The Rice University Business Plan Competition 2017 for Student Entrepreneurs All Over The World


Deadline: February 10,2017


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 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.

An unparalleled experience will be provided 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 three days

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


Teams must meet all the following eligibility requirements in order to be selected to compete:

  • Outside Funding: All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early stage venture investment or early stage angel investment. All ventures must be “for profit” entities.
  • Student Enrollment: The competition is for students currently enrolled on a full- or part-time basis (i.e., from July 2016 through June 2017). This includes students who graduated, or will graduate in August through December 2016. Students who graduated before July 2016 are not eligible to participate. Appropriate adjustments will be made for teams from non-US universities that have a different academic calendar.
  • Team Size: The presenting (competing) team should include at least two current students and not exceed five current students. (At least two students must travel to Houston to compete and both must participate in the oral presentation of the business plan). Others involved in the venture (non-students) are welcome to travel to Rice with the competing student team, but are prohibited from participating in the presentations or Q&A sessions. More than five students can travel to Rice with the team, but only five students can serve as presenters. Faculty advisors or other team mentors are encouraged to attend.
  • Team Composition: This is a competition for graduate students, and at least one currently enrolled graduate student must be a member of the venture’s startup management team, and must be part of the team that presents in the competition (competing team). A team with some undergraduates will be allowed to compete, and the undergraduates may participate fully. Competing team members may be from different disciplines and/or different universities. All graduate students, not just MBA candidates, are eligible to participate in the competition. This includes executive MBAs, MD candidates, JD candidates, other Masters Candidates, and PhD Candidates.

Application Process

The RBPC uses the Startup Rounds platform to manage applications. To enter, the designated team leader should complete the online application found at the official page. The Application consists of eligibility questions, a 5-page Executive Summary and a one-minute Video Pitch, and must be completed by 5:00 pm CST, Friday, February 10, 2017.


Get more detail at the official Rice University Business Plan Competition 2017 page.



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