You don’t have to win a startup competition to experience the benefits. Each competition that we have carefully researched offers networking and resource opportunities for every participant. But winning sure does come with its perks, too!
In total, the competitions below offer more than $3.3 million in fuel for your dreams. Ready to grab your piece of the pie?
Amazon Web Services LLC hosts its popular Start-Up Challenge to find creative and original startup ideas that offer greatest scalability and likelihood of success. The competitor pool is drawn from around the world, with entries from 78 different countries last year.
Substantial implementation and integration of Amazon Web Services products, originality and creativity, likelihood of long-term success and scalability, and effectiveness in addressing a need in the marketplace.
Startup Riot is a single day presentation conference and competition featuring thirty startups from around the world. Three-minute presentations are followed by three minutes of Q&A from a judging panel. Winners are determined by the judges and an audience vote.
30 startups present for 3 minutes each and then answer questions for 3 minutes. Judges choose five finalists and the audience members then help pick the top three winners.
Shopify hosts a competition for online entrepreneurs to think up a product idea, create an online shop and then successfully market and sell the product. Entrants receive mentorship from four well-known, successful entrepreneurs as well as guidance and advice from the Shopify community.
The four Shopify stores that sell the most over a two-month period, through 2/28/2013.
The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership Annual Business Plan Competition presents an excellent opportunity for New Jersey entrepreneurs to transform the ideas in their heads into solid, actionable plans on paper while competing for plenty of prizes in both for-profit and non-profit categories.
Based on many factors such as understanding the market, growth and sustainability planning, the development of competitive advantage, the availability of management and skill sets, the strength of vision, and well-defined goals.
The annual New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition presents aspiring entrepreneurs from Manhattan, the Bronx, or Staten Island with an opportunity to increase their business knowledge. Entrants who wish to start a business in those boroughs will compete for five cash prizes.
Judges evaluate each business plan based on its content, including the thoroughness and quality of its analysis, use of business information, and clear communication. Additional criteria include likelihood of execution, impact on the community, and impact of award money on startup launch.
Demo Day is the culmination of three months of intensive startup building and refinement. The sponsor, Y Combinator, invests a small amount of money in a selected group of startups, flies them to San Francisco, and provides work space, investor meetings, networking and other forms of assistance for the duration, after which – on DemoDay – each startup presents to a large group of well-vetted investors, VCs, angel investors, etc.
Most promising startups based on applications and interviews.
Members of the business community are invited to participate in the 2013 Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Business Plan Competition – Entrepreneur Track. In addition to it’s noted student competition, FAU offers a chance for non-students to vie for cash prizes, office space, legal and business services, and more in a contest for the best startup business plan.
Judged on which business plan most fully communicates the proof of concept, whether the concept and plan is fatally-flawed, fixable or perfect, whether it demonstrates good use of funds and return on investment, and whether it merits funding or further work. See judging criteria and judge scorecard on the website for details.
The CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge is a platform to grow the most innovative cleantech ideas that can have the greatest impact on how we produce and utilize energy into successful businesses. We’re working to inspire a new generation of energy entrepreneurs to serve the nation’s clean energy mission.
Teams will submit a 2 page executive summary business plan and a 5 minute video pitch for the semi-finals round, and the finalist teams will present their plans to judges on April 19th, 2013. Businesses will be evaluated on the following criteria: market validation and analysis, industry attractiveness, product and solution, business model, risk vs. talent and presentation quality.
The startup accelerator Greenstart holds an eponymous competition for cleantech startups that have an IT focus. Areas of submission include Smart Grid, Energy Efficiency, Consumer Services, and Transportation Companies with a Software Component.
Awards go to most promising cleantech startup with an IT focus.
The 2013 LAUNCH Festival hosts a well-known competition for startups and new products, with separate tracks for each sector. The Grand Jury is composed of seasoned investors and top journalists, and so, with a variety of VCs, angel investors and entrepreneurs attending, there will be plenty of opportunities for learning and networking.
Judging in three categories: Best Design, Best Technology and Best Overall.
While state residency is not required, The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition – Entrepreneur Track is open to anyone who agrees to establish or continue business operations in Rhode Island should they be named a finalist or winner. The competition is for both new business and seed stage companies with an idea, concept or product, but without much income yet.
Based on the merits of the plans’ commercial potential, innovative nature and technical feasibility, sustainable competitive advantage, team credibility.
MassChallenge is a huge four-month startup accelerator competition open to any high impact startup idea from anywhere around the world, with superb growth potential. However, MassChallenge stands out from other accelerator programs because it takes no equity in the startups and has no restrictions on an entrant’s business sector.
The public casts votes that count for 10% of overall score, and the evaluation of the application by the judge panel makes up the other 90%.
The expressed goal of the Cleantech Open Accelerator is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. This is the largest cleantech competition in the world, and works with hundreds of companies every year to provide help with mentoring, training, business clinics, access to investors and capital, and numerous opportunities to showcase green startups.
Winner chosen on concept and product, feasibility, prospective market, financials and profitability, sustainability, and team quality.
For the third year Daily Candy has held the Start Small, Go Big competition for the most promising fledgling businesses in the areas of Fashion, Health & Beauty, Food & Drink, Home, and Digital & Tech. After narrowing the field down to 18 contestants, public daily online voting will select the ultimate winners.
Details coming soon.
TechCrunch’s Disrupt event returns to San Francisco and features another competition for outstanding startups or new products with little or no public exposure. The finalists shall be featured with on-stage demonstrations and compete for the coveted “Disrupt Cup” during the event.
Startups judged on their “wow” factor, innovation, and potential change for and growth in sector.
The popular diaper company Huggies organizes a yearly grant award program specifically for startups and new product ideas inspired by the themes of moms and motherhood.
Entries judged on originality and creativity, the relevancy to grant theme, the potential commercial viability, and the stage of the idea or business.
The PITCH NYC Conference & Competition highlights new startups and high growth ventures with at least one female founding member. Finalists will make live presentations on stage during the conference.
Judged for the most disruptive web/mobile ventures, connected device companies, and double and triple bottom line ventures.
Over a four week span, the Boston-based business plan competition sees selected entrants compete to grow their new or existing idea into marketable shape. The top five competitors then face off to demonstrate their knowledge and application of business methodologies.
Based on quality of submissions during the four week process, mentors’ scorecards, and implementation of strategies from the “Lean Startup Method” by Eric Ries.
A featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Startup Open is an annual competition open to any startups less than 18 months old. Startup Open awards and rewards the top 50 startups in 2012.
Range of criteria including strength of concept, growth projections, and knowledge of the market.
The Founder Showcase is Silicon Valley’s leading seed-stage startup pitch event, gathering over 500 people each quarter to see pitches from promising seed-stage companies. The quarterly event features a completely free pitch competition for startups less than 2 years old and with less than $250,000 in funding.
Online public voting in initial stages, audience voting, judging panel.
Focuses on finding high quality Michigan-based startups to accelerate and support, and rewards the top entrants from several categories including New Business Idea and Emerging Company.
Judged on ingenuity, planning, market strategy, implementation, revenue model, presentation and other relevant areas.
Presents an excellent opportunity for entrants to receive high end constructive comments on their sustainable business plans, as well as interact with mentors, make valuable connections, and compete for cash, in-kind prizes and various awards. Winners are selected from both Idea-Phase and Venture-Phase categories in this decade-old contest.
Judged on the quality of the business plan’s product/service, market, strategy, operations, financials, team, presentation, and social and/or environmental impact, along with overall viability.
A part of the famous South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival held annually in Austin, TX, the SXSW Interactive Accelerator competition showcases the latest advancements in social media, mobile applications, and web entertainment with a strong focus on trend-setting and innovation.
Judged on the creativity and originality of the idea, its potential in areas of longevity, actualization and profitability, its functionality, and on the team members.
This competition is held in conjunction with the GoingGreen Silicon Valley 2012 and focuses on the most promising emerging green technologies and new cleantech entrepreneurial opportunities of the year. This includes private companies that are demonstrating significant market traction and pursuing game-changing technology.
Judging done by AlwaysOn editorial team along with partners at Morgan Stanley, SAP, KPMG, Hewlett-Packard, Goldman Sachs, Technology Partners, Bridge Bank, Sheppard Mullin, Silicon Valley Bank, NEA, and other industry experts. Companies are evaluated based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value, and media recognition.