The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition. EFN co-founded the Mentorship Program in 2013 with Rice that includes a pre- and post competition program. EFN matches expert mentors with the 42 finalists one month before the competition, trains the teams and mentors on how to achieve the competition’s objectives and manages the process. After the competition, EFN provides post-competition mentoring through our iCatalysts program.
According to Fortune Magazine, “the money and mentoring students get at Rice makes the difference between student project and a real life business.” (Fortune Magazine, June 2013).
The RBPC is hosted and organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. This is the 17th 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 $1.5 million in cash and prizes.
In 2016, more than 750 applications were submitted. More than 180 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 275+ judges coming from the investment sector. 161 past competitors have gone on to successfully launch their businesses and are still in business today, with another 15 having successful exits. These companies have raised in excess of $1.2 billion 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 2016 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 program, with significant time designated for feedback and interaction with the judging panel.
Highlights of the Competition include:
- Real-world opportunities to learn what’s required to successfully launch a new business
- Chance to receive mentoring from investors and experienced entrepreneurs
- Scheduled opportunities to network with potential venture capitalists and other investors for three days
- High caliber of judges, all senior level investors, entrepreneurial mentors and industry leaders
- Opportunities to receive individual feedback during three separate sessions
- 2016: $1.7 Million + in prize money was awarded with all teams winning at least one cash award
The goal of the RBPC is to provide the best overall educational and entrepreneurial experience of any business plan/new venture competition.