Santa Clara University

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Business Plan Competitions

Business Plan competitions allow students to gain experience in not only as competitors for a prize, but also in working together as a team, public speaking, strategy, planning ahead and making contacts.  

In addition, the CIE provides information, coaching and advice to students enrolled in the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program on both regional competitions and national competitions and also works with the SCEO on other student-run competitions and team prep.



2014-2015 Competitions


SVForum Startup Expo 2014 - Apply now!

November 18th, 2014
1:00 — 6:30 pm

Location announced soon!
Silicon Valley, California

Polish your pitches - Startup Expo is approaching! A selected group of tech startups will have the opportunity to showcase their product to respected investors, VCs, Corporate Venture and Angels. A distinguished panel of Silicon Valley investors, experts and thought leaders will also give their insights on the future of investing and what to expect when pitching to them. Startup Expo is in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship WeekThis event is by-invitation-only! Tickets will be limited to participating startups and invited investors only. If you'd like to request an invitation, please email Sepideh Nasiri


Application Criteria:

  • We’re tech agnostic, but we do require that you have a tech company with great growth potential
  • You have a verified product/solution, and it is live (beta is okay)
  • Your startup is actively seeking funding
  • Your company is incorporated
  • You've assembled a team


startup madness

Calling All College Student Startups!  Applications Now Accepted for Student Startup Madness 2014-15 Seeking the Best College Digital Media Startup (Nationwide Tournament

Online applications are now being accepted for the 2014-15 Student Startup Madness, a fun and exciting nationwide tournament offering college student startups the opportunity to "live the entrepreneurial dream": compete against fellow student entrepreneurs, and grab the attention of potential investors and leaders in the startup community at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in March 2015.

Student Startup Madness (SSM) is open to all college student digital media startups from any college/university in the United States. To apply, go to Applications will be accepted through Dec. 5, 2014.

Teams are encouraged to apply for "Early Admission" by Friday, Oct 10, 2013, when 20 of the 64 SSM starting field of tournament teams will be selected. The benefits of early admission include less competition for the 20 "early admission" spots and more time for student teams to plan ahead and prepare their pitch materials, if they are selected for the semi-finals. Early application will also afford the SSM Selection Committee more opportunity to consider applications versus those that are submitted close to the Dec. 5 final application deadline.  

Competition format:  Each round of the nationwide tournament will build momentum, awareness and social media buzz, drawing attention to colleges and universities as sources for innovation, entrepreneurship and talent while showcasing university entrepreneurship and encouraging college students to start businesses. From all online applications, 64 teams will be chosen by the SSM Selection Committee for the first round of competition, which will take place online in the platform. From the 64 first-round competitors, half (32 teams) will advance to the semi-final regionals round. From the regionals will emerge the "Entrepreneurial Eight," the top eight student teams that will be invited to pitch to a celebrity panel of well-known entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors at the Student Startup Madnessnational finals at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, in March 2015. 

About Student Startup Madness:  The Student Startup Madness concept was developed by Sean Branagan, director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, in conjunction with SXSW. Student Startup Madness, along with its sponsors and host universities, believes in American entrepreneurship and on-campus startups—and wants to help young student entrepreneurs succeed and become a part of the SXSW experience.


SCEO  110 Logo 2010 11Elevator Pitch Competition
Thursday, October 16, 7 pm
Forbes Family Conference Center-Lucas Hall 126

Have an innovative idea?  A new product or business?  We want to hear it but only 60 seconds of it.  No slides, no visuals, just 60 seconds of pitching your innovative feasible idea.  Impress us and $250 can be yours. 

Register to participate here! (spectators do not need to register-just show up)

Refreshments and prize money provided by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Spectators are always welcome and encouraged!  Stop by and support your friends competing or just see what the competition is all about.


2013-2014 Competitions


SCEO  110 Logo 2010 11 Pitch to a VC Competition

Thursday, May 15, 7:30-9pm
Kenna 216

$1,000 in Prize Money and Refreshments sponsored by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The SCEO invites you go register to compete in the first time offered Pitch to a VC Competition on Thursday, May 15.  Rather than the usual Be a VC competition style format, this year, the SCEO invites you to a streamlined process whereby teams compete as the entrepreneur with the focus on the funding/financials.  The primary judging criteria will be how well the team makes their case for funding and how strong the financials are.  Student teams will have 10 minutes to present, with a 5-minute Q&A portion from the judging panel.   Prizes will be awarded as follows:
$500 First Place
$300 Second Place
$200 Third Place
$500 Second Place
$250 Third Place
BONUS Prizes:  Engineering/Senior Design Project Prizes
$1,000 Grand Prize
$500 Second Place
$250 Third Place

Register online before 5 pm on May 14.
  • All teams must include current students with at least one undergraduate student member of the team-graduate students are welcome!
Spectators are WELCOME!  Stop by for some free food and beverages and watch the excitement! 

Competition Results:

Congratulations to all competitors, and special thanks to our judges Jason Proznitz, Scott Kim, Raj Kandlikar, and Tejpal Chadha.  Competition results are as follows:
  • $500 First Place-EventClicker:  Pratik Shah, Ross Fledderjohn, Manpreet Kaur
  • $300 Second Place-HealthBites: Shilpa Mathew, David Tsuzaki
  • $200 Third Place- Smart Water Heater: Russell Williams, Rachel Donohoe



SCEO  110 Logo 2010 11Business Plan Competition-Open to Graduate and Undergraduate SCU Students!

Thursday, January 30, 6 pm
Kennedy Commons

$3,500 in Prize Money and Refreshments sponsored by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The annual SCEO Business Plan Competition is scheduled for Thursday, January 30, 6-9 pm, in Kennedy Commons.  Share your game-changing business plan and prepare a team presentation (team comprised of 2-5 people).     Prizes will be awarded as follows:
$1,000 Grand Prize
$500 Second Place
$250 Third Place
BONUS Prizes:  Engineering/Senior Design Project Prizes
$1,000 Grand Prize
$500 Second Place
$250 Third Place

That's right, TWO sets of prizes!  Presentations may be up to 10 minutes, with a 5 minute Q&A.  Judges will be scoring based on the following criteria:
  • Is the business fundable?
  • Quality of the product(s), service(s), and/or solution(s)
  • Market opportunities and competition
  • Team qualifications
  • Overall attractiveness of the venture
In addition, please note:
  • Register online(link is to a Wufoo form) before midnight Monday, January 27
  • All teams must include current students-alumni are welcome; however, each team must have a current student in good standing.
  • Proposed business should be fundable
  • Proposed business plan should not be in violation of any IP rights
  • Teams or team members who have received any form of VC financing are not eligible
  • The registration form includes an upload of your executive summary, 5 page (or more)plan, and team resumes
Don't wait,register your team of 2-5 peoplebefore midnight on Monday, January 27!  We see a lot of student business plans here in the CIE, so we know that there are so many of you are ready to compete-Good Luck!  

Spectators are WELCOME!  Stop by for some free food and beverages and watch the excitement! 

Competition Results:



Congratulations to all competitors, and special thanks to our judges Shashank Saggar, Bill Buxton, and Gideon Shaanan.  Competition results are as follows:
  • $1,000 Grand Prize-Spare: Will Tylko and Shyam Mervana
    Spare is a portable flash storage that connects you to iPhone via bluetooth
  • $500 Second Place-HealthBites: Shilpa Mathew, Stephanus Widjaja, David Tsuzaki
    HealthBites is a dietary/food discovery app that uses your preferred dietary options to come up with the best choices for shops and restaurants.
  • $250 Third Place- Pindow: Daljeet Virdi, Yashesh Doshi
    Pindow is a web app that leverages data science breakthroughs to curate products to an Instagram-looking newsfeed.
  • BONUS Prizes:  Engineering/Senior Design Project Prizes
    $1,000 Grand Prize
    Methane to Methanol:  Pankti Doshi, Jessica Garcia
    Methane to Methanol involves a low energy, high-volume process to convert methane to methanol, which can reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
  • $500 Second Place- Interactive LED: Jenpop Allport, Omar Rodriguez
    Interactive LED has designed a large-format LED display using printed circuit board technology for a commercial market, providing a self-service application for vision testing 
  • $250 Third Place-Waterproof Pocket:  Connor Schwab, James Anderson, Joseph Arico, Michael Grinnel, Declan Malley
    Waterproof Pocket is a fully waterproof and airtight pocket that can be retrofitted into any pair of swim trunks. 




SDSU LogoSDSU LeanModel™ Start-Up Competition Open to Students from California Universities-Registration Deadline Extended to January 15

San Diego State University invites students to enter a team for their inaugural LeanModel™ Start-Up Competition, open to students from top California and Baja California Universities.  This competition, sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Management Center at SDSU, is designed to assista nd reward student-based startups and provide them with an opportunity to pitch to potential investors and compete for over $25,000 in awards.  A distinguished panel of entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and C-level executives will judge the pitch and critical elements of the startups LeanModel™

Event: March 6 & 7, 2014
Location:  San Diego State University campus
Team Information:  Enrolled students at a four-year California (including Baja California) universities, freshman to PhD and a team cannot exceed five members. Full Eligibility Rules Here

The LeanModel™ Competition lies within this framework:

  • Value proposition from customers' point of view
  • Exact customer definition by target segment
  • Product/service definition and composition
  • Identification of business process
    • Inside the company
    • Outside the company (i.e. key partners, etc.)
  • Competitive marketplace landscape
  • "Revenue fast" principle to fund operations of a lean startup
  • Management Mentality: evolve, pivot, evolve, pivot, evolve

Unlike most other business competitions that revolve around the creation of a hypothetical business plan, LeanModel is focused on the creation of a startup company, the path to a quick prototype and the critical strategy and learnings of the framework listed above which reveals the ways in which the student startup has actually utilized customer feedback in order to evolve and pivot their company's strategy.

Further rules and deadline information will be availabile within the next 30 days-why not start thinking about your plan of action today.



Nike+ Digital Sports Concept Challenge

Team Entry Deadline:  Friday, November 22 by 5 pm

Nike+ Digital Sports Product Concept Challenge:  You're invited to team up with SCU Engineering students to form a team for a chance at $1,000, $2,000 or more!  Your challenge-if you choose to accept it-will be to find a way to exploit Nike+ Sport Sensor Technology in a new athletic-related product/service.  
  • $2,000 Prototype Competition: The competition involves a hardware/software prototyping activity in which students will develop functional prototypes of their concept for an athletic-related product/service that exploits Nike+ Sport sensors.Deadline to enter a team in the Prototype Competition is Friday, Nov 22nd by 5pm. Top teams may be entered into a multi-university version of this competition with the chance to win even more money!

Non-Engineering Students:  If you're interested in the Prototype Competition and don't have an Engineering contact to team up with, please email me at and I'll check in and see if there's a team seeking another member!  Good luck!


SCEO  110 Logo 2010 11Elevator Pitch Competition-Matthew Lightner Award
Thursday, October 24, 7 pm
O'Connor 104

Sponsored by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and featuring the Matthew Lightner Award.

Have an innovative idea?  A new product or business?  We want to hear it but only 60 seconds of it.  No slides, no visuals, just 60 seconds of pitching your innovative feasible idea.  Impress us and $250 can be yours. 

Register to participate by 5 pm October 23! (spectators do not need to register-just show up)

The only rules:
- You have 60 seconds max
- No slides
- No visuals

Refreshments provided by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Spectators are always welcome and encouraged!

SCEO-110-Logo-2010-11_1 Elevator Pitch Competition-Matthew Lightner Award

Competition Results-October, 24, 2013

This year's SCEO Elevator Pitch Competition, sponsored by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was one of the most exciting yet.  With 10 competitors, 3 judges and a countless amount of sandwiches, this year's competition was one to remember.  The winner of the Matthew Lightner $250 award, Emily Albi ('14),  pitched a very convincing, detailed and concise module of a 3d printer that uses melted plastic from water bottles and extrudes them as filament for the 3D printer.


Emily (pictured right) is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering.The idea is part of her Senior Design Project and has beeIMG_4431n an on-going project for quite some time.

The other ideas ranged anywhere from inexpensive wireless headphones to invincible phone cases.  A special thank you to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Santa Clara Entrepreneurs Organization for a successful and unforgettable Elevator Pitch Competition.


A special thank you to our judges this year, including former SCEO President and SCU Alumni, Anthony Prieto. 

Mark your calendars for the SCEO Business Plan Competition scheduled for January 30th, 2014.  Information on registration will be available soon.




Have a Competition to Share?

If you would like to ivite Santa Clara University students to participate in your elevator pitch or business plan competition, please send pertinent event details to the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Go

Printer-friendly format