University Entrepreneurship Competition Roundup

Hands holding up a white sign with red letters saying "How do I start?"

These university entrepreneurship competitions give students a chance to delve into their business ideas.
Image: Shutterstock

The leap from student to full-fledged entrepreneur can be difficult, but increasingly there are opportunities designed to help students make the transition. Many universities offer entrepreneurship competitions that can not only provide participants with funds, but also get them used to pitching their ideas and coming up with prototypes. Here’s a rundown of a few of these contests:

Henry R. Kravis Concept Plan Competition 

Henry R. Kravis, a founding member of the Claremont McKenna College’s Board of Visitors, established a $175,000 endowment fund to help students take their entrepreneurial dreams from idea to full-fledged creation. Six teams of students and alumni compete to see if they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. The finalists present their business plans to a panel of judges for a chance to win $8,000 prize money.

MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition

A collection of three independent contests that run from September to May, the MIT $100K encourages students and researchers in the MIT community to coordinate in putting together business plans that can win over $350k in cash and prizes. The competition walks participants through ideation to creation and gives them access to a network of resources, including top venture capitalists, media outlets, and mentors.

LAUNCH: The UC Berkeley Startup Competition

LAUNCH guides participants through training, networking, and mentorship to bring their business ideas to fruition. The four-month program helps students create a scalable business model with the added bonus of becoming eligible for more than $25,000 in prizes. Since 1999, the program has awarded nearly $1,000,000 in prizes to startups in areas including biotech, clean tech, web, IT, consumer goods, and financial services.

New Venture Championship

This annual contest is held by the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business. Graduate students from around the world are given the opportunity to share their business ideas and win over $60,000 in prizes. Everyone who participates receives cash awards and advice from area entrepreneurs and executives to help grow their fledgling businesses. NVC’s mission is to help entrepreneurs develop communication skills and adaptability in business environments.

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