technical processes.

( For Non-Collegiate )

The startup must gross less than $250k in revenue from its start date up to the last tax filing date.

It is held in Northeastern Pennsylvania every year. The businesses that win have to establish their headquarters there as well.

Prizes worth $100,000 are shared amongst the winning teams.

3. HATCH Pitch

Through the Hatch Pitch program, you get access to mentorship courses, discounted spaces, funds, education programs, financial consulting, and so on.

The product/ Service was launched within 2 years.

Founders should retain some part of the ownership.

Must actively participate actively in Hatch Pitch coaching.

Must receive less than $5 million in funds from third-party investors.

The competition is held at Entrepreneur space in Dallas.

Access to high-level incubators and mentorship.

4. Rice Business Plan Competition

The Rice University business plan competition is specially designed for college students to present their ideas to investors , get mentorship and help shape their ideas and business journey better.

Students managed or created businesses.

Consists of at least 2 college students, and one student pursuing a graduate degree.

Have raised less than $250k in equity capital.

Have generated less than $100k in any 12-month period.

Houston at Rice University, graduate school of business, hosts this event.

In 2021, the winners were awarded investments worth $1.6 Million , cash prizes, etc.

5. New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition

New York Public library sponsors this competition to help entrepreneurs from around the world. They give wings to their ideas.

Must live in Manhattan, Staten Island, or The Bronx.

Your business should be in any of the above places as well.

The idea or business model is in the startup phase and shouldn’t have earned more than $10,000.

The competition is held in New York.

A grand prize worth $15000 and a Runner Up prize worth $7500 .

6. MIT 100k Business Plan and Expo

MIT organizes this competition to promote innovation in the university as well as the world. It consists of 3 competitions throughout the year namely Pitch, Accelerate, and Launch.

Each team should enter one idea.

Participants must have original work ideas

Should disclose the received funding.

Hosted in Cambridge MA MIT campus from October to May through the academic year.

  • Pitch: $5000 jury award and $2000 audience choice award.
  • Accelerate: 20 finalists get industry-specific mentorship programs with a budget of $1000 each. The top 10 finalists compete for the Audience Choice award worth $10,000. The top 3 finalists immediately get into the finals of the launch.
  • Launch: The winner gets a whopping amount of $100,000 while the runner gets $25000 .

Official Website MIT 100k

7. FAU Business Plan Competition

The Florida Atlantic University Business Plan Competition is for graduate and undergraduate students spanning all continents.

Undergraduate or graduate participants.

The competition is held at Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, Florida.

First Prize: $5000 and Second Prize: $500

8. NIBS Business Plan Competition

The NIBS competition helps you discuss and give a boost to your ideas. It also helps you get industry experts guidance.

Entrants of legal age to have contracts as per the rules of their country of residence.

Should not hold any employment apart from their own company.

The plan must stand for a startup business and not an acquisition.

It is held in the USA.

There’s a cash prize for the first three places as well as an opportunity to get an incubator program for the winners.

9. Get Seeded

Get Seed is a two-part funding program for students in launching their businesses.

At least one student from a higher education institution in Utah is a must.

Should be enrolled for nine credit hours during that semester.

Utilization of funds to take the idea further.

Salt Lake City in Utah hosts the business plan competition.

A micro-grant worth $500 and a seeded grant from $501 to $1500

10. Pistoia Alliance President’s Startup Challenge

This competition was designed for startups focusing on digital and health technology.

Legally formed entities

The company must have less than 50 people.

Annual sales under $5 million.

The product should have been launched within 3 years.

Your country should not have USA’s trade restrictions imposed.

You can submit your ideas from anywhere.

Five finalists win $5000 and 2 winners receive $20,000 .

Official Website

11. College of New Jersey’s Mayo Business Plan Competition

This competition is held for students to appreciate new challenges.

The teams must consist of two and bot more than four students from the College of New Jersey.

The College of New Jersey hosts this event.

The winners get mentorship and guidance programs.

Check Official Website

12. Next Founders Business Plan Competition

This competition focuses on startups with an innovative approach to solving social problems and global needs.

It is for Canadian entrepreneurs with scalable, high-potential ventures.

The University of Toronto.

Up to 25,000 CAD$ in cash for funding your startup.

13. TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield

TechCrunch sponsors this competition which comprises two levels.

The companies must have a functional prototype of their product or service to present to the committee.

Different locations.

The winner gets $50,000 and two runner-ups get $5000 each.

Check Competition Website

14. New Venture Challenge

This competition is held at the University of Chicago. Three evaluation points for participants are – Innovation, Product Market Fit , and presentation.

The eligibility information is available on their website.

Chicago, IL.

1st Place: $50,000 ; 2nd Place: $25,000 ; 3rd Place: $15,000 . In addition to that, the winners get access to mentorship and resources.

15. New Venture Championship

This competition is for those with a good business idea. Even if you don’t have a business plan, you can participate as the competition provides optional plan writing services.

The team should have 2-5 members.

Should have at least one graduate student.

The students should be pursuing their undergraduate or graduate degrees.

Eugene, Oregon.

Teams have a chance to win cash prizes ranging from $3000 to $25,000 with additional benefits like mentorship and rented office spaces.

16. Climatech & Energy Prize @MIT

This competition is ideal for companies with a core focus on energy, climate change, and the environment.

The team must have more than 2 members.

At least 50% of part-time or full-time university students.

Cambridge, MA hosts this competition

The winner gets a sizable sum of $1,00,000 .

17. U.Pitch

This competition gives entrants a chance to present their ideas to people from different levels and spectrums in the business space and get an opportunity for investments and mentorship programs.

Undergraduate or graduate program students.

Functioning Business

Age up to or below 30

San Francisco, California hosts this competition.

Prizes worth $10,000 are given.

18. CodeLaunch

It is a seed accelerator competition for entrepreneurs who have technology startups.

The detailed eligibility criteria can be found on their website.

St. Louis, Missouri hosts these competitions, usually.

The winner gets seed fund capital and access to other additional resources.

19. Baylor Business New Venture Competition

Baylor launched this competition to help entrepreneurs discuss their ideas and get advice from judges.

An undergraduate student at Baylor University and McLennan Community College.

Baylor University, Waco, Texas hosts this competition.

The first prize winner receives $6000 . The other finalists win prizes ranging from $1500-$2000 .

20. 13th IOT/WT World Cup

The innovation world cup was started to give startups a chance to display their ideas and business. The competition aims to attract venture capitalists, investors, and potential business partners .

The startup should have a concept of innovative technologies.

You should have a functional prototype of the product.

Cleveland, Ohio hosts this event.

You get a chance at winning prizes worth $500,000 and connect with leading tech companies in your field.

Even if you don’t receive funds, there’s a lot of chance to network, get exposure, and get your ideas validated. Especially, if you are someone who’s new in the business space business plan competitions are a great way to learn the ropes of the trade.

So, go ahead, write your business plan , look up the details, and register for a competition that fits your business the best!

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jmu business plan competition

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The challenge to do good

Students combine an entrepreneur’s hustle with a philanthropist’s mission.

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SUMMARY: Shy Pahlevani (’07), the serial entrepreneur behind apps LiveSafe and Hungry, funded a semester-long social impact challenge through the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship. Altogether, JMU students have raised more than $30,000 in two semesters for the local community.

Under the guise of a student T-shirt competition, the Hisaoka-Pahlevani Social Impact Challenge is actually a competition in doing good. Through the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship, JMU students in MGT 310 spend a semester working on interdisciplinary teams to design, market and sell JMU-themed merchandise. At the end of the semester, all profits go to a local nonprofit of their choice, and students present their projects to compete for scholarship money.

The competition is the brainchild of Shy Pahlevani (’07), the serial entrepreneur who co-founded LiveSafe and  Hungry with Jeff Grass (’92) . Thanks to Pahlevani’s generous support, each team is given $1,000 in startup money. Then, they get to work: identifying a target market, determining product cost and pricing, defining sales and distribution strategy, and researching a local nonprofit of their choice to receive the proceeds. They must also determine the impact of that donation.

MGT 310 is required for students minoring in entrepreneurship, who have majors outside the College of Business. “So, we get engineering, history, political science and many art majors, who do not know anything about business,” said Suzanne Bergmeister, executive director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship who teaches the class alongside Sarah Dodson. “We wanted to give these students a hands-on, real-world business experience.” 

Pahlevani admits the prospect can be intimidating. “Think about everyone who has entrepreneurial ideas and never acts on it,” he said. “It’s just getting [students] to build their confidence…. That real-life experience is huge, and that’s missing in a lot of schools and universities.”

Student presenting

Pahlevani’s inspiration for supporting this challenge came from his own experience creating his own T-shirt startup as a JMU student. “It gave me a lot of confidence, and that’s what I want the students to get as well,” he said. 

As for his devotion to philanthropy, Pahlevani credits one of his major investors Bob Hisaoka, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropist, for whom the challenge was named. “From him, I really learned the true meaning of giving back and philanthropy,” Pahlevani said. Under the mentorship of Hisaoka, Pahlevani has been awakened to the good that can be done through business, not in spite of it. “You want giving and good that's sustainable, and that's your business,” he said.

Pahlevani’s latest venture Oasis Hill, an innovation hub to connect and empower American Muslims, started as a nonprofit, but Pahlevani quickly realized that he could have more impact transitioning it to a for-profit business. Instead of asking for donations every year, “I'm going to ask them to invest ,” Pahlevani explained. “You're gonna put your money in once and this thing is going to sustain itself.”

“I totally want to flip the model.” 

Giving back is baked into Pahlevani’s other business ventures. For example, for every meal purchased through Hungry, the company donates two meals to those who are hungry. It’s a model he hopes the students are inspired to pursue after the competition.

Shy Pahlevani announces winners

After a semester of hard work, the teams present their projects to a team of judges with family, friends and local nonprofits in attendance. Jumbo checks written out to local nonprofits lean against chairs as the students reflect on the triumphs, challenges and learning experiences from the semester.

Duke Dynasty Designs, who created the campaign “Duke Dog for President,” won a $2,500 scholarship for their T-shirt modeled after Barack Obama’s famous campaign poster. They spoke about their success partnering with JMU athletes, including football player Jalen Green and basketball player Xavier Brown, both of whom had signed a few shirts. 

More than one team relied on another kind of celebrity, JMU Vice President for Student Affairs Tim Miller, while others leveraged free resources at The Makery in Rose Library, parents’ groups on Facebook and foot traffic in D-Hall Commons.

Students with the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad

After the pilot semester last fall, “we decided we were going to go big,” Bergmeister said.

The six teams doubled last semester’s proceeds and raised more than $20,000 for Generations Crossing, Skyline Literacy, Strength in Peers, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hope Distributed and the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad. In total, the project has generated more than $30,000 for the local community.

“Even though we’re all competitors,” said Jacob McMurdy (’26), a Communication Studies major, “we’re working toward a common goal together.”

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by Ciara Brennan

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Last Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2024

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  1. For two decades, business plan competition delivering results

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COMMENTS

  1. Rainey-Shepard-Kushel Business Plan Competition

    March 22, 2024. 3:00 p.m. Hartman Hall Forum (Room 2021) Now in its third decade, the business plan competition showcases the best business plans developed by teams of students in COB 300. This 12-credit curriculum serves as the gateway to JMU's College of Business, integrating fundamental principles of finance, management, marketing and ...

  2. For two decades, business plan competition delivering results

    SUMMARY: Since its inception, the Rainey-Shepard Business Plan Competition has afforded nearly 600 students in the College of Business the chance to win scholarships. Former contestant Brett Danielson ('18) attests to the impact the competition had on his career as an entrepreneur. The beating heart of JMU's College of Business curriculum ...

  3. Rainey-Shepard-Kushel Business Plan Competition

    Rainey~Shepard~Kushel Business Plan Competition ~ Teams. Accenture Innovation Award: C-ERA Joyce Guthrie Team Award: Waste2Wave Ferguson Top Female Leader Award: Olivia Smith, BidetBuddy, LLC Braun Jones MVP Award: Summer Simmons (GeoWarmth Poultry Solutions, LLC) Nick Clement and Sierra Puleo (C-ERA) Joe Horowitz (Panometer, LLC) Grayson Wright (Waste2Wave)

  4. Twenty years later, Business Plan Competition still putting ...

    Business Plan Competition marks 20th year. For the 2022 "platinum edition" of the competition, which was first staged in 2003, COB 300 faculty members selected a dozen plans from the more than 100 created during the preceding year's spring, summer and fall semesters. Those 12 were reviewed and evaluated, and then pared to just five deemed worthy of a berth in the finals.

  5. Entrepreneurs to watch: JMU Business Plan Competition winners announced

    JMU Business Plan Competition winners announced. Harrisonburg, Virginia - The James Madison University College of Business announces Illumi Lights as the overall winner of the COB300 Business Plan Competition, Platinum Edition, marking the 20 th anniversary of the event. Illumi Lights won first place and a $6,000 scholarship to be shared ...

  6. Business Plan Competition: Sometimes it takes a maverick or two

    Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that two maverick JMU students became the driving force behind what today has become the showcase for the College of Business's vaunted COB300 course—the annual Business Plan Competition. With world-wise business alumni judging six student teams competing for scholarships and awards each spring, the ...

  7. JMU

    The COB 300 Business Plan Competition, Platinum Edition will take place on Friday, March 25, 2022, beginning at 3PM in the Hartman Hall Forum. This year's event will feature five exceptional teams of students and marks the 20th anniversary of this prestigious, annual competition. As a past or present judge for the CoB 300 Business Plan Competition, we invite you to join us for dinner following ...

  8. JMU College of Business' Post

    More than 100 business plans were eligible for this year's COB300 business plan competition. Only a dozen were selected for review and just five made it to the final round of competition.

  9. James Madison University on LinkedIn: For two decades, business plan

    COB 300 and the business plan competition was an amazing experience during my days at JMU! Thank you Don Rainey and @Russel Shepard for assisting in create such an experience!

  10. James Madison University

    James Madison University offers each student a future of significance — not an education of mere prestige, but an extraordinary education of exceptional scholarship, inventive thinking, unparalleled attention to the world community, a university-wide enthusiasm for teaching, and a commitment to student success.

  11. Accenture Innovation Business Plan Competition Student Scholarship

    Accenture Innovation Business Plan Competition Student Scholarship Award. An endowed scholarship award established by Accenture, LLP that will be presented annually to the COB 300 student team, selected for the finals of the Business Plan Competition, which best integrates the disciplines to solve a problem.

  12. College of Business student teams compete in the Jackson-Rainey

    Six student teams competed in the annual Jackson-Rainey Business Plan competition based on the work they completed in the COB 300 course. ... Involves Participants External to JMU. Date. 2017. Frequency. Recurring Event (Occurs on a regular basis but not continual) Areas of Engagement. Engaged Learning. Format. Class/Coursework. On/Off campus.

  13. The 20 Best Business Plan Competitions [Updated 2024]

    MIT 100k Business Plan Competition and Expo. The MIT 100K was created in 2010 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to foster entrepreneurship and innovation on campus and around the world. Consists of three distinct and increasingly intensive competitions throughout the school year: PITCH, ACCELERATE, and LAUNCH.

  14. The Top 20 Business Plan Competitions to get funding in 2024

    MIT 100k Business Plan and Expo. FAU Business Plan Competition. NIBS Business Plan Competition. Get Seeded. Pistoia Alliance President's Startup Challenge. College of New Jersey's Mayo Business Plan Competition. Next Founders Business Plan Competition. TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield. New Venture Challenge.

  15. College of Business

    The College of Business offers baccalaureate degree programs leading to a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.). All degree programs offered by the College of Business are accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  16. The challenge to do good

    Altogether, JMU students have raised more than $30,000 in two semesters for the local community. Under the guise of a student T-shirt competition, the Hisaoka-Pahlevani Social Impact Challenge is actually a competition in doing good. Through the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship, JMU students in MGT 310 spend a semester working on ...

  17. 6 of the Best Business Plan Competitions

    1. Rice Business Plan Competition. Featuring $1.5 million in cash and prizes, the Rice Business Plan Competition is staged in Houston. Hosted in April of each year, the event is the world's largest and richest graduate-level business startup operation. In 2020, the Rice Business Plan Competition will celebrate its 20th year.

  18. James Madison University

    James Madison University is one of 13 schools from around the country, and the only one from Virginia, chosen for the final phase of the 2023 Collegiate Wind Competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Congratulations to the 20 students who make up this year's JMU team. Achievement (Other) - 2023 Feb 20.

  19. Hawaiian Electric Companies give business plan contest $30K

    The HEI Charitable Foundation and the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HEI/Hawaiian Electric) have donated $30,000 to become the title sponsor of the 2016 UH Business Plan Competition (BPC) organized by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business. The annual team competition provides budding ...

  20. Jmu Business Plan Competition

    Jmu Business Plan Competition - Professional Writers Experts in their fields with flawless English and an eye for details. Research Paper, IT Management, 8 pages by Ho Tsou. Meeting Deadlines. 100% Success rate 2329 Orders prepared. ID 4746278. Finished paper. Jmu Business Plan Competition ...

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