Rice University
Rice Magazine| The Magazine of Rice University | No. 3 | 2009

Business Plan Competition Offers a Wealth of Opportunity

The Rice Business Plan Competition, which has become the world’s richest and largest business plan competition, saw a 45 percent increase in entries for this year’s event in April.

Forty-two teams were chosen from nearly 340 entries submitted from around the globe. The teams presented their new technology business plans to more than 200 venture capital investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders who served as judges. At stake was a chance to win a share of more than $800,000 in cash and prizes.

Thirty-six of the teams contended in four categories — life sciences, information technology, energy/clean technology and sustainability — and the other six competed in the area of social entrepreneurship, a new category this year.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Dynamics team won the $325,000 grand prize with a marketing proposal for interactive credit and debit cards. The team’s next-generation interactive payment cards use programmable magnetic stripes to communicate dynamic information to the 60 million 1970s-era magnetic stripe readers that process day-to-day payment card transactions.

“We hope this year’s crop of competitors turn out to be as successful as last year’s,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. “Through the mentoring and networking available at the Rice Business Plan Competition, nearly 70 percent of last year’s competitors have gone on to successfully launch their companies, raise funding and build their businesses.”

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The Rice Business Plan Competition is hosted by the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Rice Alliance, which was formed as a strategic partnership between the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the Jones School. FORTUNE Small Business magazine co-sponsored the competition again this year and featured the winners, teams and competition in its June 2009 issue and on CNNMoney.com.