The Rice University Business Plan Graduate-level Student Startup Competition, in its 24th year, offers a global platform for student-led MSMEs seeking funding.

Rice University Startup Contest 2024
Rice University Startup Contest 2024

Hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Rice Business, the competition has grown from nine teams in 2001 to 42 teams worldwide competing for over $1 million in cash and prizes.

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Eligible MSMEs for the Rice University startups Contest must be student-driven, have at least two current student founders or team members, with at least one being a current graduate degree-seeking student. They should not have raised over $250,000 in equity capital before July 1, 2023, and generated revenue of no more than $100,000 in any 12-month period before the same date.

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Additionally, MSMEs must be seeking funding, potentially viable for investment, and fall into one of the specified sectors.

Prizes for each of the 42 MSMEs include at least $950, with various categories such as cash, no-equity prizes, investment prizes from active investors, and invitations from Houston accelerators with contingent investment prizes. In-kind prizes are also offered to provide expertise for startup growth.

Mentoring is a key component, starting with business plan feedback before the competition. Judges in the first round provide feedback on submitted plans or investor pitch decks. Pre-competition mentorship involves partnering with the Entrepreneur Futures Network (EFN) to connect startups with qualified mentors for discussions, feedback, and pitch training. A practice round the day before the competition allows startups to receive feedback from judges to enhance their performance.

Application deadline: January 31, 2024.

Don’t miss this opportunity for real-world experience, valuable mentoring, and a chance to win substantial prizes for your startup.