The Tech Valley Collegiate Business Plan Competition

The Tech Valley Collegiate Business Plan Competition is hosted by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management and Technology in Troy, New York. The competition is designed to advance learning and introduce students to the career choice of entrepreneurship. The contest is also sponsored by Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C., Rensselaer’s Incubator Program, and the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS), with support from The Center for Economic Growth.

The winners of the Tech Valley Collegiate competition take home up to $50,000 in cash and prizes. The cash awards are as follows: first place – $5,000, second place – $4,000, and third place – $3,000.

The other prizes for first-place winners include submission to a national business plan competition, including up to $2,000 in travel and meal expenses; one-year membership to the Virtual Incubator Program, which provides select services through the Venture Affiliates of RPI organization;

$5,000 in engineering and design services from the school’s Center for Automation Technologies and Systems, which could be used to develop prototypes, further product design or develop a manufacturing strategy; and up to $20,000 in direct investment capital and $15,000 in services, based on successful completion of milestones after launch of the actual company.

The contest begins with a written business plan of no more than 40 pages, which is due the second week in April. A team of judges, made up of private investors, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurial businesspeople, look at these plans and determine their validity. Within 10 days, they notify the semi-finalist teams that will continue in the competition. These semi-finalists give presentations to the judges during the last week in April. The next day, the finalists are notified and given one more week to prepare their final presentations and elevator pitches, usually the first week in May.

The elevator pitch contest on the day of the finals is separate from the rest of the contest. Only one member of each semi-finalist team is allowed to give a two-minute pitch to the judges. The winner of the elevator pitches takes home an additional $1,000 prize and could be separate from the final first-prize winner.