The Top 20 Business Plan Competitions to Get Funding in 2022

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 might 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.

How to Find a Business Plan Competition?

There are several business plan competitions listed on Google which 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.

  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 be enrolled in a part-time or full-time undergraduate or graduate course.

      The student should be an owner or 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 on 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 the previous years.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      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.

    • Rewards

      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 non-collegiate for early-stage entrepreneurs.

    • Eligibility

      ( For Collegiate )

      At least one member should be 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.

      The product must identify commercial solutions through technical processes.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

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

    • Rewards

      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.

    • Eligibility

      Product/ Service must have been 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.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      The competition is held at Entrepreneur space in Dallas.

    • Rewards

      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.

    • Eligibility

      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.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is hosted in Houston at Rice University, graduate school of business.

    • Rewards

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

  5. New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition

    This competition is sponsored by the New York Public library to help entrepreneurs from around the world by giving wings to their ideas.

    • Eligibility

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

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

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

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      The competition is held in New York.

    • Rewards

      Grand prize worth $15000 and Runner Up prize worth $7500.

  6. MIT 100k Business Plan and Expo

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

    • Eligibility

      Each team should enter one idea.

      The ideas must be the original work of the participants.

      Fundings received at the time of entrance should be mentioned.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

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

    • Rewards

      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.

  7. FAU Business Plan Competition

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

    • Eligibility

      The participants should either be undergraduate or graduate students.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

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

    • Rewards

      First Prize: $5000 and Second Prize: $500

  8. NIBS Business Plan Competition

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

    • Eligibility

      Entrants must be 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 should be for a startup business, not an acquisition.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is held in the USA.

    • Rewards

      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.

    • Eligibility

      At least one student should be from a higher education institution in Utah.

      Should be enrolled for nine credit hours during that semester.

      The funds should be used to take the idea further.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      The business plan competition is held in Salt Lake City in Utah.

    • Rewards

      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.

    • Eligibility

      Entities should be legally formed.

      The size of the company should be less than 50 people.

      Annual sales under $5 million.

      The product should have been launched within 3 years.

      Your country should be free of trade restrictions imposed by the USA.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      You can submit your ideas from anywhere.

    • Rewards

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

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

    This competition is held for students to appreciate new challenges.

    • Eligibility

      The teams should have at least two and bot more than four students from the College of New Jersey.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is held at The College of New Jersey.

    • Rewards

      The winners are given mentorship and guidance programs.

  12. Next Founders Business Plan Competition

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

    • Eligibility

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

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is held at the University of Toronto.

    • Rewards

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

  13. TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield

    This competition is sponsored by TechCrunch and comprises two levels.

    • Eligibility

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

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is held at different locations.

    • Rewards

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

  14. New Venture Challenge

    This competition is held at the University of Chicago, and participants are judged on three bases- Innovation, Product Market Fit, and presentation.

    • Eligibility

      The eligibility information is available on their website.

    • Location

      The competition is held in Chicago, IL.

    • Rewards

      1st Place: $50,000; 2nd Place: $25,000; 3rd Place: $15,000. In addition to that, the winners are also given 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.

    • Eligibility

      The team should have 2-5 members.

      Should have at least one graduate student.

      The students should be pursuing their undergraduate or graduate degrees.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is held in Eugene, Oregon.

    • Rewards

      Teams have a chance to win cash prizes ranging from $3000 to $25,000 with additional benefits like the 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.

    • Eligibility

      The team must have more than 2 members.

      At least 50% of the members should be part-time or full-time university students.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is held in Cambridge, MA.

    • Rewards

      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.

    • Eligibility

      Entrants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program.

      The business should be functioning.

      The participants must be 30 or under 30 years of age.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      It is held in San Francisco, California.

    • Rewards

      Prizes worth $10,000 are given.

  18. CodeLaunch

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

    • Eligibility

      The detailed eligibility criteria can be found on their website.

    • Location

      CodeLaunch competitions are usually held in St. Louis, Missouri, where the organization is based.

    • Rewards

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

  19. Baylor Business New Venture Competition

    This competition was launched by Baylor to help entrepreneurs discuss their ideas and get advice from judges.

    • Eligibility

      Must be an undergraduate student at Baylor University and McLennan Community College.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      The competition is held at Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

    • Rewards

      The first prize winner receives $6000. The other finalists can 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.

    • Eligibility

      The startup should have a concept of innovative technologies.

      You should have a functional prototype of the product.

      For more details check out their website.

    • Location

      The competition is held in Cleveland, Ohio.

    • Rewards

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

Conclusion

Even if you don’t get funded 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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Radhika Agarwal
Radhika Agarwal
Radhika is an economics graduate and likes to read about every subject and idea she comes across. Apart from that she can discuss her favorite books to lengths( to the point you'll start feeling a little annoyed) and spends most of her free time on Google word coach.