Business plan competitions can be a great way to secure startup funds to launch your new business venture. Winners generally receive not just a cash award but a host of valuable support as well, including technical assistance, access to mentors and more. Here are a couple new business plan competitions:
- Carnegie Mellon Venture Challenge: The Carnegie Mellon Venture Challenge is an annual undergraduate only business plan competition. This year’s competition will feature $12,000 in prizes and is sponsored by Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, The Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association, and CMU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The deadline to apply is February 24th. The application process requires teams to submit an executive summary of their idea and an optional elevator pitch. Finalists will be notified by March 4th the final round will be held on Carnegie Mellon’s campus on April 4th where teams will present their business plans to a panel of judges. The total cash prize is $12,000. Visit the program website for more information.
- Philips Innovation Fellows Competition: Based on the concept of “open innovation,” Philips believes that everyone has the potential to change the way we live our lives – for the better. That’s why we are calling on you to submit the next big idea to address the gaps recently identified in their North American Innovation Report. According to research, nearly two-thirds of North Americans consider themselves innovators, and the majority of which believe they are sitting on an idea for “the next big thing,” and just need money and know-how to develop it. And, the top two items innovations felt were the key to achieving successful innovation was financial support from big companies and mentor relationships. Respondents also said successful innovation improves lives, makes daily life easier, and meets an unmet societal need. In other words, people are not as interested in technologies that are created for technology’s sake, but those that are meaningful. As a result, Philips is inviting entrepreneurs to submit their ideas for products and services that will help change the way we live. Competition entries should focus on the three areas of living well, being healthy, and enjoying life.What could you win? Ultimately, the grand-prize winner will receive a $60,000 contribution from Philips, as well as mentoring with Philips executives throughout the year. The remaining four finalists will also receive a $10,000 prize contribution from Philips. Additionally, all contestants who launch a campaign through Indiegogo and raise funds will keep any support raised during campaign. Register and submit your idea to www.philips.com/
innovationfellows. If your idea is selected, you will receive an e-mail confirmation about how to move onto Phase 2 of the competition, which will be to start your crowdfunding campaign. If you already have a campaign live on Indiegogo.com that is not already connected to another partner page, be sure to include a link to that campaign in your entry.