World’s Richest and Largest Business Plan Contest

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

Business NameUniversity
AluseraUniversity of Gothenburg, Sweden
Amma Healthcare TechnologiesRice University
Antenatal Screening KitJohns Hopkins University
Arctic SandMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Are You a Human?University of Michigan
Black LocusCarnegie Mellon University
BOSS MedicalJohns Hopkins University
C5 BioMassachusetts Institute of Technology
CamGaNUniversity of Cambridge, England
ClearBrook ImagingThe University of Texas at Austin
cycleWood PlasticsUniversity of Arkansas
DeepScanThammasat University, Thailand
Diagenetix Inc.University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
EternoGenUniversity of Missouri
Exciton SystemsUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Fiddlers’ GreenRice University
GreenCoatThe University of Texas at Austin
Hemova MedicalJohns Hopkins University
iLumi Lighting SolutionsThe University of Texas at Dallas
InnovatorsIndian Institute of Technology
JanusUniversidade Federal Minas Gerais, Brazil
NeuvelNorthwestern University
OsteoceneBaylor College of Medicine / Rice
PK CleanMassachusetts Institute of Technology
PulmoCADWashington University in Saint Louis
Purisorb Inc.Dalhousie University, Canada
QR Code CityBrigham Young University
Quantitative Insights The University of Chicago
ReGenerate Solutions University of Michigan
ReGreen TechnologiesGeorgia Institute of Technology
RhoManiaCarnegie Mellon University
Sahara BotanicalsUniversity of Oxford, England
San + CONorthwestern University
Secure InfoShareGeorgia Institute of Technology
ShuaTech Chemical SystemsLouisiana Tech University
SmartershadeUniversity of Notre Dame
Somatis TechnologiesUniversity of Southern California
StaticFlow AnalyticsUniversity of Washington
SulicoLondon Business School, England
TiFiberUniversity of Arkansas
TitinGeorgia Institute of Technology
TNG PharmaceuticalsUniversity 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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Filed Under: AngelsBizFinanceEditor's PicksFeaturedStartupSmarts

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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.

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  1. Dan:

    Hope you can give a “shout out” about this competition on Monday, April 11!

    Seventh Annual Pace University Pitch Contest, in association with the MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC

    * Welcome: Neil Braun, Dean of the Lubin School of Business at Pace University; Former NBC Television Network President and CEO of Viacom Entertainment

    * Keynote Speaker: Stanley S. Litow, President of the IBM Foundation

    * Special Guest: “Bill Gates’ favorite teacher” Sal Khan, Founder of the Khan Academy

    Cheer these SIX promising new venture FINALISTS as they deliver a LIVE 3-minute pitch to sell VC judges & 700 audience members on the feasibility of their entrepreneurial idea, business model, marketing strategy, competitive analysis & financial plan:

    NEW BUSINESS CONCEPTS
    • Reslutions – Streamlines and improves front and back office processes of collegiate housing/residential departments.
    • FitHopper – Offers members access to unlimited fitness service providers anywhere in the world, without contract obligations.
    • The Lean Canteen – Mobile food cart that will serve an assortment of low calorie frozen entrées combined with a healthy side and bottled water to form a complete 500 calorie meal.

    SOCIAL VENTURES
    • Guiding Proud – One-on-one mentoring for LGBTQ youth, to foster self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of worth.
    • Little Big Loan – Connecting underprivileged youth that cannot attend college due to financial challenges with individual lenders (peer-to-peer lending).
    • Malo Traders – Committed to combating extreme poverty and malnutrition by purchasing, storing, processing, and fortifying rice grown by small-scale farmers.
    DISTINGUISHED JUDGING PANEL
    • Kevin Bolen, Partner, Innosight
    • Somak Chattopadhyay, Principal, GSA Venture Partners
    • Jalak Jobanputra, Director of Investments, Omidyar Network
    • Stanley S. Litow, President, IBM International Foundation
    • David S. Rose, Chairman, New York Angels
    • Lori Smith, Partner, Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP

    VENUE: Pace University (east of City Hall) , One Pace Plaza – Enter at 3 Spruce Street
    Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts
    New York, NY 10038

    ONLINE REGISTRATION:
    Free to attend but must register at http://www.pace.edu/pitch

    For futher details: read the press release – http://pressroom.blogs.pace.edu/2011/03/15/news-release-win-over-investors-in-3-minutes-the-pace-pitch-contest-april-11-pace-university-nyc-campus

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