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Entrepreneurship Competitions

Students from all academic departments can participate in entrepreneurship competitions and have access to events, workshops, mentoring that enable them to test and refine their founder skills.

Join an Entrepreneurship competition

Joining a startup pitch competition is an investment for your startup. It gives you a platform where you can pitch your startup in front of fellow students and judges to help you raise the funding needed to launch and scale your startup. We encourage every student to throw their hat in the ring and get some experience pitching their venture – you never know what you’ll end up walking away with!

If you’re a student, faculty or alumni that has launched a startup or has competed in a competition, help us keep our place as #16 best undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the country and #17 best graduate program in the country by taking one of the following brief surveys.

eGames

Applications are now ppen for NC State’s Annual Startup Competition awarding over $100,000 of startup money to student and faculty entrepreneurs.

Tea Blumer holding her award onstage at the Lulu eGames. Kathy Hengen, COO of Lulu is at left, and Tom Miller, senior vice provost for academic outreach and entrepreneurship, is at right.

Make-A-Thon

Our first competition in the spring semester! Students compete in teams to create the best solution to a sustainability challenge. All weekend long, we will provide the food and expert mentors to fuel your creativity. On the final day, you will pitch your prototype to judges from the community and local companies. Prizes include: $2,000 to the winning team, $1,000 to the runner up team and $500 to the third place team.

Minute to Pitch It at Entrepalooza

Students have one minute to convince the audience their idea is worthy of the $1,000 audience choice award!

Wolf Den at Global Entrepreneurship Week

Join innovators from NC State and beyond for this Shark Tank-inspired event giving students the opportunity to pitch their business concept for live judges and a live audience during GEW.

ACC Inventure Prize Competition

Every year, each Atlantic Coast Conference university finds their very best students to represent them and compete against other ACC schools. Reach out to us if you’re interested in representing NC State!

External Competitions Open to NC State Students

Below is a list of external entrepreneurship competitions available to NC State students that offer cash prizes and bragging rights! We encourage our student entrepreneurs to discover and participate in external competitions and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need any mentorship, resources, or anything else – we’re committed to your success and are here to help!

LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE EXTERNAL OPPORTUNITIES

Rice Business Plan Competition
The RBPC is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition, held this spring over April 7-9, 2022 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. 42 student-led, early-stage companies will be invited to pitch their business ventures and vie for over $1 million in prizes. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM CST Monday, January 31, 2022.

Eligible startups will:

  • be student-driven, student-created and/or student-managed
  • have at least two current student founders or management team members, and at least one of those students is a current graduate degree-seeking student
  • have not raised more than $250,000 in equity capital prior to July 1, 2021
  • be seeking funding or capital (or will be in the next 12 months)
  • be a potentially viable investment opportunity

EnergyTech University Prize
Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy, the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages lab-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. Student teams compete for a total of $250,000 in cash prizes. Apply by Jan. 31, 2022, 8 a.m. PST.

Venture Capital Investment Competition
Calling all startups raising a Series A or later seed round: Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is an “accelerator for the fundraising process.” Three startups will be chosen as finalists for each region. This is a great opportunity for student startups that need practice pitching to potential investors and will prepare you for a real Series A funding round! This has a rolling deadline.

TiE University Global Business Hackathon
Students worldwide register for free and pick a track or subject matter area that they are interested in. Local coaches and global mentors are assigned to assist the teams while they compete to solve real-world business problems. Winners are selected for cash prizes and awards. Application deadline is in early March.

Tulane Business Model Competition
Open to early-stage ventures led by teams that include at least one degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student from any college or university. This competition rewards those that are creating commercially viable ventures through breaking down an idea into a key business model hypothesis; have tested their assumptions with customers; and applied Customer Development/Lean Startup principles to refine the model for improved success. Last year, they awarded $125,000 across 3 ventures, with the first prize team taking home $75,000. Applications are due on Jan. 18, 2022.

Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs
Since 2013, the Draper Competition has grown from a single institution business plan contest to a national business model competition with the largest prize pool specifically for female-founded ventures. The Draper Competition is the only one of its kind, focusing specifically on supporting and recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit of undergraduate women.
Applications are due in late Feb.

Values and Ventures Competition
Innovators (undergrads from around the world) can pitch their business plans and act as investors in the other teams, choosing who they think will advance in the competition. Applications are due in early March.

Baylor New Venture Competition
This business plan and elevator pitch competition showcases collegiate entrepreneurs from across the globe. The competition provides participants with personal and professional development through industry-specific mentorship towards sustainable business plans, exclusive access to accomplished experts and fellow innovators, and a chance to compete for over $250,000 in cash prizes and vital resources. Applications are due in early Nov.

McCloskey New Venture Competition
The Competition encourages entrepreneurs from the University and the surrounding area to refine their business plans, receive mentorship, and compete for prizes that include resources and funding. Participants gain invaluable feedback from a panel of judges that includes angel investors, venture capitalist, entrepreneurs, and other industry experts, providing the solid foundation needed to launch their ventures. Students from all Colleges, all majors and all programs are encouraged to enter. Applications are due in early Nov.

AWS US University Startup Competition
This competition offers higher education student entrepreneurs the opportunity to win equity-free cash prizes to help fund their ventures. The top 10 finalists will pitch their startups to a panel of investors and AWS Startup Team members at a final event. Three winners will win up to $20k in cash prizes and up to $100k in AWS credits. All startups that apply will receive $1,000 in AWS Credits. Applications are due in early Nov.

TCU Values and Ventures Competition
This competition invites undergraduate students from around the world to pitch ideas for conscious capitalism ventures that make a profit while also solving a problem. The competition rewards both innovators and investors. Innovators (undergrads from around the world) can pitch their business plans and act as investors in other teams in the Investor Challenge, choosing who they think will advance in the competition. There are many other chances to win and each of the 42 finalists has a chance to win at least $1,000 in the challenge. Applications are due Feb. 1, 2022.

Schneider Go Green Competition
Schneider Electric, together with AVEVA, is looking for game changers around the world who dare to disrupt, put your skills to the test, and push the boundaries of digital transformation in Energy Management.Submit your bold idea related to one of the five segments within energy management. Applications are due Dec. 31, 2021.

Amazon Lightsail Containers Hackathon
You want to learn how to easily build and run applications on the cloud? You are looking for a quick and reliable way to host containerized apps? Beginner or Expert, this is the perfect opportunity for you! AWS has recently launched Amazon Lightsail Containers: a simple yet scalable, reliable container offering which you can use to deploy, run, and manage containers –all for a low fixed monthly price. For this challenge, they want to see you use Amazon Lightsail container service to build innovative solutions and applications. Regardless of the specific application, no matter how big or small, they want to hear from you! Any solution that uses Lightsail and Lightsail Containers as the main component is welcome. Learn how to create and deploy Container services with this tutorial and learn more about how to use Amazon Lightsail Containers in our documentation. Applications due Jan. 31, 2022.

Please email monica_smith@ncsu.edu if you know of an NC State entrepreneurship competition or an external competition that is open to NC State students so we can add it to our list. We appreciate the help!

Make-A-Thon Goes Virtual for 2021

Going virtual did not stop students from developing real-world solutions in the 2021 Make-A-Thon competition. Students submitted their ideas via video to judges for the chance to win cash prizes.

Four students wearing masks celebrate their make a thon 2021 victory

Watch the ACC 2021 Premier

Watch the broadcast from April 21st to learn about the finalists and see the announcements of the year’s big winners!

Judges talk with ACC winners UV Scope during the final round via zoom