Entrepreneurship Competitions

College students from across Washington state are invited to apply for student innovation and new venture competitions hosted by UW Foster School of Business’ Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. Competitions take place annually in March, April and May and offer opportunities for technology development and innovation in healthcare and cleantech (through the Health Innovation Challenge and Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge) as well as any other innovative idea (through the UW Business Plan Competition). Students are invited to apply for one or all three. Additionally, the Buerk Center provides support to University of Washington MBA students entering the global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).

The Business Plan Competition (BPC) is a platform for student-led ventures. The competition provides student teams with mentoring from entrepreneurs and investors, the opportunity to tell their stories to the Seattle startup community, and the visibility they need to get going. More than 3,730 students have participated in this annual new venture competition since its inception in 1998, and the Buerk Center has awarded 139 teams with over $1.2 million in seed funding.

The Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC)  mobilizes students to apply their knowledge and ingenuity to solve environmental problems. Since 2009 the Buerk Center has awarded $416K in prototype funding and prize money to teams whose innovations address alternative energy production, clean water, fuel efficiency, etc. This annual challenge is open to students from colleges and universities across the Pacific Northwest.

The new The Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) builds on the strengths of the University of Washington to provide a platform for interdisciplinary student teams to work on new solutions to existing health/healthcare problems, new approaches to helping people live healthier lives, new opportunities for care and treatment, and new product or services to bring to market.

The global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is the world’s largest venture capital competition among top MBA students from 70+ prestigious business schools from 13 countries on 3 continents. At the core of the event is a creative turn of the tables. Unlike business plan competitions in which students pitch their own ideas to investors, at VCIC the students are the investors, and real entrepreneurs pitch to them.