The stepping stone of starting a business is coming up with a business plan. Ambitious entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for the right platform for the execution and growth of their business plans. Business Plan (bPlan) Competitions offer this opportunity to aspiring entrepreneurs to demonstrate their innovation, grit, and mettle in business.
Mentorship: These competitions have a hand-selected group of experts in the fields related to entrepreneurship. Most of the time, the judges/mentors are CEOs of successful startups or academics. Young entrepreneurs can benefit from their mentorship, especially in handling crises and high-pressure situations.
Networking and Exposure: These bPlan competitions are a hub of investors, entrepreneurs, and other major players in the field. The bigger the competition, the better media coverage it will receive. This is a golden opportunity to expand one’s network pool and connect with important potential investors, experts, and peers in the field.
Skill Enhancing: Being a part of the competition will involve competing with similar participants on different grounds. For example, pitching a product to the audience and the judge is one of the finest tricks of the trade. Therefore, these competitions can work as a general guideline in enhancing and nurturing the skill of pitching your products to the clientele in the field.
Critical Inputs: Being a part of these competitions will help in building critical inputs required for the further sustenance of the business. Being a participant will make one think critically about the business plan. These competitions go beyond just a theoretical understanding of a startup model and need projected execution and calculated results.
Funding and Rewards: When it comes to funding, some of these competitions can be extremely generous with the fund and awards they provide to their winners. However, others offer rewards apart from monetary investments as well, which could be contracts or early investors, amongst other reward options.
Every year several universities, firms, governments, and other independent organizations conduct bPlan competitions for entrepreneurs across the globe. These competitions are swamped with applicants, and the huge events are a must-try for any aspiring entrepreneur looking for a groundbreaking start.
Major Business Plan Competitions
Startup Worldcup 2021: Powered by Fenox Venture Capital, this is one of the biggest startup competitions with around 40 plus regional events culminating in a Grand Finale in Silicon Valley. Its focus includes industries geared towards healthcare, artificial intelligence, financial technology transportation, amongst others.
Entry Fee: Free to apply for regional events
Prize/Reward: $1,000,000 in investment
Official Website: https://www.startupworldcup.io/
Global Startup Competition 2021: This is probably the quirkiest startup pitch competition where the battle literally takes place inside a boxing ring, but you’re fighting with your business pitch as a weapon. The competition is sponsored by Netherland’s ‘Get In The Ring’ Foundation. For 2021 due to the Covid 19 crisis, the competition will be virtual, and the grand finals will be available on the live stream to all viewers.
Entry Fee: There is no entry fee
Prize/Reward: 1-year business development support with expenses covered; an investment offer of up to €500,000.
Official Website: https://getinthering.co/global-final-2021/
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards: Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards looks for women-run and women-driven impactful businesses. This award provides financial capital support, human capital support, and social capital support to women entrepreneurs. The aim is to make the Startup economy more accessible to women. And further to encourage women entrepreneurs to drive their ventures forward with the help of capital and other kinds of support.
Entry Fee: Free of cost
Prize/Reward: US$ 100,000 grant for each of the seven laureates (top business from each region) and US$ 30,000 grant for each of the 14 finalists (2nd and 3rd runner-up businesses from each region).
Official website: https://www.cartierwomensinitiative.com/regional-awards
Seedstars World Competition: This competition helps startups at the seed stage. It supports startups with a broad industry base. The participating startups pass through local and regional competitions to gain a spot at the global finals. For 2021 all the competitions were held remotely and could be easily streamed on the official website.
Entry: Free of Cost
Prize/ Reward: Up to $ 500,000 in equity investments as well as other cash and kind prizes depending on the win.
Official website: https://www.seedstarsworld.com/regional-summits/
Global Student Entrepreneur Awards: This is the world’s biggest premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university. Nominees compete for a position at the GSEA Global Finals. Students in their graduate-level studies are eligible for this competition. However, they must be a founder of a business or a shareholder in one. In addition, the company or startup must have at least a $ 500 turnout and (or) a $1000 investment.
Official website: https://gsea.org/
Prize/Reward: The prize package of US$25,000 in cash and a total value of over $40,000, including travel/lodging expense paid trip to compete in the Global Finals. The second place will receive US$10,000, and the third place will receive US$5,000.
The Arab Startup Competition: The MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition is an annual competition with the aim of empowering entrepreneurs and an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Arab region. The participants can benefit from the media exposure, mentoring, and top-tier training offered by the competition.
Prize/Reward: The winning team receives prize money in equity-free funds.
Official Website: https://www.mitarabcompetition.com/#about-asc
Startup competitions are nothing short of a big deal because big names like Dropbox are associated with the success of these competitions. However, it is very important before diving into any startup competition to make sure that the startup is ready according to the scale of the competition. While all the listed competitions are global, there are several regional competitions for business plans and startups that entrepreneurs can explore before making the giant leap.