Business Plan Competition: A Master Database of Competitions for MBA Students

We took all the footwork out of hunting down and researching annual business plan competitions available to MBA students. Our database is a compilation of announcements and private listings, company foundations, and business school associations that host business plan competitions that already pull applicants from across the country and even around the world. Included are competitions both big and small hosted by names as big as Xerox and MIT. Our team has conveniently listed these business plan competitions by their payout, so you and/or your team can go straight for the big money in your search for extracurricular greatness.  And as always, we are committed to researching and updating these opportunities in a way that is easy to access and free to use.

Because aren’t we all looking for our own Jack Donaghy…

An MBA student can be many things. A 22-year-old with a B.A. and internship experience still battling the notion of trading in Tom’s for leather penny loafers (in a non-ironic way), or a seasoned 40-something looking to cash-in on their companies generous training refund for pursing a higher degree. While it is clear for the latter, even those of you with years of corporate experience who have moved passed the cubical and into an office with a door can still dream about receiving personal pats-on-the-back and whispered business know-how from a top executive whom you refer to on a first name bases.

Can that happen in a day? Maybe – or maybe not, but for those not just in it for the money (or who fall short of a top spot) there is definitely a chance for you Liz Lemons (see: 30 Rock) to find a career mentor in these professionally prime suit conventions. Many of the listed events are especially committed to coaching students past the books and into real-world thinking, offering on the spot mentoring with top executives, business plan advisors, and on-site workshops for runner-ups and participants over the course of the competition.  Winners, of course, receive even more, with some grand prizes boasting of time spent with an advisor even into the actual launch of a student’s (or team’s) venture.  In addition to the formal executive pairings, are the side lining, sponsoring companies carefully taking notice of MBA students who fit their mold.

So try a business plan competition or two or — if your group project on marketing biodegradable potato chip bags can handle it — even ten. Your future-self will thank you when you are sharing a non-fat, unsweetened, green tea latte with your future multi-million-dollar mentor.

What if I am not an MBA student?

Have you seen our small business grant list? (currently they are all one in the list) Hunt around in there and you will be happy to find a neatly complied list of small business grants available to you. Our database has small business grants for US as well as international small business owners in a range of industries anywhere from green technology to urban development. Grants can range from $1000 to $250,000 in funds as well as partnership and mentoring programs for owners in their earlier stages of development.

But if you were an MBA student, some of these business plan competitions do welcome alumni or allow for non-students to be members of the participating teams. Just check carefully for individual rules and regulations.


The Future

In alignment with our goal to be a valuable tool to our business-minded users, we will be developing an honoree page that highlights the achievements of each business plan competition award recipient and their respective MBA program and/or small business.  This will give you talented few the opportunity to be interviewed, share your expertise, and speak candidly about your experience in the competition and/or MBA program.

So check back with us and link to us and share us. You never know if you will be our featured winner one day.


Are we done yet?

No, not at all and we are always looking for new business plan competitions and other worthwhile opportunities to share with MBA students. If you know of any we missed or are a student group hosting one yourself, let us know. We would be happy to add them to our database, and we hope you will share our website with your best and brightest.

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