Graduate level student-entrepreneurs at universities worldwide are percolating new ideas and pitching them to business plan contests to a record pace. For a few, the result is money — and gobs of it. For example, the Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) — the world’s largest — will award more than $1 million in prizes to aid new startup businesses at the 11th annual competition at Rice University April 14-16.
Forty-two teams were selected from more than 500 entries, an application pool that was more than 20 percent higher than last year. They were chosen based on their executive summaries to compete in six categories: life sciences, information technology, energy and clean technology, green technology, renewable and recycling, and social and other. The teams will have 15 minutes to present business plans and the top six will vie for the big prize valued at $400,000.
The Rice University Business Plan Competition is the world’s largest and richest graduate-level business plan competition. It is hosted and organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship which is Rice University’s flagship initiative supporting entrepreneurship. The competition aims to give collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world way to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches and perhaps generate funding. Judges evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs seeking startup funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms.
2011 Rice Business Plan Competition teams
|Alusera||University of Gothenburg, Sweden|
|Amma Healthcare Technologies||Rice University|
|Antenatal Screening Kit||Johns Hopkins University|
|Arctic Sand||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Are You a Human?||University of Michigan|
|Black Locus||Carnegie Mellon University|
|BOSS Medical||Johns Hopkins University|
|C5 Bio||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|CamGaN||University of Cambridge, England|
|ClearBrook Imaging||The University of Texas at Austin|
|cycleWood Plastics||University of Arkansas|
|DeepScan||Thammasat University, Thailand|
|Diagenetix Inc.||University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa|
|EternoGen||University of Missouri|
|Exciton Systems||University of Illinois at Chicago|
|Fiddlers’ Green||Rice University|
|GreenCoat||The University of Texas at Austin|
|Hemova Medical||Johns Hopkins University|
|iLumi Lighting Solutions||The University of Texas at Dallas|
|Innovators||Indian Institute of Technology|
|Janus||Universidade Federal Minas Gerais, Brazil|
|Osteocene||Baylor College of Medicine / Rice|
|PK Clean||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|PulmoCAD||Washington University in Saint Louis|
|Purisorb Inc.||Dalhousie University, Canada|
|QR Code City||Brigham Young University|
|Quantitative Insights||The University of Chicago|
|ReGenerate Solutions||University of Michigan|
|ReGreen Technologies||Georgia Institute of Technology|
|RhoMania||Carnegie Mellon University|
|Sahara Botanicals||University of Oxford, England|
|San + CO||Northwestern University|
|Secure InfoShare||Georgia Institute of Technology|
|ShuaTech Chemical Systems||Louisiana Tech University|
|Smartershade||University of Notre Dame|
|Somatis Technologies||University of Southern California|
|StaticFlow Analytics||University of Washington|
|Sulico||London Business School, England|
|TiFiber||University of Arkansas|
|Titin||Georgia Institute of Technology|
|TNG Pharmaceuticals||University of Louisville|
Prizes this year include the $150,000 Investment Grand Prize from The GOOSE Society of Texas, the $100,000 Waste Management “Think Green” Investment Prize, the $100,000 DFJ Mercury Tech Transfer Investment Prize, and $100,000 Opportunity Houston / Greater Houston Partnership Technology Prize, the $100,000 Opportunity Houston / Greater Houston Partnership Life Science Prize, the $100,000 Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) Prize for CleanTech Innovation, and the $75,000 OWL Investment Prize.
In 2011, applications increased nearly 20% from the previous year. More than 100 corporate and private sponsors support the business plan competition. Venture capitalists and other investors from around the country volunteer their time to judge the competition, with the majority of the 250+ judges coming from the investment sector. More than 100 past competitors have gone on to successfully launch their business and are still in business today, raising in excess of $327 million in funding.
“Great ideas are just that – great,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance. “But, taking that novel idea ensuring it holds a competitive advantage in the market, conducting market research and identifying opportunities, demonstrating management capability, financial understanding and investment potential are what develop that great idea into a venture and hopefully a financially successful business.”
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.