LaunchPad announces spring 2020 business plan competitions; applications now open

Student competition photo

Syracuse University teams have won nearly $3.4 million in business plan competitions in the past three years, dominating regional, state and global competitions. The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at SU Libraries coordinates several of the campus qualifying competitions that lead up to these prestigious events, is now accepting applications for events in Spring 2020.  Applications are now open for many of these events through a common on-line app that requires a one page executive summary of a venture idea. Others require registration through academic websites.

The one-page template can be found here.

Spring 2020 competitions include:

Panasci Business Plan Competition:

  • Applications now open through midnight January 23, 2020; competition April 10-11, 2020, sponsored and hosted by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.  The competition is a campus-wide student business plan competition (open to Syracuse University and SUNY ESF students), made possible by long-time Whitman supporter, the late Henry A. Panasci, founder of Fay’s Drugs. Applicants in the Panasci Business Plan Competition will write and submit a business plan for the chance to advance to the semi-finals and finals, and compete for $42,000 in cash prizes.  The event is a great opportunity to compete for seed funding, as well as network with competition judges including high-level entrepreneurs and alumni.  See the Whitman website for details, application and qualifications.

ACC In Venture Prize:

Compete CNY:

  • Applications due March 13, 2020; competition May 1, 2020.  Details here.  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 State Business Plan Competition 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. Check for updated details at the LaunchPad website and at the New York State Business Plan Competition website.

Raymond von Dran iPrize:

Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award:

New York Business Plan Competition:

  • Regional teams will be selected at the Compete CNY qualifier 9see above). Competition is May 1, 2020 in Albany, New York. Open to all undergraduate and graduate students at New York State Universities. Check for updated details at the LaunchPad website.

Syracuse University students will also participate in a number of other spring 2020 competitions.

  • Applications closed November 29, 2019 for Student Startup Madness (SSM) which will take place on a TBD date between March 13-22, 2020 at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX.  The slate of semi-finalists will be announced shortly for the nationwide tournament offering college startups the chance to pitch against fellow student entrepreneurs to grab the attention of potential investors and leaders in the startup community at the March 2020 event.
  • Matt Shumer ’22 (Whitman), founder of Visos, was selected to compete in the 2020 ASU Innovation Open on January 31 in Tempe, Arizona, a $200,000 competition designed to challenge and advance university student innovators who are launching a hardware enterprise within a wide variety of cutting-edge marketplaces such as IoT.  He was also selected to represent Syracuse University at the TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition on April 24-25, 2020 in Fort Worth Texas.  The competition, sponsored by the TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship,  features more than $200,000 in prize funding to top student entrepreneurs from around the country.

Business plan competitions provide critical early stage seed funding to student ventures to work on customer discovery, prototypes, business incorporation and patents, as well as other product and business development needs on the road from concept to commercialization.

The LaunchPad team, mentors, and professional service providers are available to help develop well thought-out business and product development roadmaps, and coach teams on the art of successful pitching.

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

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