Competitions & Opportunities for Student Entrepreneurial Projects (Database of Competitions)
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This list is in order of the date it is due annually. If you know of any others, please forward them to Alex, ajz9uc@virginia.edu
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NameLocationDue Date
Competition Date
Grand PrizeWebsiteNotes
UVA Teams At Least Finalists
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Tulane Business Model CompetitionNew Orleans, LA01 - JanuaryApril$25,000 plus entry into the International Business Model Competitionhttp://lepage.tulane.eduThe Tulane Business Model Competition (TBMC) seeks early-stage ventures that can demonstrate a market-tested ability to adapt to customers’ needs. The competition is open to teams led by at least two and no more than five students enrolled in a college or university and awards $40,000 in prizes. The winner of the TBMC receives an automatic invite to compete in the quarterfinal round of the International Business Model Competition.
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Cardinal ChallengeLouisville, KY01 - JanuaryMarch$100,000http://business.louisville.edu/cardinalchallenge/Bring your best pitch to this year’s heavy hitting business plan competition as 12 teams of entrepreneurial graduate students gather in Louisville for their chance to win more than $100,000 in business start-up cash and prizes. -- ONLY GRADUATE STUDENTS
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eFestMinneapolis, MN02 - FebruaryApril$100,000https://eiexchange.com/e-festStudent teams can enter seven-minute videos and 15 slides detailing their business ideas by February 17, 2017. Judges will select 25 finalist teams to participate in e-Fest. The teams with the three best business ideas will receive $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 in prizes, with an additional $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 in grants going to their universities to support entrepreneurship education. A Friday night Innovation Challenge will award $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 in scholarships to student teams who develop the best solution to a business problem unveiled that night.Divison 1-on-1
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UVA Entrepreneurship Cup - Discovery
Charlottesville, VA
02 - February
February5000 to 5 teams eachhttp://entrepreneurship.virginia.edu/ecup/discoveryThe Discovery Competition is based upon the principles of effectuation, a problem solving process that expert entrepreneurs undertake after they have conceived of their idea (Stage I: Concept), but before they invested significant time and money into the project (Stage III: Launch!). By focusing upon the “fit” between customer needs or wants and the project’s product or service, as well as the personal skills, connections and effort students bring to this challenge, this stage of the competition requires students to—and rewards students who—demonstrate that they have taken steps to “de-risk” their idea, perhaps the most crucial step in the startup process.UVA Competition
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Stu Clark Investment ChallengeWinnipeg, MB02 - FebruaryMarch$20,000 CADhttp://umanitoba.ca/faculties/management/academic_depts_centres/centres_institutes/entrepreneurship/competitions/stu-clark-investment-competition.htmlGrad students only
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Emerge Americas Start up ShowcaseMiami, FL02 - FebruaryApril$175,000https://gust.com/organizations/emerge-americas-2019Think you might be on to something big? Showcase your innovation at eMerge Americas and compete with over 100 startups from around the globe. With hundreds of angel investors and venture capitalists on the EXPO floor, the exposure alone is powerful. Winning has its perks, too—a suite of prizes. Registration for the 2018 Startup Showcase is now available.Babylon Microfarms
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AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup
Pittsburgh02 - FebruaryFebruary$50,000http://www.hardwarecup.com/Win $50,000 to grow your hardware startup! Applications are now open for the 2018 AlphaLab Gear Hardware Cup, a pitch competition for early-stage physical product companies. Don't let the term "hardware" scare you off! Any physical product company can apply: manufactured products, IoT/connected devices, health/medical, consumer products, consumer electronics, food, fashion, robotics, etc. Learn more and apply here. Deadline for the East Coast regional is February 7th. Questions? Email Leah Simoncelli at leah@alphalabgear.org.
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ASME Innovation Showcase IShowWashington, DC02 - FebruaryApril$25,000https://www.asme.org/events/competitions/asme-ishowat least 1 team member must be an engineer, must be students (grad or undergrad).
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Rice University Business Plan CompetitionHouston, TX
02 - February
April$20,000 & over $600,000 in investments/serviceshttps://rbpc.rice.edu/minimum 2 person team, focused on business plan
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P3 Student Design CompetitionWashington, DC
02 - February
April$90,000
https://www.epa.gov/P3/p3-application-overview
EPA's P3 – People, Prosperity and the Planet—Program is a unique college competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future. P3 offers students quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life. The competition has two phases. For the first phase of the competition, teams are awarded a $15,000 grant to develop their idea. They showcase their research in April at the National Sustainable Design Expo as part of the competition for an additional grant of up to $75,000 to apply their design to a real world application.
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Rice 360 Global Health Technologies Design CompetitionHouston, TX
02 - February
MarchPrize money is donated to a charity working on winning team's global health problemhttp://www.rice360.rice.edu/2016-design-competitionThe competition will feature over 20 student teams from national and international universities who will present their low-cost global health technologies. Entries will be judged on the quality of the problem definition, the effectiveness and potential impact of the design solution, and the likelihood that the solution can be successful in improving healthcare delivery in low-resource settings by faculty, clinicians, and private and public sector partners from around the country.
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New Venture ChampionshipPortland, Oregon
02 - February
April$25,000https://business.uoregon.edu/nvc/The New Venture Championship (NVC) is presented annually by the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business. It is the original six-round business competition for graduate students. NVC has evolved into the premiere international entrepreneurial investment competition since it was founded in 1992. The 16 accepted teams have an opportunity to share their ventures and grow as both entrepreneurs and students.
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Big Bang Entrepreneurship CompetitionDavis, CA
02 - February
May$10,000http://gsm.ucdavis.edu/program-detail/big-bang-business-competitionThe Big Bang! provides a rich immersion for students, faculty, researchers and staff interested in starting or growing a business venture. In addition to the business competition, the Big Bang! offers a comprehensive series of workshops for building entrepreneurial skills. Big Bang! runs October through May—get involved and start developing your Big Idea.
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Draper Competition for Collegiate Women EntrepreneursNorthampton, MA03 - MarchApril$10,000 and up to three scholarships to Draper University of Heroeshttps://www.smith.edu/academics/conway-center/entrepreneurship/competitions/draperYou need a female team leader, but team can have guys on it too.
Sugaway, Airbae, Yedea Telemedicine, North Shea
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Values and Venutres CompetitionFort Worth, TX03 - MarchApril$25,000.00http://neeley.tcu.edu/vandv/A unique annual competition for undergraduate students around the world to pitch plans for businesses, products or services that make a profit while also benefiting the environment, the community or a specific population.PAKA, Division 1-on-1
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App Idea AwardsNYC03 - MarchMay$70,000 worth of design and development to build their app, without sacrificing any equity or intellectual property rights.http://www.appideaawards.com/#homenot for people with apps... but with app ideas. perfect if you cant build it or find a technical cofounder.
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International Business Model Competition
Stanford University
03 - MarchMay$25,000http://www.businessmodelcompetition.com/apply.htmlminimum 2 person team, less than$100,000 prior funding, focused on the business model canvas
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Super Demo
Charlottesville, VA
03 - MarchApril$3,000https://superdemo.splashthat.comSuper Demo is a regional showcase of the coolest student projects and innovations. Select groups from schools across the country will be chosen to present projects in tech and entrepreneurship, competing for $3000 in prize money.
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The Big SellMerrillville, IN03 - MarchMarch$3,000 plus $20,000+ in serviceshttp://www.thebigsell.org/must choose between technology, social/environmental, or 'open' categories
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Tom Tom Crowdfunded Pitch Night
Charlottesville, VA
03 - MarchAprilVarieshttps://tomtomfest.com/crowdfunded-pitch-night/Launch your business during this adrenaline filled night of innovative ideas! 10 finalists will be selected to pitch their business idea in an effort to win the crowd’s vote. The winner the pot of money donated by the crowd and the iLab matches it up to $2500.
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UVA Galant Challenge
Charlottesville, VA
03 - MarchApril250000 in possible equityhttp://galantchallenge.comThe Galant Challenge connects promising, UVA-affiliated, seed-and early-stage ventures with potential investment capital. Since 2012, the Challenge has connected participating ventures with greater than $1,000,000 of capital. UVA Competition
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UVA Entrepreneurship Cup - Launch
Charlottesville, VA
03- MarchApril$20,000http://entrepreneurship.virginia.edu/ecup/launchLaunch! is the third and final stage of the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup, and its goal is to showcase and provide seed funds to the most compelling student ventures. Upwards of $50,000 in total prize and in-kind resources will be awarded to the top teams. The deadline for submissions is High Noon on April 1st (no joke!).UVA Competition
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Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community ChallengeJune04 - AprilMay$25,000www.nyhealthchallenge.comDo you have a healthcare-focused business idea or startup? Apply to the Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, a six-month program with $25,000 in prize money. Innovations must address the 2018 topic “Empowering Patients and Communities” and solve a healthcare problem facing underserved communities in NYC, LI, and the Hudson Valley. Applicants do not have to be from NY.
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Tech.Co's Startup of the YearSilicon Valley, CA04 - AprilSeptemberAccess to possibe invesmtnethttp://startupofyear.tech.co/This program seeks diverse startups from all over the world, especially from areas that are newly emerging in the tech scene. It provides opportunities for startups to network with established brand leaders, investors and mentors in the tech industry and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
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BMEideaBoston04 - April$10,000http://venturewell.org/students/bmeidea/Only 1 project per department and 3 per university can be nominated for the competition- Ask Alex if you're thinking about applying ( https://venturewell.org/wp-content/uploads/BMEidea-guidelines.pdf )InMedBio
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Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT)Boston05 - May$20,000http://venturewell.org/students/debut/
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American Telugu Association Business Idea ContestChicago, IL06 - JuneJuly$1,500http://www.ataconference.org/business-idea-competition
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Collegiate Inventor's CompetitionWashington, DC06 - JuneNovember$10,000http://collegiateinventors.org/application-information/The Collegiate Inventors Competition is the nation's foremost competition encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity in students nationwide. The Expo allows finalists to interact directly with USPTO patent examiners, USPTO employees, corporate sponsors, and members of the Washington D.C. intellectual property community.
Contraline, AgroSpheres, InMEDBio
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Hello Tomorrow Challenge
Paris, France06 - JuneOctober$100,000http://hello-tomorrow.orgWhat do you win? $100,000 for the grand prize winner, and $15,000 for the winner of each track. Additionally, the top 500 startups (100 from each continent) will be invited to the Hello Tomorrow Summit to meet and interact with sector-specific and invite-only investors, top executives and fellow founders.They will be featured in the Global Startup Ranking of early stage SciTech startups, published in more than 100 countries by Hello Tomorrow, top universities and media partners. AgroSpheres
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Energy Startup Competition @SPE ATCEDallas, TX07 - JulySeptember$20,000http://www.atce.org/schedule/atce-startup-village
The competition is open to all emerging energy technology companies with application in the Upstream O&G sector.
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Energy Startup CompetitionSan Antonio, TX08- AugustOctober$10,000https://www.spe.org/en/events/atce/attend/startup-village-energy-startup-competition/The competition is open to ALL emerging energy technology companies with application in the Upstream O&G sector. Competitors will receive visibility among leaders in the upstream energy industry, recognition as technology leaders, opportunity for cash prizes, networking with leading energy investors, and mentoring.
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Kraft Heinz Canada Innovation ChallengeToronto, Canada08- AugustSeptember$50,000https://www.f6s.com/kraftheinzcanadainnovationchallenge/apply
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M12 Female FoundersMicrosoft
09 - September
November$2,000,000https://m12.vc/female-founders/M12, Microsoft's Venture Fund, is investing in female founders! Top applicants from across North America, Europe and Israel will compete in a live pitch competition, with 2 winners selected from the global entrants. Each winning company will receive $2M of funding from a combination of M12 and each VC Partner (pursuant to due-diligence and agreement between parties), up to $250K in Azure credits for use over 2 years, and 100 Office 365 E3 licenses for use over 2 years (Approximate Retail Value $72,000).
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Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize CompetitionCambridge, MA
09 - September
June$15,000http://lemelson.mit.edu/studentprizemust be a student founded and led team, own all intellectual property
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SLU Pure Idea Generator ChallengeSt. Louis, MO
09 - September
$1,000https://vimeo.com/112229321
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Urban SOSLos Angeles, CA08 - AugustJanuary$40,000www.aecom.com/urbansosFair Share: the 2016 Urban SOS competition, calls on multidisciplinary teams of students to come together and apply the tools and technologies of the sharing economy to support more equitable access to resources, improve the built environment and enrich the quality of life of urban residents.
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BDL AccelerateBeirut, Lebanon10 - OctoberNovember$20,000http://bdlaccelerate.com/2016/competition/We select on merit only, guaranteeing the best from around the world. It doesn’t matter if you can afford to participate, BDL Accelerate will provide selected startups with free registration, free exhibition space, a free booth, free branding, and free accommodation for 3 nights in a 4 star hotel in the heart of Beirut.
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Extreme Tech ChallengeNecker Island10 - OctoberNovember
Top 3 go to Necker Island (owned by Richard Branson in the caribbean)
http://extremetechchallenge.com/The Extreme Tech Challenge is the world’s largest startup competition with Sir Richard Branson as our anchor judge and the world’s largest consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, CES, as a strategic partner for the semi-finals. Great value lies in our community with exposure to thousands of startups around the world and some of the most successful technology luminaries.
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UVA Entrepreneurship Cup - Concept
Charlottesville, VA
10- OctoberNovember$1000 to 25 teamshttp://entrepreneurship.virginia.edu/ecup/conceptThe purpose of the Concept stage of the competition is to surface and seed ideas from all parts of the university at every stage of development. Students are encouraged to come up with out-of-the-box ideas that could be translated into compelling projects. Submissions are not expected to be a full business plan, and will not be penalized for not having a working prototype, fully developed team, forecast, revenues, etc.UVA Competition
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Baylor New Venture CompetitionTexas10 - OctoberFebruary$60,000http://www.baylor.edu/business/newventurecompetition/The Baylor New Venture Competition on-campus event is a two-day business plan competition and speed pitch competition promoting entrepreneurship. The Baylor New Venture Competition is an all-student competition and is all about coaching, connection, collaboration, and new venture creationRhoback
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World Bank Group Youth Summit: Technology and Innovation for ImpactWashington, DC10 - OctoberDecemberin-kind prizeshttp://www.worldbank.org/en/events/2017/08/08/world-bank-group-youth-summit-2017#3Rapid technological changes have created both challenges and opportunities around the world, we must take advantage of the inherent transformative potential of technology to make the world more prosperous and inclusive for all. If you could take advantage of today’s technology and solve any problem or need, what would it be?
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Commonbond Social Impact AwardNew York, NY10 - OctoberNovember$10,000https://go.commonbond.co/sia?utm_source=cbApplications are now open for the 5th Annual CommonBond Social Impact Award. Finalists will be flown to NYC in November to pitch to a panel of all-star judges. The winner will receive $10,000 and get a year of startup coaching from CommonBond's leadership team.
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EMRG Student InnovationNew York, NY10 - OctoberNovember$30,000http://ramenworks.com/emrgEMRG is a New York based innovation conference that showcases a mix of emerging startups and student talent. 15 teams will compete in front of a panel of 5 judges and a live audience to be crowned the most innovative seed-stage company of 2018. The top three teams are awarded up to $30,000 in funding, while all teams capture the attention of NYC's top investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners.
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Novo Nordis Innovation (Diabetes)USA10 - OctoberMarch$25,000https://novonordisk.innovationchallenge.com/skild2/novonordisk/loginPage.actionNovo Nordisk is seeking digital solutions that will improve the experience of people living with diabetes, empower people to improve their self-care and achieve a sense of normalcy, and enable smarter, more efficient management of diabetes. Selected teams receive $25,000, mentorship, and the opportunity to co-develop you solution with Novo Nordisk.
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Thought for FoodSwitzerland
11 - November
April$10,000http://www.tffchallenge.com/challenge/Selected by an esteemed panel of judges, based on which teams have the largest potential to help feed 9+ billion people by the year 2050.Agrospheres
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AUS New Venture ChallengeSharjah, UAE
12 - December
Februaryhttps://nvc.aus.edu/Only for Graduate students
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Global Social Venture CompetitionUC Berkeley, CA
12 - December
April$25,000http://gsvc.org/apply/Empowers the next generation of social entrepreneurs by providing them with mentoring, exposure, and over $80,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into ventures that address the world’s most pressing challenges. Teams from across the globe learn how to design scalable models through a process that emphasizes stakeholder discovery, business innovation, and social impact assessment.
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Student Startup Madness
Austin, TX
12 - December
MarchPitch at SXSWhttps://studentstartupmadness.com/Digital Media startups. Competition open from August to December. Finals at SXSW
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D-PrizeOnline
12 - December
unsure$20,000https://www.d-prize.org/The world has already invented ways to end poverty, yet the best interventions are not being distributed at mass-scale. Can you design a business or NGO that solves one of the Distribution Challenges below? If selected we will award you up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in any region where extreme poverty exists.
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TigerLaunchPrinceton, NJ
12 - December
April$15,000https://www.tigerlaunch.com/#home-section
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Cisco Global Problem Solver ChallengeVirtual
12 - December
March$100,000https://cisco.innovationchallenge.com/cisco-global-problem-solver-challenge-2018This challenge aims to recognize student entrepreneurs that promote and accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technologies, products and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems. (OPEN TO RECENT GRADS TOO)
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Challenge.govManyManyManyDependshttps://www.challenge.gov/list/Check here for many different government sponsored competitions
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Ultra Light Startups
Boston & New York
Ongoing (multiple events)
Ongoing$20,000 plus serviceshttp://ultralightstartups.com/focused on energy and software
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TechWeek Launch Dallas
Dallas, TXOpenOctober$50,000http://techweek.com/Launch/
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TechWeek Launch LALos Angeles, CAOpenNovember$50,000http://techweek.com/Launch/
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TechWeek Launch NYCNY, NYOpenOctober$50,000http://techweek.com/Launch/
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TechWeek Launch Toronto
Toronto, CanadaOpenJuly$50,000http://techweek.com/Launch/
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