Rice University Business Plan Graduate-level Student Startup Competition 2020 ($1.5 million in Cash and Prizes).

Application Deadline: Monday, January 27th,2020 at 11:59 PM CST.

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.

2020 will be the 20th 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. We provide an unparalleled experience 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. Highlights of competing:

  • Real-world opportunities to learn what’s required to successfully launch a new business
  • Mentoring from investors and experienced entrepreneurs
  • Networking with potential venture capitalists and other investors for three days
  • High-caliber, experienced judges, the majority of whom are senior level investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders
  • Personalized, individual feedback during three separate sessions as well as on your written business plan before the competition
  • 2019: $2.9 Million + in prize money was awarded and pledged with all teams winning at least one cash award


Are you eligible to apply to the Rice Business Plan Comepetition? Let’s see!
Yes, if your startup:

  • is student-driven, student-created and/or student-managed
  • has at least two current student founders or management team members, and at least one of those is a current graduate degree-seeking student
  • falls into our sector categories of Energy/Cleantech/Sustainability, Life Science/Digital Health/Medical Devices, Tech/Digital/IoT, Other Innovations
  • has not raised more than $250,000 in equity capital prior to July 1, 2019
  • is seeking funding and is a potentially viable investment opportunity


The RBPC offers over $1.5 million in prizes! Prizes are either investment, cash, or in-kind.

Please see the list of prizes here, organized by type and amount.

Please note that prizes for 2020 are still being confirmed, and this list reflects the 2019 prizes offered, but it can serve as a guide to what you will see at the competition.

Application Procedure

Applications open November 1, 2019 through Monday, January 27th, at 11:59 PM CST.
Important dates:

  • Friday, November 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM CST – Applications for Rice Business Plan Competition open online
  • Monday, January 27, 2020 at 11:59 PM CST – Deadline to submit applications
  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 12:30 PM CST – RBPC announces 42 teams to compete via live video, email and phone
  • Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by 5:00 PM CST – Invited teams confirm commitment to compete via written confirmation on application, and last day to last day to withdraw without penalty

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Rice University Business Plan Graduate-level Student Startup Competition 2020

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