Here is a beginning of what will be a continuously-updated, comprehensive list of social entrepreneurship competitions. This database comes courtesy of Drew Durbin, our friend and inventor/CEO of Anza Technologies, based in Tanzania. Anza won over $100,000 in prize money fusing this competition database in 2009. Thanks, Drew!
Last year, the NYTimes gave entrepreneurs advice on how to enter, and win, business competitions. The article mentions a number of key competitions and includes advice from major players in the field about how to apply for competitions, put a plan together, impress judges, and attract investors.
The Camino Real Competition at UT-El Paso’s “primary purpose is to provide a venue for young entrepreneurs to develop a business concept from planning stage, to start up, and hopefully to product commercialization.” Students must submit business plans that will be judged based on the following criteria: 40% written business plan, 20% presentation, 40% viability of company. The upcoming competition will take place will take place March 4-5 2011. Select colleges only may apply. Submission of Binding Intent to Compete Form due October 5, 2010.
Cleantech Venture Challenge: University of Colorado
The Dell Social Innovation Competition awards seed funding to student-led ventures. Teams from all over the world apply online, and judges invite semifinalists to develop detauiled venture plans and record a 3-minute video pitch, which anyone can vote for online. Three finalists then compete for a $50,000 prize.
DoSomething.Homeorg’s Do Something Awards “honor the best young world-changers, 25 and under, that are making the world a better place.” First place receives $100,000; 2nd and 3rd each receive $10,000. DoSomething also awards $500 seed and growth grants–teams can apply anytime, and will hear back 2-3 months after submitting.
Echoing Green Fellowship This highly sought-after annual fellowship gives 20 inventor teams (out of 1,400 applicants) $90,000 each. An online application, including short essays and resume, is due December 1. Our featured team Global Cycle Solutions recently won one.
Hong Kong University’s Business Plan Competition allows teams to present their business proposals to panels of investors and executives that figure prominently in the world of Asian finance. The competition focuses specifically on graduate students in the HKUST community, but will admit undergraduate teams as well.
MIT Clean Energy Prize Teams compete in five categories for $200,000 grand prize, awarded by NStar and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Ball State University’s Miller College of Business Enterprise 8: Business Plan Tournament Each year, students from the U.S. and Canada compete for a $15,000 first prize. Teams compete in a free throw competition to determine seed-placing in a tournament bracket modeled on the NCAA’s annual March Madness.
Rice University Business Plan Competition Grand prize is valued at $370,000, and includes a major investment sponsored by The GOOSE Society of Texas, as well as many in-kind awards. Teams also compete for investment prizes and special awards.
Social Innovation Competition University of Texas – LBJ School of Public Affairs. First place receives $50,000.
Social Innovation Fund’s Social Finance Grants Awards$1,000-$5,000 in seed funding on an ongoing basis
Spirit of Enterprise Competition University of Cincinnati
The Stuart Clark Venture Challenge at the University of Manitoba is an invitation-only competition. Universities must submit a form of intent with a detailed business plan and team member profile.
Tulane Business Plan Competition Student teams compete for an annual grand prize of $50,000. All finalists receive a free trip to New Orleans, LA, where they present their business plans. Open to grad and undergrad.
USF-Pacific State Institute International Business Plan Competition Students from around the world submit business plans to compete for $25,000 in cash as well as attention from venture capitalists and media outlets. First place receives $10,000.
Venture Challenge San Diego St. In this well-established graduate-level business plan competition, students from top universities around the world compete for $25,000. Next competition takes place March 17-19, 2011.
Brown University $50,000 BP Competition First place receives $7,500 in cash and $25,000 in services.
Climate Leadership Challenge University of Wisconsin. $50,000 and the option to lease an incubator space is awarded to the “most action ready solution.” 2010′s winner, The Microformer, is a low-cost power distribution transformer that uses post-consumer resources, improving efficiency and supporting advanced and renewable fuel use in developing countries. Awards are also given out for Most Innovative Technical Solution, Most Innovative Non-technical Solution, and Runner Up for Most Action-Ready.
G Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition University of Wisconsin offers seminars throughout the school-year to help prepare potential entrepreneurs to create a viable business plan, the best of which receive awards in the spring.
New Ventures World Competition: University of Nebraska
Queen’s Entrepreneur’s Competition: Sponsored by Queens College, this competition has a $15,000 first prize as well as two $1,000 innovation awards. In the preliminary rounds, business plans are judged on business viability, financing, human resources, originality, marketing, production and operations. 16 finalists are then invited to present their plan to a panel of industry experts.
Tepper Venture Challenge: Carnegie Tepper School of Business