Competing against Others for Coveted Grant Startup Funding

By Beverly A. Browning

Some grants exist, both nationally and internationally, that can help you jump-start your new business. Where are they, and how the heck do you find them? Start by typing business plan competitions into your favorite search engine. If you didn’t already feel that the demands of a startup were overwhelming, you definitely will when seeking grant funding.

What is a business plan competition, you ask? It’s when leading universities and other institutional-type funders put out a call for the best business plan models. (In other words, if you enter one of these competitions, you’re competing against graduate and post-graduate students.) A panel of business experts reviews each plan and selects the winner(s). The prize can be up to $100,000 for some competitions.

A very reliable website that lists legitimate business plan competitions is BPC (Biz Plan Competitions). Click List from the pull-down menu under the Competitions tab. From there you can sort by state, prize year, and category.

Search the Internet weekly for reliable updated listings and emerging competitions. Be diligent because the early bird gets the worm — or the grand prize to start a new business!