Competitions and Funding Opportunities

Competitions within Rutgers

RU Innovators Student Pitch Competition - deadline is September 27.

Rutgers students.  Win funding for your innovation.  Visit the website for details on the competition and a link to the application 

Hult Prize @ Rutgers University

What is Hult Prize? The Hult Prize is an annual competition held amongst MBA and university students from over 300 universities around the world! Teams are challenged to introduce and develop a social business idea aimed to solve a particular pressing social issue. The teams participate in a competition within each university before proceeding to regional finals in various locations. The winners of the regional finals pitch their idea in New York to an exclusive group of judges - including Bill Clinton - for the prize of $1 Million USD to develop their product, idea, or startup.  In 2017, a team from Rutgers was the proud winner of $1 million Hult prize.  For more information on the competition, visit or contact the Rutgers Campus Director for the Hult Prize

Clinton Global Initiative University

Rutgers is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), a growing network of young leaders, change-makers, and entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions to pressing problems in their communities and around the world. Through CGI U’s unique “Commitment to Action” model, participants are asked to examine, devise, and implement solutions to critical global issues like healthcare, climate change, economic inequality, and human rights. Every year, selected students from around the world with viable “Commitments to Action” are invited to attend a three-day meeting filled with entrepreneurial skill-building sessions featuring leaders from government, industry, the private sector, entertainment, and civil society.

For the past three years, the Center for Global Education at the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA Centers) has assisted students in applying for CGI U and in carrying out their Commitments to Action. As a founding member of CGI U’s University Network, Rutgers will continue to provide support for travel and seed funding opportunities for select students. For 2017, Rutgers Honors College will be administering CGIU.   For more information, please contact krista.klein@rutgers.eduI

Rutgers Business Plan Competitions

Rutgers Annual Business Plan Competition encourages student entrepreneurs and supports the growth of jobs in New Jersey. In order to compete for the business competition prizes, there must be a serious intent to launch the proposed business. While open to current Rutgers University students, leadership roles in the business venture must be filled by one of the three eligible categories: Rutgers Business School senior undergraduate students, current MBA students, recent graduates, and recent MBA alumni. For current Rutgers University students who are not in one of the three eligible leadership categories, you can still compete in the competition. Competition organizers can match you with a team of eligible members. Alternatively, if you are in one of the eligible leadership categories and would like to join the competition, you can be matched with a team. Individuals or teams of up to five students/alumni can enter the competition. The competition is supported by the Sales Executives Club of Northern New Jersey Foundation, which provided total cash prizes of $45,000 in 2015-2016. Judges will be selected from Rutgers Business School MBA Alumni who have succeeded in entrepreneurial endeavors. 

MBA students are also eligible to compete in the Biopharma MBA Case Competition.

Venture Well E-Team Program

Venture Well funds and trains student inventors and entrepreneurs who want to address important problems in the world through new technology-based ventures. The E-Team Program provides funding, immersive workshops, and specialized coaching to student STEM innovators to help them move their inventions into the marketplace.  The program and eligibility guidelines are available here.   Note:  Rutgers New Brunnswick and Rutgers Newark are both Venture Well members. 


Competitions outside of Rutgers

UPitchNJ - Statewide Business Plan Competition

The 2019 UPitchNJ Competition will be held April 26 at Seton Hall University.  Information is available at The event includes a pitch competition, demo stations and a keynote address.   

Rutgers Students Kayla Michele Jackson and Chisa Egbelu’s company, Pedul, won first prize in UPitch NJ 2017. Pedul, which launched in March 2017, is a higher education crowd-funding platform that facilitates money from individual campaigns directly to universities in the form of a third-party scholarship: 

Collegiate Inventors Competition

The National Inventors Hall of Fame’s Collegiate Inventors Competition is an annual event that rewards innovations, discoveries, and cutting-edge research by college students and their faculty advisers.  For eligibility requirements and to submit an entry, visit

Inventions are judged by a panel of National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) experts — the most influential innovation experts in the country — for real-world feedback on optimizing the potential of each invention. Competition Finalists will showcase their inventions and interact with thousands of attendees, including USPTO examiners, event sponsors, media and the public, at the November Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo & Awards at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

Finalists receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Washington, D.C., area. Prizes will be awarded to the top three Finalist teams ($10,000, $5,000 and $2,500), along with their advisers, in the undergraduate and graduate divisions.   

Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs 

This annual competition is hosted and organized by the Center for Women and Financial Independence, Smith College's initiative devoted to the support of innovation and entrepreneurship.The competition is designed to give undergraduate entrepreneurs an experience that will help them hone their business plans and elevator pitches. The goal of the Draper Competition is to provide the best educational and entrepreneurial experience of any undergraduate business competition.   The competition will award over $25,000 in cash and prizes.   Note:  If selected, student teams traveling to the competition from Rutgers will be reimbursed up to $200 for travel expenses. 

  • **No school affiliation information should be included in the executive summary.  Visit the event website for details and eligibility guidelines.


Texas Christian University (TCU)  Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Competition

A unique annual competition for undergraduate students around the world to pitch plans for businesses, products or services that make a profit while also benefiting the environment, the community or a specific population.   

TCU Values and Ventures Competition dates to remember:

  • October 15, 2018 -  Intent to Compete Opens
  • February 27, 2019 - Deadline for Application
  • March 1, 2019 - Schools selected to compete notified
  • March 26, 2019 - Business Plan (Deadline for Submission)
  • April 5-6, 2019 - Competition on TCU Campus

Grand Prize - $25,000; Second Place - $15,000; Third Place - $10,000; Founders Award - $5,000; Sly Innovation Award - $2,500
Honorable Mentions (6) - $2,500; Ripple Effect Award - $2,500; Elevator Pitch First Place - $1,250; Second - $750; Third - $500
Honorable Mentions (3) - $250

Additional Information. Questions?  Contact Matt Smilor, Director, Values and Ventures Program, Neeley Entrepreneurship Center  817-257-6797


►Student Startup Madness, a national collegiate digital startup competition

Student Startup Madness (SSM) is a nationwide tournament-style competition for college student digital media startups, culminating with the “Entrepreneurial Eight” national finals at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive in Austin, Texas in March 2017. 

Teams must have more than 30% of their founders enrolled in an accredited US college or university to be eligible and have a venture that qualifies as a “digital media” startup. In keeping with the SXSW Interactive focus, all teams should fall into at least one of the following categories: Web and Online Capabilities, Social Media, Digital Entertainment (film and music), Gaming, Software, Mobile Apps, News and Information Technologies, Health Informatics, and Innovative e-Commerce.

Applications are now open and I urge you to get your students to apply. Neighboring Seton Hall University had a winning team a few years back.   

Apply at

Visit to see a video from the organizer.


►The Rice Business Plan Competition

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 16th 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.

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, entrepreneurs and industry leaders
  • Opportunities to receive individual feedback during 3 separate sessions
  • 2015: $1.5 Million + in prize money was awarded with all teams winning at least one cash award

Applications open October 24, 2016    Applications due February 10, 2017

Competition website   Learn more and apply to compete at