Apply for the Rice Business Plan Competition 2018 ($1.5 million in cash and prizes)

Apply for the Rice Business Plan Competition 2018 ($1.5 million in cash and prizes)

Deadline: February 9, 2018

Apply now for the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition, the world’s richest and largest student startup competition! The competition is designed to offer student entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches to attract funding to successfully commercialize their product. In 2018, for the 18th time, students will have the opportunity to win more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes.

The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition. It is hosted and organized by the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative that supports entrepreneurship.

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. It provides 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. Judges will evaluate the teams as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting startup funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms.


More than 500 teams are expected to apply for 42 spots representing four categories:

  • life sciences/medical devices/digital health
  • digital/information technology/mobile
  • energy/clean technology/sustainability
  • and other innovations


  • 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 three separate sessions
  • 2016: $1.7 Million + in prize money was awarded with all teams winning at least one cash award

The goal of the RBPC is to provide the best overall educational and entrepreneurial experience of any business plan/new venture competition and we were very gratified by the feedback we have received from past competitors and judges.


In total, more than $1.5 Million in cash and investment prizes will be awarded to the teams at the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition. The prizes are structured so that all 42 teams are guaranteed to win cash and/or investment prize money.

  • $300,000 – GOOSE Society Investment Prize
  • $200,000 – OWL Investment Prize
  • $100,000 – The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Houston Angel Investment Prize
  • $100,000 – Houston Angel Network Investment Prize
  • $100,000 – Cisco Global Problem Solver Prize
  • $50,000 – RBPC Runner-up Prize (2nd Place Overall)
  • $50,000 – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Energy Prize
  • and many more!


In general, any student startup team, in a broad range of industries, from any university, in any degree program can apply to the RBPC.

  • The competition is for degree-seeking students currently enrolled on a full- or part-time basis. This includes students who graduated or will graduate any time after July 1, 2017.
  • At least one of the team founder must be a graduate-level student. 
  • Typically, the teams have a technology component in one of three sectors:
    • Energy/Clean Technology
    • Life Science/Biotechnology
    • Information Technology
    • Other Innovation (for those startups which don’t fit neatly in another category)
  • The presenting team that joins the competition must include two to five current students.
  • All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early-stage venture capital investment or early-stage angel investment.
  • All ventures must be “for-profit” entities. This is an early-stage pitch competition, therefore, startups that have raised more than $250,000 in equity capital from sources other than the students or their friends or families prior to July 1, 2017 are not eligible to compete.


They use Startup Rounds to manage our RBPC applications:

  • Answer a survey about your team
  • Upload a 2-5 page Executive Summary in PDF format
  • Optionally submit a 60-second video pitch (judges really like to see/hear about your startup!)
  • You can read more about submission guidelines here.

Take your chance to accelerate your startup and kickstart your entrepreneurship career.

Apply for the Competition 2018!

For more information, visit Rice Business Plan Competition.