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

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Writing a business plan?

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.

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.

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.

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 a non-collegiate one for early-stage entrepreneurs.

Eligibility

( 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.

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 that 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

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.

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

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

Rewards

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.

Eligibility

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.

For more details check out their website.

Location

The competition is held in New York.

Rewards

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.

Eligibility

Each team should enter one idea.

Participants must have original work ideas

Should disclose the received funding.

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.

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.

Eligibility

Undergraduate or graduate participants.

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

Eligibility

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.

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 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.

For more details check out their website.

Location

Salt Lake City in Utah hosts the business plan competition.

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

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.

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.

Official Website

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

This competition is held for students to appreciate new challenges.

Eligibility

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

For more details check out their website.

Location

The College of New Jersey hosts this event.

Rewards

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.

Eligibility

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

For more details check out their website.

Location

The University of Toronto.

Rewards

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

Check Official Website

13. TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield

TechCrunch sponsors this competition which 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

Different locations.

Rewards

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.

Eligibility

The eligibility information is available on their website.

Location

Chicago, IL.

Rewards

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

Check Official Website

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

Eugene, Oregon.

Rewards

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

Check Official Website

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 part-time or full-time university students.

For more details check out their website.

Location

Cambridge, MA hosts this competition

Rewards

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

Check Official Website

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

Undergraduate or graduate program students.

Functioning Business

Age up to or below 30

For more details check out their website.

Location

San Francisco, California hosts this competition.

Rewards

Prizes worth $10,000 are given.

Check Official Website

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

St. Louis, Missouri hosts these competitions, usually.

Rewards

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

Check Official Website

19. Baylor Business New Venture Competition

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

Eligibility

An undergraduate student at Baylor University and McLennan Community College.

For more details check out their website.

Location

Baylor University, Waco, Texas hosts this competition.

Rewards

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

Check Official Website

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

Cleveland, Ohio hosts this event.

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 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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About the Author

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.

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