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New England Biz Plan Competitions That Offer Cash and Connections to Entrepreneurs

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entry fee for a chance to compete for an investment of up to $250,000, Revolutionary Angels in Cambridge has just the competition for you. Last month, Wade drilled down to the bottom of this (controversial, judging from reader comments) business model, in which entry fees are used to make investments in the winners. We’ll see how well this contest design works out for Revolutionary Angels, since this fall marks its first competition.

Deadline: Dec. 31, 2009

Finale: Jan. 15, 2010

Top prize: (Up to) $250,000 investment

Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

This annual competition has traditionally had separate student and entrepreneur tracks, and this year it is adding a “green” track for green businesses. It’s open to entrepreneurs from technology fields as well as non-tech sectors, so it attracts a diverse array of entries. There are only a few restrictions for teams that enter this competition, but one that stands out is that the winning teams have to commit to establishing their businesses in Rhode Island. Also, the competition includes a series of workshops and events throughout the fall, winter, and spring of each year, so don’t be fooled by the late deadline date for applications. (For example, there’s $1,000 in prizes up for grabs at the competition’s elevator pitch contest on Dec. 8, 2009.)

Deadline: April 5, 2010

Finale: May 3, 2010

Top prize: Not available

WPI Venture Forum Business Plan Contest

Worchester Polytechnic Institute puts on an annual entrepreneurship competition of its own, attracting teams from all over the Northeast. Several promising Massachusetts startups have competed in this competition. One past winner of note is Framingham, MA-based Nimbit, which launched a Facebook application last month called MyStore to help musicians sell their music on the popular social networking website.

Deadline: Passed (Oct. 9, 2009)

Finale: Nov. 10, 2009

Top prize: $15,000

YES Y50K and Y2K competitions at Yale University

The Yale Entrepreneurial Society (YES) launched its annual business plan competition a decade ago for teams affiliated with Yale University. Prior to its finals, the competition puts on workshops that are designed to help teams write business plans and such. The primer for the Y50K is an executive summary contest called the Y2K, where a total of $2,000 in prizes is awarded to groups in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Though the competition is limited to Yalies, it appears to be sector agnostic.

Y2K competition

Deadline: Dec. 6, 2009

Finale: Jan. 18, 2010

Top prize: $500

Y50K competition

Deadline: Unavailable

Finale: Unavailable

Top prize: $50,000 (2009)

As always, please send us a note if we’ve missed something or if any of the information on the competitions listed needs to be updated.

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