Category Archives: Business Plan Competitions

Many business plan competitions are held around the world every year. This section of my blog is dedicated to celebrating the giving of money and of goods and services to aspiring entrepreneurs young and old.

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 University of Akron Fitzgerald Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies Business Plan Competition

    The Fitzgerald Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Akron has hosted its business plan competition since 2002. However, the Fitzgerald Institute web site lists no information on results from the 2006 competition or details for a possible 2007 competition. All information in this article will assume that the competition is on-going.

    Competition organizers at University of Akron have traditionally divided the teams into two divisions: graduate and undergraduate categories, each with their own finalists and independent prizes. The 2005 competition awarded $3,000 to first place in each category, with second getting $2,000. The 2006 competition site does not mention the different divisions, just prizes of $2,500 for first place, $1,500 to second, and $500 for the third place winner.

Gonzaga University Business Plan Competition

    Gonzaga University’s Business Plan Competition is hosted by the school’s Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in cooperation with Eastern Washington University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Activities and Whitworth College’s School of Global Commerce and Management. The competition claims to be the largest in the inland Northwest and provides more than $42,000 in prize money.

    In addition to the three institutions of higher learning that participate, there are three different categories for competition. First is the Student-Generated division – all members of the team must be enrolled students and their business must be based on an original student idea. First place in this competition is sponsored by Itron Corporation and the winner takes home $10,000. Second place receives $5,000, and third gets $2,500.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition

    The G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition is hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and supported by that institution’s School of Business, College of Engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences and Law School, as well as the Initiative for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship and the University of Wisconsin Technology Enterprise Cooperative.

    The competition is named for G. Steven Burrill, chief executive officer of the Burrill & Co. investment firm in San Francisco, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison’s School of Business in 1966. It has existed since 1998, but it was originally known as UW TEC Prize.

San Jose State University Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition

    The Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition is sponsored by San Jose State University’s College of Business. The $10,000 first prize is given by Wanda Ginner, an SJSU alumna, and a special $5,000 prize is donated by Annex Ventures, with an additional prize for the best-written business plan.

    The competition is meant to be a link between the university and the “real” entrepreneurial world of the famed Silicon Valley. At least one member of every participating team must be a current student, graduate, faculty member, or staff member of San Jose State University. No teams that have previously won money from the Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition or similar contests are allowed to enter.

The Opportunity Funding Corporation Venture Challenge Business Plan Competition

    The Opportunity Funding Corporation Venture Challenge is sponsored every year by Minority Entrepreneurship Education, Inc. The competition has existed since 2001 and its mission is to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to develop a comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum that would be particularly relevant in preparing young African-American men and women to become entrepreneurs.

    The Venture Challenge has two aspects – the local competition at each individual college, followed by the national competition held yearly in Atlanta. The internal contest is supervised by a faculty advisor at each university and determines which team will go on to the main competition. The local contest is run during the fall and winter of every year, starting in September and concluding in February.