📝 Editor’s note: Make sure to bookmark this page as we keep on adding and reviewing new business plan competitions to the list.
It has become a tradition of ours to share an annual overview of new ways you how you can raise funds to fund your venture.
Business plan competitions are great opportunities to get funding for your business ideas, feedback on your strategic plan, and exposure to the right audience.
This is also a smart way to expand your network, acquire new talent, partners, and clients and gain feedback on your product or service as well as your business strategy.
The following list includes competitions for budding and current entrepreneurs and those who just consider entrepreneurship as their first career choice. The list offers a diverse variety of opportunities: business plan competitions, elevator pitches, business student conferences and case competitions that encourage innovation from all imaginable industries and backgrounds.
We have picked the gems that you can apply for in 2020 with your business idea and we have listed them in chronological order. Good luck!
Deadline: January 8, 2020 | Apply here
Prize: $100,000 in prizes and resources
Eligibility: The competition is open to any high school student around the world. It invites teams comprised of two to four high school students typically between 14-18 years of age at the time of the submission deadline, enrolled in an official high school/secondary education institution for the duration of the competition. Team members do NOT need to be based in the same school or area.
This competition is unique because it is looking at teams first and it does not believe in the notion of having a traditional business plan written as a prerequisite to entrepreneurial success.
Instead, the Diamond Challenge provides an extraordinary opportunity for teens from around the globe to learn about entrepreneurship while putting their business ideas into action.
Through the world’s top-rated entrepreneurship competition for high school students, applicants can win tens of thousands of dollars in prizes to fund their ideas or further education to improve their entrepreneurial prowess.
Deadline: January 27, 2020 | Apply here
Prize: more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes
Eligibility: Any graduate-student startup, in a broad range of industries, from any university, in any degree program can apply to the RBPC
The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition.
It provides an unparalleled experience for the participants by designing a diverse program over the course of three days, with significant time designated for feedback and interaction with the judging panel.
Deadline: February 12, 2020 | Apply here
Prize: more than $50,000 in total cash awards
Eligibility: The competition is for student-created, managed, and owned ventures. Teams of 2-5 students of which least one member of the team is required to be enrolled in a graduate program are encouraged to apply
Presented by the University of Oregon’s Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship, the New Venture Championship (NVC) is the Pacific Northwest’s original six-round business competition, setting the standard followed by others.
Teams from elite universities come to Portland every year to pitch their venture plans and vie for more than $50,000 in total cash awards.
Deadline: February 12, 2020 | Apply here
Prize: $100,000 in cash and prizes
Eligibility: The team must be organized and directed by a student from a college or university in the state of Utah.; The founding student must be an active student during both semesters of the competition year; The student team members must be involved in all aspects of the UEC competition
The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (UEC) is a statewide, student business model competition. Teams from universities across the state compete for the best business model and a chance to win $100,000 in cash and prizes.
The grand prize is $40,000. We invite the public and special guests to enjoy the final showcase and awards ceremony in the spring.
Deadline: February 13, 2020 | Apply here
Prize: $100,000 in cash and prizes
Eligibility: The competition is open to any individual above 18 years old who currently generate revenue, grants, customers, or investors, as well as those with well-conceived plans to do so
The Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) is open to applicants worldwide and offers a tremendous opportunity to entrepreneurs and investors alike.
With a rich history of success, the EBPC has awarded over $1,000,000 in cash prizes since 2010, and winners and finalists have gone on to raise more than $135 million in additional funding.
Deadline: February 26, 2020 | Apply here
Prize: $300,000 in cash
Eligibility: Participating teams require at least one Harvard Business School MBA student who plays a primary role in the business. The HBS student should be a part of the founding team and a significant equity holder, if equity has been distributed. There is a $1,500,000 limit in seed capital raised and a $2,000,000 limit in revenue generated.
New Venture Competition provides a unique opportunity for students to put entrepreneurship principles into practice with an integrative learning experience.
Whether you are a winner of prizes, go on to implement your proposed new venture idea, or simply take advantage of the learning and apply it later in your career, the Competition will be an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience.
Deadline: March 31, 2020 | Apply here
Prize: €150,000 in cash
Dates: April 1-2, 2020
Location: Luxexpo – The Box, Luxembourg
Are you looking for a place to connect your tech startup with corporate decision makers?
Do you want to get more customers for your venture?
Does your tech solution fall into any of these verticals: AI, Big Data, Blockchain, Connectivity, Customer Operations, Cybersecurity, E-Commerce, Hardware, IoT, Mobility, or VR/AR?
If you answer with a resounding “yes”, then join Arch Summit 2020!
Arch Summit hosts an international pitching competition with €150,000 in cash prizes at stake. Submit your entry, get shortlisted, and receive the prizes and feedback from the Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den investors!
Are you excited yet? Get your Startup Pass now!
Deadline: March 2020 | Apply here
Prize: $300,000 in cash
Eligibility: Next founders is for Canadian founders of scalable, high-growth ventures
Next Founders accelerates the growth of Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, access to capital, and unparalleled entrepreneurial education taught by world-class faculty.
Next Founders is a flexible program, offering à-la-carte education from some of North America’s top minds that you can opt-into based on your individual needs.
Deadline: varies depending on the location | Apply here
Prize: Prizes are generally a combination of cash and business services and will vary by location. At the Global Finals, students compete for a prize package of US$25,000 in cash
Eligibility: You must be enrolled for the current academic year in a university/college as an undergraduate or graduate student at the time of application. The age cap for participation is 30 years of age
The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university.
Nominees compete against their peers from around the world in a series of local and/or national competitions in hopes to qualify for GSEA Finals. Founded in 1998 by Saint Louis University, GSEA is now an Entrepreneurs’ Organization program.
Deadline: application process opens in March 2020 | Apply here
Prize: Training & mentoring
Eligibility: Startup software technology concepts that have not reached the MVP stage and need software development to get there
CodeLaunch provides seed services that are invaluable to early-stage startups. Sponsors and partners help guide winning startup ventures down the path of success while minimizing their financial risk.
It consists of Pitch Day competition, where three competitors will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. After the winners are selected, the Startup Expo begins. At the Startup Expo, you can network with investors, venture capitalists, and the entrepreneurial community.
Deadline: application process opens in 2020
U.Pitch brings together the best students from a cross-section of universities in this ultimate national elevator pitch competition. In just 90 seconds, students compete for national recognition and a prize pool of $10,000.
They also have the opportunity to showcase their idea or startup in front of hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and other students from the entrepreneurial community.
2020 Application TBA
Prize: More than $300K in non-dilutive funding is awarded to accelerate the winning ventures
Eligibility: 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.
The MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition has brought together students and researchers from across MIT and Greater Boston to launch their talent, ideas, and technology into leading companies.
Each contest focuses on developing specific founder skills. For semi-finalists in Accelerate and Pitch, the MIT $100K brings together a network of resources, including mentorship from venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and attorneys; media exposure; prototyping funds; business plan feedback; and discounted services. More than $300K in non-dilutive funding is awarded to accelerate these new ventures.
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