Startup competition season peaks in the spring and there are hundreds of business plan competitions sponsored throughout the country. Many are conducted by leading universities and business schools, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Brigham Young University, the University of Texas, and the University of California, Berkeley, to name just a few. Some are sponsored by private industry or consulting firms; others are conducted by Small Business Development Centers, business associations, and even business magazines.
Below is a list of some of the larger competitions that your students—and you—may be interested in.
1. $300,000 Entrepreneurs Challenge
Held by the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs at NYU’s Stern School of Business, this challenge comprises three different competitions: the New Venture Competition, the Social Venture Competition, and the Technology Venture Competition.
2. Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC)
Affiliated with the Berkeley Hass School of Business and a global network of over 20 partner schools and competitions, GSVC not only awards money but also provides guidance to entrant teams as they build their social ventures.
3. Harvard Business School New Venture Competition
The student competition awards prizes of $300,000. Harvard Business School also runs a business plan competition for alumni.
4. Hult Prize
Sponsored by the Hult School of Business, this business plan competition for social entrepreneurs is open to students around the world. Each year, the Hult Prize focuses on one specific, pressing issue such as education, refugee crisis, healthy care, and clean water.
5. Michigan Business Competition
This campus-wide competition awards student entrepreneurs a total of $100,000 in prizes, with one grand prize of $25,000. At least one member of the team must be an on-campus student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
6. MIT Entrepreneurship Competition
Since 1989, MIT has awarded cash prizes to student teams of entrepreneurs competing in its annual business plan competition. Many of the participants go on to build extremely successful companies.
7. Penn Wharton Awards, Prizes, and Competitions
The business school maintains a list of the various competitions and startup funding sources available through the University of Pennsylvania.
8. Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge
Based in Amsterdam, this challenge awards a grand prize of €500,000 and smaller cash awards for runners up. The competition is open to entrepreneurs worldwide who pitch sustainable businesses that contribute to a more sustainable planet.
9. Rice Business Plan Competition
Touted as the world’s richest and largest student startup competition, the Rice University Business Plan Competition launched in 2001 and today awards $2 million in prizes.
This Chicago-based business plan competition is open to college students and recent graduates. Students pitch their business ideas for cash awards and have the opportunity to present their ideas to entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders
11. Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (UEC)
Open to all university students in Utah, the UEC awards a total of $100,000 in prizes, with a grand prize of $40,000. UEC also runs a version of its competition for high school students.