Syracuse University teams have won more than $3.5 million in business plan competitions in the past three years, dominating regional, state and global competitions.
Syracuse University teams have won more than $3.5 million in business plan competitions in the past three years, dominating regional, state and global competitions. The LaunchPad at SU Libraries coordinates many of the campus qualifying competitions that lead up to these prestigious events.
Competitions provide critical early stage seed funding. This enables student ventures to work on customer discovery, prototypes, patents and business incorporation, plus business development and product needs, from concept to commercialization.
Applications now open for many of these competitions. Click here to fill out the common application for the Fall 2020 competitions.
Below, find information about business idea competitions for the academic year.
Don't yet have an executive summary? Find our Executive summary template, here.
The LaunchPad team, mentors, and professional service providers are available to help develop investment-ready business models, create more competitive pitches, and coach teams on the art of successful pitching. Make an appointment for mentoring by e-mailing LaunchPad@syr.edu
Applications due Oct. 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.; competition Oct. 16, 2020. Open to Syracuse University undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines, who are working on developing new products, services or technologies in all categories, both for-profit, and nonprofit ventures. Apply using our common app here.
Student Startup Madness
Applications open through the fall semester; semi-finalists announced in mid-January. Competition during spring break in March at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. Open to college student teams with digital media startups (in concept, in development or in operation). Check for details and apply here.
EO GSEA (Global Student Entrepreneur Awards)
Applications due TBA; regionals in Buffalo, New York, TBA. Open to undergraduate and graduate students who are business owners, founders or controlling shareholders, either ‘for-profit’ or social enterprise. Check for details and apply here.
Applications due November 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.; competition November 13, 2020. Open to Syracuse University students and SUNY ESF undergraduate and graduate students taking entrepreneurship courses at SU working on ventures that create a social impact (such as energy, environment, employment, education and training, health and mental health, community and social networks, social inclusion, poverty and literacy, youth empowerment, food, sustainability, access, and ventures that support important public policy goals). Apply using our common app here.
Panasci Business Plan Competition
Sponsored by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Applications due TBA; competition TBA. Open to graduate and undergraduate students. Check for details on the Whitman website.
ACC In Venture Prize
Cancelled for 2020 due to COVID. Open to undergraduate students or recent graduates of ACC universities within one year of graduation from their undergraduate program. This competition pits top inventors of the ACC network against each other in a "Battle of the Brains" at a live PBS-televised event at NC State University in Raleigh. The top SU team wins $5,000 through a generous sponsorship by M&T Bank and goes on to the ACC finals to compete head to head against other campus champions for $30,000 in prize packages.
Hult Prize Regionals
Applications open on October 1 here and close November 22 at 11:59 p.m. for the Syracuse campus competition; Competition December 4, 2020; regional teams announced January 2021. Open to undergraduate students. Each year the competition announces a theme. Watch for details and application deadline on the LaunchPad website and social channels. Learn more and register here.
Applications due March 2021; competition March 2021. Open to undergraduate and graduate students for all colleges and universities in the Central New York Region. This is the regional qualifier for the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) on May 2021 in Albany, with categories announced by event organizers. Last year’s categories were: Agtech and Food; Energy and Environment; Military and First Responders; Medtech and Well-being; Technology and Entertainment; Consumer Products and Services. Applications open February 2021 on the NYBPC website. Details on the Compete CNY page of the LaunchPad website.
Raymond von Dran iPrize
Applications due March 2021; competition March 2021. Open to all Syracuse University and SUNY ESF graduate and undergraduate students working on venture ideas for products, services, technologies and social impact ventures. Students entering the $40,000 RvD iPrize are automatically entered into the Compete CNY regional qualifier for the New York Business Plan Competition. Apply on the NYBPC website and select the Central New York Region.
Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award
Applications due March 2021; competition March 2021. Open to undergraduate and graduate students at Syracuse competing in the iPrize. This $10,000 competition runs concurrently with the RvD iPrize. Four awards of $2,500 are awared to students who best exemplify "The Spirit of Entrepreneurship." Prizes honor the memory of Hunter Brooks Watson, a SU student entrepreneur who died tragically in a distracted driving accident.
New York Business Plan Competition
The top two teams in each category will be selected at the Compete CNY regional qualifier to go on the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) in May 2021 in Albany, New York. The competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at New York State colleges and universities across New York State's ten economic development regions. Over the past several years, Syracuse University students have taken home many top divisional awards, as well as awards recognizing women and minority owned businesses. Syracuse student teams twice won grand prize in the ten year history of the competition. Learn more about the NYBPC here.