March and Madness.
The words go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or non-dilutive and grant funding.
Many universities around the country are gearing up to send their best men and women ballers to compete for pride, glory, and ultimate bragging rights. With March Madness comes triumph and heartbreak (as a Georgetown basketball fan, I know the latter ... I still have nightmares of FGCU dunking on us.)
But no matter how you feel about college basketball, one thing is for sure - March is one of your final chances to secure funding opportunities for your venture this academic year. Most university-centric competitions have already passed, but there are a handful waiting in the wings for you to shoot your shot.
Check out the Final Four university competitions of March below (plus a bonus one in early April). And if you want to stay up to date with notifications on funding, resources, and other entrepreneurial opportunities, you can subscribe to my free Substack.
1) E-Fest 2021
Deadline: March 7th @ 11:59 pm
Eligibility: Undergraduate ventures of any stage (read more rules - your university will also have to register)
Prize Money: $215,000 prize pool
Overview. Undergraduates from four-year colleges and universities in North America have the chance to compete for $215,000 in cash prizes at a three-day celebration of undergraduate entrepreneurship April 22-24, 2021, typically held in Minneapolis at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. However, e-Fest is going virtual in 2021. The deadline is coming up shortly so shoot your shot soon!
2) New York State Business Plan Competition
Deadline: March 26th
Eligibility: New York College Students
Prize Money: Being released soon!
Overview. The NYBPC is the annual competition featuring the best teams from every region of New York since 2010. Each year, student teams compete for prize money and recognition. The program provides opportunities for students enrolled in colleges and universities across New York to gain entrepreneurial skills and compete on their ingenuity, first on campus, then in the region, and for top teams, the statewide finals.
3) TiE DC University Pitchfest
Deadline: March 15th
Eligibility: DMV (D.C. / Maryland / Virginia) College Students
Prize Money: 1st Prize $5,000, 2nd Prize $3,000, 3rd Prize $2,000
Overview. TiE DC is pleased to announce the TiE DC University PitchFest for college/university students across Washington DC, Maryland & Virginia (DC, MD and VA). In addition to the $10K prize pool, the PitchFest Competition offers:
• Mentoring and coaching from the network of TiE and other successful entrepreneurs
• In-kind prizes for building your start up
• Access to capital from investors and network of TiEDC as well as TiE Global
• The winning team (TiE DC team) will present their plan in the TiE Global competition, which offers more than $50,000 cash and in-kind prizes
Open to - Current students from Colleges/Universities and students graduates from 2019 and 2020
4) Washington State University Business Plan Competition
Deadline: March 26th
Eligibility: There's an Open League track for any non-WSU student venture
Prize Money: $5,000 for Open League track winner
Overview. The WSU College of Business, Business Plan Competition was developed to give student entrepreneurs and future business owners the opportunity to practice business in a real-world setting, showcase their business acumen and network with industry professionals. The Business Plan Competition is key to rounding out academic and outreach efforts—bridging theory and application for students who participate.
The BPC also includes a dedicated league for collegiate teams outside the WSU system. Five teams from other universities will be selected to compete in the Open League. If you are competing in the Open League, please be aware of the procedural differences listed in the competition rules.
5) Dempsey Startup Competition
Deadline: April 5th
Eligibility: Enrolled college student across the Cascadia Corridor (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and British Colombia)
Prize Money: $25,000 Grand Prize
$10,000 Second Place Prize
$7,500 Third Place Prize
$5,000 Fourth Place Prize
Plus some industry-specific $5K/$2.5K prizes
Overview. The Dempsey Startup Competition (Dempsey Startup), organized by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, provides a real-world experience for student entrepreneurs, promoting student ideas and new venture creation to the entrepreneurial community. Participating in the Dempsey Startup gives students practice in the dynamics of venture creation by developing an idea, putting together a founding team, writing a business plan, and presenting to investors. In fact, many ideas that started as a class project turned into a start-up company through the competition process! The Dempsey Startup is open to enrolled, degree-seeking undergrads and grad students at accredited colleges and universities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and Alaska.
The Interactive Funding Database
Those are all of the aggregated funding opportunities that are open as of March 2021. Below are all of the rest of the open opportunities, along with eligibility, funding amounts, deadlines, and more. I recommend you click View Larger Version in the bottom right hand corner and use the filter features to sort through and find the ones relevant to you. This database will be updated monthly - in tandem with these blog posts - so feel free to bookmark and keep coming back.
Want to stay in the loop with future funding opportunities? Sub to my Substack below: