There is an interesting article about business planning contests in the Wall Street Journal today. It talks about a trend that we here at Palo Alto Software have been seeing over the past few years. More and more organizations, both for profit, non-profit and government organizations are sponsoring business plan competitions. It used to be that a business plan competition happened at the MBA level at a few Universities across the country. Now there are competitions happening everywhere and catering to lots of different types of entrepreneurs.
In the WSJ article they mention a competition that markets to women. We have been approached for participation in contests by people that run competitions for Native Americans, for rural areas in Alaska and Alberta, for baby boomers, the list goes on and on. The WSJ article has a few more examples of targeted competitions.
The most interesting thing about a competition is that, across the board, I can guarantee that the hardest challenge a competition faces is bringing in decent plans (notice I did not say GOOD). If you have taken the time to write a good plan, or have thought about joining a competition, I bet your chances of winning and getting prize money are actually much much higher than the chance of ever getting funded by a VC firm or even angel investors. Even though planning is good, and its hard to conceive of a successful start-up that has NOT done some basic planning , there are too many people out there that simply don't write a plan.
So what are you waiting for? Get started today! Write a good plan and potentially win some money to start your business! Here is a list of some competitions to get you started.
Sabrina Parsons aka Mommy CEO