Santa Clara University

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

2014-2015 Competitions

Business Plan competitions allow students to gain experience in not only as competitors for a prize, but also in working together as a team, public speaking, strategy, planning ahead and making contacts.  

In addition, the CIE provides information, coaching and advice to students enrolled in the Graduate Entrepreneurship Program on both regional competitions and national competitions and also works with the EC on other student-run competitions and team prep.




SCU Students Invited To Compete: 2015 Rice Business Plan Competition April 16-18, 2015

Entry Deadline:  February 27, 2015, Noon CST

The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world's richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition. It is hosted and organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is Rice University's flagship initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. This is the 14th year for the competition. In that time, it has grown from nine teams competing for $10,000 in prize money in 2001, to 42 teams from around the world competing for more than $1.3 million in cash and prizes. 

In 2013, more than 1200 applications were submitted. More than 130 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. 138 past competitors have gone on to successfully launch their businesses and are still in business today, raising in excess of $600 million in funding.

The competition is designed to give collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches to generate funding to successfully commercialize their product. Judges will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges are asked to rank the presentations based on which company they would most likely invest. 76% of judges surveyed considered investing in a team that presented at the 2013 RBPC or referred a team to a third-party investor. We provide an unparalleled experience for the participants by designing a diverse program over the course of three-days; with significant time designated for feedback and interaction with the judging panel.  

All teams will participate and present on all 3 days:

  • Thursday: Practice Round and Elevator Pitch Competition 
  • Friday: First Round and Feedback Session 
  • Saturday: Semi-Final, Shark Tank and Final Round 

The competition is for graduate students currently enrolled on a full- or part-time basis and teams should include at least two current students.  For full eligibility requirements, please click through the Eligibility Requirements page, prior to your application.   

Apply Here before February 27, Noon CST. Good Luck!


Entrepreneurs Connection Invites You To Compete! 

Internal -Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC)

Saturday, November 8, 2014
8:30am - 4:30 pm
Forbes Family Conference Center, Lucas Hall #126

The winning team from the internal & regional VCIC will represent Santa Clara University at the prestigious, nation-wide VCIC competition. If you have an interest in venture capital and the entrepreneurial eco-system, participation in this completion will intensify your training and create opportunities for valuable connections and experience.

Important Dates:

*Application Deadline: Sat, Nov 1st, 2014(midnight). Please provide package in a .zip folder with folder name as team name.
*Mandatory Training: November 5th, 8:45pm - 9:45 pm, Lucas Hall (room TBD)
*Internal VCIC: November 8, 8:00 am-4:30 pm, Forbes Family Conf. Center, Lucas Hall


Graduate students from any program or school at Santa Clara University who are graduating no sooner than spring quarter, 2015. You make your own group of 5 students submit a team application.


We recommend that your team have a multidisciplinary background. Although SCU graduates from any program are welcome to participate, it is highly recommended that your team be comprised of members with the skills and background needed in a real venture capital partnership (e.g. Finance, Marketing & Sales, Technology, Legal, Operations, etc.).

The following rules will apply to all VCIC teams:

-  A maximum of six (6) teams may participate.
-  Each team must have five (5) members.
-  If you do not have a team but you are selected, EC will match you to a team.

-  If your team has fewer than five members, EC will assign additional members.


All applicant information will be kept strictly confidential and will not be shared outside the EC executive team. Applicant information will only be used for purposes of participant selection; team assignment and other VCIC related activities.

EC Contacts:

Submit completed applications in .zip folder having team name to cc: a copy to

To Apply, please click here for the application form.

The EC Team


Korean Government Agency Non-Profit Invites SCU Students To Pitch in KOTRA's UniKamp Incubator

Application Deadline is November 4


Event Information:
Friday, November 14
2-5 pm
Mountain View (Location TBD)

 An Invitation from UniKamp: 

Are YOU in a hot STARTUP?

Come pitch with the best of 'em at UniKamp Pitch Night - a showcase of the top university student startups from the Bay Area.

We're inviting the brightest student startups across Silicon Valley to pitch, engage and demonstrate what's they've got.  There's $2000 in prize money and you'll have the opportunity to pitch to high-profile judges like Christine Tsai from 500 Startups.

UniKamp Pitch Night is organised by KOTRA Silicon Valley, a non-profit Korean government organization, but the event itself is open to any and all startups - Koreans and non-Koreans alike - who want to strut their stuff!  We are concentrating, however, on inviting the most promising university student startups.  Do you think you're the next Zuckerberg?  Show us!

It'll be held onFriday, November 14th, 2 pmto 5 pm in in Mountain View.  You can check out the complete details at

Applications are accepted until November 4th, 2014.

For inquiries, please contact Hanmin Yang at

Note from the CIE:  As taken from the UniKamp Website, the pitch format will be 12 teams, 4 minute pitches followed by 3 minutes of Q&A with 2 minutes of non-rebuttal feedback.


SDSU LogoSDSU LeanModel™ Start-Up Competition Open to Students from California Universities-Registration Deadline November 4, 11:59 pm
**UPDATE-Registration Deadline Extended to November 17th, 11:59pm PST! See Below**

San Diego State University invites students to enter a team for their third annual LeanModel™ Start-Up Competition, open to students from four-year universities globally, Executive MBA students are also eligible.  This competition, sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Management Center at SDSU, is not a traditional business plan competition and is designed to assist and reward student based start-ups that utilize the business model canvas.

In the true world of the entrepreneurial start-up, it is not the business plan that leads to success. An oft-quoted term from venture capitalists is that, "As soon as the business plan is written, it is obsolete." We believe that early on, the start-up must move quickly to prototype and test their product or service and that customer interaction is critical. Too often, teams focus on writing a business plan and never actually interact with their target customers.

The LeanModel Competition rewards students for identifying and defining assumptions, testing those assumptions in the marketplace, and then pivoting their business model based on customer interactions. Unfamiliar with the business model canvas? Check out"Business Model Generation"by Alexander Osterwalder.

Event: March 6 & 7, 2015
Location:  San Diego State University campus
Team Information:  Enrolled students at a four-year California (including Baja California) universities, freshman to PhD and a team cannot exceed five members. Full Eligibility Rules Here

The LeanModel™ Competition is for student-created, -managed and-owned startups.  Teams must represent new, independent ventures in the seed, startup or early-stage process.  All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital.  Students are to have played a major role in conceiving the venture, to have key management roles and to own significant equity. 

For more information, or to register, please visit the SDSU Lean Model Competition website--good luck!


**UPDATE**-Registration Deadline Extended to November 17th by 11:59 pm PST!

The SDSU Lavin Entrepreneurship Center received an overwhelming response of extension requests for the LeanModel Competition preliminary application. As one of the busiest times in the semester, we are allowing students just a little more time to register.

Registrations are now dueNovember 17thby11:59 PM PST!

While we appreciate the applications we’ve received from teams nationwide, our goal is to make this the best competition possible. Even though the application deadline has been pushed back toNovember 17th, team multimedia presentations are still due onDecember 2nd!

TheLeanModelcompetition rewards students for identifying and defining assumptions, testing those assumptions in the marketplace, and then pivoting their business model based on customer interactions. The SDSU Lavin Entrepreneurship Center will be selecting 20-25 teams to compete for prizes totaling$20,000 in cash and in kind services.

Schools applying so far include: University of Arizona, University of California, Michigan State University, San Diego State University, University of Louisville, Drexel University, and many more. Is your university competing?

Register button


startup madness 

Calling All College Student Startups!  Applications Now Accepted for Student Startup Madness 2014-15 Seeking the Best College Digital Media Startup (Nationwide Tournament

Online applications are now being accepted for the 2014-15 Student Startup Madness, a fun and exciting nationwide tournament offering college student startups the opportunity to "live the entrepreneurial dream": compete against fellow student entrepreneurs, and grab the attention of potential investors and leaders in the startup community at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in March 2015.

Student Startup Madness (SSM) is open to all college student digital media startups from any college/university in the United States. To apply, go to Applications will be accepted through Dec. 5, 2014.

Teams are encouraged to apply for "Early Admission" by Friday, Oct 10, 2013, when 20 of the 64 SSM starting field of tournament teams will be selected. The benefits of early admission include less competition for the 20 "early admission" spots and more time for student teams to plan ahead and prepare their pitch materials, if they are selected for the semi-finals. Early application will also afford the SSM Selection Committee more opportunity to consider applications versus those that are submitted close to the Dec. 5 final application deadline.  

Competition format:  Each round of the nationwide tournament will build momentum, awareness and social media buzz, drawing attention to colleges and universities as sources for innovation, entrepreneurship and talent while showcasing university entrepreneurship and encouraging college students to start businesses. From all online applications, 64 teams will be chosen by the SSM Selection Committee for the first round of competition, which will take place online in the platform. From the 64 first-round competitors, half (32 teams) will advance to the semi-final regionals round. From the regionals will emerge the "Entrepreneurial Eight," the top eight student teams that will be invited to pitch to a celebrity panel of well-known entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors at the Student Startup Madnessnational finals at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, in March 2015. 

About Student Startup Madness:  The Student Startup Madness concept was developed by Sean Branagan, director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, in conjunction with SXSW. Student Startup Madness, along with its sponsors and host universities, believes in American entrepreneurship and on-campus startups—and wants to help young student entrepreneurs succeed and become a part of the SXSW experience.


SVForum Startup Expo 2014 - Apply now!

November 18th, 2014
1:00 — 6:30 pm

Location announced soon!
Silicon Valley, California

Polish your pitches - Startup Expo is approaching! A selected group of tech startups will have the opportunity to showcase their product to respected investors, VCs, Corporate Venture and Angels. A distinguished panel of Silicon Valley investors, experts and thought leaders will also give their insights on the future of investing and what to expect when pitching to them. Startup Expo is in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship WeekThis event is by-invitation-only! Tickets will be limited to participating startups and invited investors only. If you'd like to request an invitation, please email Sepideh Nasiri


Application Criteria:

  • We’re tech agnostic, but we do require that you have a tech company with great growth potential
  • You have a verified product/solution, and it is live (beta is okay)
  • Your startup is actively seeking funding
  • Your company is incorporated
  • You've assembled a team

Have a Competition to Share?

If you would like to ivite Santa Clara University students to participate in your elevator pitch or business plan competition, please send pertinent event details to the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Go

Competition Archive
For information on previous competition offerings, please visit our archive page.


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