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Deadline: February 10, 2018 05:00 (GMT-0600) | Apply here
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Eligibility: The competition is for currently enrolled full- or part-time students. At least one of the team founder must be a graduate-level student. All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early-stage venture capital investment or early-stage angel investment
Dates: April 5-7, 2018
Prizes: total of $1.5 million in cash and prizes
Location: Houston, USA

Rice Business Plan Competition 2018

UPDATE: The 42 shortlisted teams have already been announced. Check out their startup pitches to improve your application for the next selection round!

The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition.

It is hosted and organized by the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative that supports entrepreneurship.

In 2018, for the 18th time, students will have the opportunity to win more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes.

An unparalleled experience for the participants

The competition is designed to offer student entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches to attract funding to successfully commercialize their product.

Judges will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting startup funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms.

Rice Business Plan Competition 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.

Graduate students with an idea for a new startup company are encouraged to apply.

Why join the competition?

You will:

  • Get real-world opportunities to learn what’s required to successfully launch a new business.
  • Get mentoring from investors and experienced entrepreneurs.
  • Have scheduled networking opportunities with potential venture capitalists and other investors for three days.
  • Meet high caliber of judges, all senior-level investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders.
  • Receive individual feedback during three separate sessions.

Who should apply?

The competition is for degree-seeking students currently enrolled on a full- or part-time basis. This includes students who graduated or will graduate any time after July 1, 2017.

The presenting team that joins the competition must include two to five current students.

All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early-stage venture capital investment or early-stage angel investment.

All ventures must be “for-profit” entities. This is an early-stage pitch competition, therefore, startups that have raised more than $250,000 in equity capital from sources other than the students or their friends or families prior to July 1, 2017 are not eligible to compete.

Startup teams may have raised ANY level of equity funding AFTER July 1, 2017.

Application process

  • Forty-two teams from the world’s top universities will be selected to vie for prizes expected to be more than $1.5 million.
  • Students will need to submit an executive summary and an optional one-minute video pitch.
  • All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprising select members of the entrepreneurship and investment community. The judges are asked to rank the presentations based on which company they would most likely invest.
  • All official rules, requirements and judging criteria are described in details here.

Competition categories

More than 500 teams are expected to apply for 42 spots representing four categories:

  • life sciences/medical devices/digital health
  • digital/information technology/mobile
  • energy/clean technology/sustainability
  • and other innovations

A cohort of more than 275 judges will select the winner based on the company that represents the best investment opportunity.

World’s richest and largest student startup competition adds more prizes

In total, more than $1.5 Million in cash and investment prizes will be awarded to the teams at the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition.

The prizes are structured so that all 42 teams are guaranteed to win cash and/or investment prize money.

  • $300,000 – GOOSE Society Investment Prize
  • $200,000 – OWL Investment Prize
  • $100,000 – The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Houston Angel Investment Prize
  • $100,000 – Houston Angel Network Investment Prize
  • $100,000 – Cisco Global Problem Solver Prize
  • $50,000 – RBPC Runner-up Prize (2nd Place Overall)
  • $50,000 – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Energy Prize
  • and many more!

Take your chance to accelerate your startup and kickstart your entrepreneurship career and apply for Rice Business Plan Competition 2018!

Got questions? Check the official rules and judging criteria of the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition.


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