Insights for Entrepreneurs

Startup Competition Guide: A Giant List of The Best Business Contests

Startup competitions. The trial-by-fire opportunity that could launch your dream into reality.

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 million in fuel for your dreams. Ready to grab your piece of the pie?

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The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge

Entry Deadline: 6/1/2017

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge - which offers a €500,000 first prize - is now in its 10th year and individuals or businesses who provide products or services that can reduce CO2 emissions are eligible to enter.

Judging Criteria: http://www.greenchallenge.info/index.php/competition/entry-criteria

Eligibility: N/A

Awards & Prizes: €500,000

Sponsors: Postcode Lottery

Year Started: 2007

Previous Winners: bio-bean LTD, Land Life Company, bioMason, and many more

Contact Person: Rachel Ruxton

Email: rachel.ruxton@postcodelottery.co.uk

Phone: N/A

New York StartUP! 2017 Business Plan Competition

Entry Deadline: 6/6/2017

Entry Fee: N/A

Description: The New York Public Library in conjunction with its sponsor, Citi Foundation, is proud to announce the 5th Annual New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition for New York-based startup entrepreneurs with cash prizes totaling over $30,000. Entrants gain practical insights about starting and growing a business, while using the comprehensive small business resources at NYPL’s Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL).

Judging Criteria: The judges will evaluate each Business Plan based on the following: 1) Content of the plan, including the thoroughness and quality of the analysis 2) Effective use of business information and research 3) Clear communication. 4) Effective use and impact of the prize money 5) Probability of successful launch 6) Community Impact and job creation potential 7) Quality and effectiveness of final presentation (in the event the applicant becomes a finalist and is invited to present)

Eligibility: You must live in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island. Your business must be in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island. All businesses must have ideas or business models in the start-up phase and have earned less than $10,000.

Awards & Prizes: Cash prizes of up to $15,000

Sponsors: Citi Foundation & New York Public Library

Year Started: 2010

Previous Winners: Harlem Chocolate Factory, Just Jazzy Cakes, Field & Clover, and many more

Contact Person: Anne Lehmann

Email: annelehmann@nypl.org

Phone: (917) 275-6975

Startupfest $200K Investment Prize

Entry Deadline: 7/14/2017

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: We’ve taken the $100k prize, and doubled it. So the investment prize is now $200,000. The best part? One startup may walk away with all of it, or two may split it. It’s up to you to convince the judges

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: N/A

Awards & Prizes: Up to $200,000 in investment

Sponsors: Service Affaires, Intuit QuickBooks, Fasken Martineau, and many more

Year Started: Unknown

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: N/A

Email: N/A

Phone: N/A

Cartier Women's Initiative Awards

Entry Deadline: 8/31/2017

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: Since 2006, the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards has supported over a 181 female entrepreneurs worldwide. Each year, 18 finalists representing 6 regions (Latin America, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Asia-Pacific) are selected during the first round of the competition. These finalists are invited to attend the Awards week in Singapore during which the second round of the competition takes place. After the final jury evaluation, 6 laureates, one for each region, are announced on stage during the Awards ceremony.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: Female entrepreneurs

Awards & Prizes: Up to $100,000 and one-on-one mentorship

Sponsors: Cartier

Year Started: 2006

Previous Winners: Candice Pascoal, Ciara Donlon, Katie Anderson, and many more

Contact Person: Gabrielle De Mijolla

Email: gabrielle.de-mijolla@cartier.com

Phone: N/A

2017 U.Pitch Competition & Showcase

Entry Deadline: Fall 2017

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: U.Pitch brings together the best students from a cross-section of universities in this ultimate elevator pitch competition.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: Students

Awards & Prizes: Up to $5,000

Sponsors: Future Founders, Capital One, Accenture, and many more

Year Started: 2014

Previous Winners: Seed Slide, Cocavana, HUK TV, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: http://futurefounders.com/contact/

Phone: N/A

The Lead Roster B2B Sales & Marketing Scholarship

Entry Deadline: 12/15/2017

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The Lead Roster B2B Sales & Marketing Scholarship is a highly competitive award for high school and college students interested in sales & marketing.

Judging Criteria: The Lead Roster scholarship puts the tools for winning in your hands by judging your entry on your ability to market and sell your own ideas!

Eligibility: Studying in the fields of Business, Marketing, Computer Science, Communications, or IT are recommended but not required. Being passionate about communicating your ideas is an absolute must.

Awards & Prizes: $1,000

Sponsors: N/A

Year Started: Unknown

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: Sebastian Timm

Email: sebastiantimm9@gmail.com

Phone: N/A

Hello Tomorrow Challenge

Entry Deadline: TBD

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: A global start-up competition covering all major fields of technology.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: The challenge is open to start-ups and innovative projects which... Are based on an innovative technology, Are under 2 years old, Have raised under €250.000

Awards & Prizes: Up to €100,000 in funding

Sponsors: N/A

Year Started: N/A

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: N/A

Email: contact@hello-tomorrow.org

Phone: N/A

Arch Grants Global Startup Competition

Entry Deadline: TBD

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: Since 2012, Arch Grants has awarded over $4 million in cash grants to 76 startup businesses that were willing to call St. Louis home. With the help of our program and support services, these companies have gone on to create over 300 jobs, generate nearly $28 million in revenue, and attract over $80 million in follow-on capital. Arch Grants Companies are growing at a fantastic pace.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: Preference will be given to companies that are beyond idea stage; bring with them teams of talented, diverse, and value-additive individuals; and demonstrate that the grant money and support services have a meaningful impact on company growth. We seek to attract entrepreneurs who are already located in St. Louis OR are willing to relocate here. Basing your business in St. Louis is a prerequisite for receiving the grant and all of our current entrepreneurs are investing their time in making the St. Louis startup scene even stronger.

Awards & Prizes: $50,000 equity-free, cash grant plus pro-bono services an networking opportunities

Sponsors: Arch Grants

Year Started: 2012

Previous Winners: Appbase, Applied Particle Technology, Arch Innotek, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: N/A

Phone: (314) 272-4857

Axel Springer Plug & Play Accelerator

Entry Deadline: TBD

Entry Fee: N/A

Description: Launched in 2013, the Axel Springer Plug & Play Accelerator is a Berlin-based accelerator looking for digital entrepreneurs. They provide global opportunities from day one, through their international network in Europe and Silicon Valley.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: N/A

Awards & Prizes: Investment opportunities

Sponsors: Accenture, DZ Bank, Ergo, and many more

Year Started: 2013

Previous Winners: Apparently Different, Book A Street Artist, Careship, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: plugandplay@axelspringer.de

Phone: N/A

CodeLaunch Pitch Day

Entry Deadline: TBD

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: CodeLaunch is an annual seed accelerator for people and groups with ideas for “Apps” who are seeking seed funding. The CodeLaunch Pitch Day is the culmination of the competition and a showcasing of the best competitors.

Judging Criteria: We are determining basic viability and whether our technical skillset can accommodate. Evaluating the business acumen and background of the applicant is also part of the process.

Eligibility: If you have an “idea for an app” and nothing more you are qualified to apply.

Awards & Prizes: http://www.codelaunch.com/Benefits/Index

Sponsors: Frisco, Optimus, PWC, and many more

Year Started: 2011

Previous Winners: Clear2Close, RAaAPS, eCharts, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: incubation@codeauthority.com

Phone: N/A

The Pitch 2017

Entry Deadline: TBD

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: Since starting as a pitching competition back in 2008 we’ve evolved into one of the UK’s most exciting small business programmes, geared up to educate, empower and enable entrepreneurs just like you to take your business to the next level.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: N/A

Awards & Prizes: http://www.thepitch.uk/#why

Sponsors: AVG, Constant Contact, Microsoft, and many more

Year Started: 2008

Previous Winners: propertECO, BioBean, AdvancetoGo, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: http://www.thepitch.uk/#footer

Phone: N/A

University Startup World Cup

Entry Deadline: TBD

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The University Startup World Cup is organized by Venture Cup, a Danish non-profit organization which has 15 year’s of experience hosting startup competitions for university startups. The vision is to create a network among international students in which they can be inspired, benchmark their ideas and turn academic knowledge into viable high-growth businesses.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: http://universityworldcup.com/venturecup/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/EligibilityRequirements.pdf

Awards & Prizes: Unknown

Sponsors: Novo Nordisk, Microsoft, YouNoodle, and many more

Year Started: Unknown

Previous Winners: VesaliusMed, Ecological Disposal Systems, TUBUSONE, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: info@universityworldcup.com

Phone: +45 38 15 33 77

Pitch Distilled

Entry Deadline: Varies

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: Pitch Distilled is a multi-city live pitch competition that brings this spirit to life, pairing aspiring entrepreneurs with a diverse cast of judges tasked with helping them kickstart the next big idea. After all, even a great idea could use a little distilling. And with a $5,000 grand prize on the line, the pressure is on.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: N/A

Awards & Prizes: $5,000 plus promoted across WIRED channels

Sponsors: WIRED, Jack Daniels, and many more

Year Started: 2017

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: Katie McNally

Email: katie_mcnally@wired.com

Phone: N/A

Global Startup Battle

Entry Deadline: Varies

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: GSB was created by the community and serves the community. It's your chance to stand up and show the world what you're all about. Rep your city, rep your region, bring home startup glory, and join a legacy of amazing GSB winners.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: http://www.globalstartupbattle.co/tracks

Awards & Prizes: http://www.globalstartupbattle.co/prizes

Sponsors: YouTube, Mr. Coffee, Branch Metrics, and many more

Year Started: Unknown

Previous Winners: Caleche, Smart Case, Tactile Eyesight, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: gsb@techstars.com

Phone: N/A

Get In The Ring

Entry Deadline: Varies

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The Get in the Ring Foundation is a global non-profit organization that connects startups to opportunities related to capital, talent and expertise.

Judging Criteria: Based on their pitch we score startups on their team, achievements, business model & market and their financials.

Eligibility: N/A

Awards & Prizes: If you are a high potential startup that can make an impact in your industry, your startups is no older than 8 years, you can pitch fluently in English and you have an innovative and scalable business idea/model, then you’re good to go!

Sponsors: STC, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, and many more

Year Started: 2012

Previous Winners: Braille Smartwatch, Templafy, and many more

Contact Person: N/A

Email: battle@gitr.co

Phone: N/A

Seedstars World Startup Competition

Entry Deadline: Varies

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The Final Event is a weeklong adventure consisting of a bootcamp, international conference and investor forum. It's an amazing chance to meet with investors, build a global network and grow your business.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: Startups must be no older than 2 years since founding and have received less than $500,000 in funding

Awards & Prizes: http://www.seedstarsworld.com/startup-competition/tracks-and-prizes/

Sponsors: Seedstars, Lastminute.com Group, Inmarsat, and many more

Year Started: Unknown

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: N/A

Email: info@seedstarsworld.com

Phone: N/A

1ST50K Startup Competition

Entry Deadline: Rolling

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: 1ST50K is a startup competition for startup business ideas that offers extensive support from a broad business network, pro-bono development services, and up to $50,000 in cash grants to entrepreneurs to establish or locate their businesses in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Judging Criteria: As our judges and competition committee review applications, they will consider: the innovation of the product, technology or service; product-market fit; the scalability of the business model; the total impact (including sales, social value, impact on users, partners, etc.); and the qualities of the entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team – their level of talent, diversity, and qualities which are value additive to the company.

Eligibility: 1ST50K is looking for innovative technologies, products, or services, driven by scalable business models with regional, national or international impact. We seek to attract entrepreneurs who are already located in Cape Girardeau OR are willing to relocate here. Basing your business in Cape Girardeau is a prerequisite for receiving a grant. Our network of entrepreneurs, partners and business leaders are investing their time and resources in making the Cape Girardeau startup scene even stronger. 1ST50K Startup Competition is an industry-agnostic competition. Our focus is on supporting businesses that are innovative and scalable, regardless of the industry.

Awards & Prizes: Up to $50,000 in cash grants plus business development services, pro bono services, and access to a broad network of successful entrepreneurs

Sponsors: Codefi, Cape Girardeau Area Magnet, The Bank of Missouri, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce

Year Started: 2015

Previous Winners: Nutlock

Contact Person: Caitlin Schlichting

Email: caitlin@truvae.io

Phone: N/A

G-Startup Worldwide

Entry Deadline: Rolling

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: G-Startup Worldwide is a global startup competition held around the world to find the most innovative, early stage startups, invest $1,000,000 in them, support them with a global network and enable them to change the world.

Judging Criteria: Traction, industry, product innovation, and team.

Eligibility: http://g-startup.com/eligibility/

Awards & Prizes: Up to $300,000 investment

Sponsors: Lyft, IBM, Qualcomm, and many more

Year Started: 2009

Previous Winners: App Annie, Polar Rose, Hyperverge, and many more

Contact Person: Kenny Liu

Email: kenny.liu@gwc.net

Phone: N/A

Web Summit ALPHA Programme

Entry Deadline: Rolling

Entry Fee: €1,950

Description: Each week we’re selecting early stage startups from around the world to exhibit as part of ALPHA.

Judging Criteria: N/A

Eligibility: N/A

Awards & Prizes: If you’re selected for ALPHA you get an exhibition stand, 4 tickets, opportunity to access Investor Office Hours, Mentor Hours, Startup University, Startup Workshops, Startup Roundtables and much more for €1,950.

Sponsors: Connected Intelligence Limited

Year Started: Unknown

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: N/A

Email: http://help.websummit.net/customer/portal/emails/new?ticket[labels_new]=Web%20Summit

Phone: N/A

Schoolpreneur.Biz Business Competition

Entry Deadline: N/A

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: Schoolpreneur.Biz is a startup platform for School children, which helps them presented their ideas and businesses to global audience. Schoolpreneur.Biz is promoted by TMA Worldwide LLC, a media & marketing organization with interests in publishing, events, advertising, pr and digital marketing. TMA Worldwide's vision is based on social enterprise to empower individuals and communities.

Awards & Prizes: Students from kindergarten through high school Seed investment

Sponsors: TMA Worldwide

Year Started: 2015

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: Tausif Malik

Email: tausif@tmaww.com

Phone: (773) 536-9786

SEEC Idea Pitch Competition

Entry Deadline: N/A

Entry Fee: No fee

Description: The SEEC Idea Pitch Competition presents students with a great opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges and a chance to win cash prizes. - See more at: http://www.ut.edu/seectampa/pitch/#sthash.o9pAXKnH.dpuf

Judging Criteria: http://www.ut.edu/seectampa/pitch/

Eligibility: University of Tampa students

Awards & Prizes: Cash prize of up to $2,500

Sponsors: University of Tampa

Year Started: Unknown

Previous Winners: N/A

Contact Person: Amanda Scherer

Email: amanda.scherer@spartans.ut.edu

Phone: (419) 733-2486