Another method of financing your startup business is to compete in Business Plan Competitions.  These competitions offer the opportunity to tens of thousands of dollars.  Most Business Plan competition are run by colleges and universities and are geared towards students. Others are geared towards the general public.   The organizations listed below target minorities with their programs

The competition usually consists of key members of the organization making a presentation before a panel of judges who will decide who the winners are.  Some competitions include making an elevator pitch.  Sometimes more than one presentation is required. 

Be sure to go to the website of the competition you're interested in and follow the submission guidelines.

Take advantage of these competitions to get your business financed.


Organization Description Type
American Indian Business Leaders Business Plan Competition

All student members of an American Indian Business Leaders Chapter, as well as native student-based business clubs can participate.  The process runs from February thru March.  The winning prizes for 3rd to 1st place range from $250 to $1,500.

American Indian
Harvard Asian American Alumni Summit Elevator Pitch Competition

One core team member, however, must be a  current Asian/Asian American student, alumnus, faculty member or staff member of any Harvard University school.  Prizes include $2,500 and in-kind services.  The process runs from  September thru October.

KeyBank Foundation Minority MBA Case Competition

Run by KeyBank and Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.  1st through 4th place winners receive plaques and team scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.   Each Team must be composed of three presenting members plus one alternate member. Presenting teams selected for participation in this minority MBA student case competition must be ethnically diverse.  Held in February.

OFC Venture Challenge Business Plan Competition

At least one member of the team must be a MBA or graduate business student at a participating historically-black college or university. Other members of the team could be from any discipline or undergraduate students.  First place wins $10,000, second place $5,000, third place $3,000, fourth place $2,000 and consolation prize is $1,000.  The process runs from February through April.

Make Mine A Million $ Business

Provides a business plan competition for women. The goal of this business plan competition for women is to enable one million women-owned companies to be million dollar companies.  Winning prizes are provided by the sponsors (Count me in, American Express, Samís Club, WIPP and FEDEX).  To participate you must register for one of the online communities at the website and be nominated to participate.

NAWBO Business Plan Competition

Run by NAWBO Orlando. Women entrepreneurs from all disciplines Ė technology, engineering, business, social and political sciences, can participate.  Prizes include cash and in-kind services valued at over $50,000.  Runs from November thru September.

National Retail Federation (NRF) NRF runs a "Startup of the Year" competition.  The winner gets a $20,000 cash prize and other benefits. This competition identifies and showcases not just the most innovative and creative startup, but the one that experts across the spectrum agree will significantly improve or radically alter how retailing is done. All
Cartier Womenís Initiative Business Plan Competition

This business plan competition is for women business owners.  The winning prize include up to $20,000 in cash and in-kind services.  The process runs from March thru October. 

S.E.E.D. Business Plan Competition

Women owned businesses that are less than 2 years old are eligible to participate.  Winners will share $10,000 in cash and in-kind services.  The process runs from February through April.

Start Right Business Plan Competition

The business must be 51% women owned and operates in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.  A total of  $10,000 and in-kind services will be divided among the winners with $5,000 going to the first place winner. 

WORC Impact Business Plan Competition

The business must be 51% owned by a woman and located in the Philadelphia area.  Prizes range from $1,000 to $2,500.  The process takes place in May.  Must complete a WORC training program before receiving the prize.