Competitions

Syracuse University teams have won more than $3.4 million in business plan competitions in the past three years, dominating regional, state and global competitions.


About Competitions

Syracuse University teams have won more than $3.4 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.

For more, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LaunchPadSYR, and on LinkedIn.

Apply Now

Applications are now open for many of these competitions, using a common online app requiring a one-page executive summary of a venture idea.

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

Winners of Cuse Tank at Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars.
01
'Cuse Tank

Applications due Oct. 4, 2019; competition Oct. 18, 2019. 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 here.

02
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.

03
EO GSEA (Global Student Entrepreneur Awards)

Applications due October 16, 2019; regionals in Buffalo, New York, Nov. 13, 2019. 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.

04
Impact Prize

Applications due November 1, 2019; competition November 14, 2019. 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 here.

05
Panasci Business Plan Competition

Sponsored by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.  Applications due February 14, 2020; competition April 10-11, 2020. Open to graduate and undergraduate students. Check for details on the Whitman website.

06
ACC In Venture Prize

Applications due Feb. 7, 2020; campus competition Feb. 21, 2020. 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 on April 15, 2020 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. Apply here.

07
Hult Prize Regionals

Competition November 22, 2019; regional teams announced January 2020. Open to undergraduate students. Each year the competition announces a theme. Watch for details and application deadline on the LaunchPad website and social channels.

08
Compete CNY

Applications due March 13, 2020; competition March 27, 2020. 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 1, 2020 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 1, 2020 on the NYBPC website. Details on the Compete CNY page of the LaunchPad website.

09
Raymond von Dran iPrize

Applications due March 13, 2020; competition March 27, 2020. 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.  SU students are also encouraged to apply through the campus common app, here.

10
Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award

Applications due March 13, 2020; competition March 27, 2020. 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.  Apply here.

11
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) on May 1, 2020 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.


To learn more about the competitions, get details on the schedule, or schedule coaching sessions with LaunchPad EIRs and The Rubin Family Innovation Mentors, email launchpad@syr.edu.