Do you have a mind for business? Is the next big idea taking shape in your head, with the potential to transform into a groundbreaking new venture? Participating in entrepreneurship competitions could be just the start you need, offering the perfect mix of visibility, challenges and opportunities to drive your business idea in the right direction.
Not all aspiring entrepreneurs see startup competitions as the ideal start to their journey. On the face of it, these competitions ask for a significant investment of time and effort, without offering guaranteed returns. But here’s the thing: there’s a lot more to be gained from competing in an entrepreneurship challenge than just the prize.
In this article, we’ll share 5 main reasons why aspiring entrepreneurs from all sectors of innovation should give startup competitions a shot.
Entrepreneurship Competitions Can Make Your Idea Happen
The advantages of startup competitions begin right from step one. The simple act of responding to an entrepreneurship competition brief could be an invaluable exercise for your new venture.
In the process of forming your team and filling out the application form, you’ll be focusing on your ideas, developing them into a concrete plan, and addressing the main business questions you need to think about. This process will benefit your future business regardless of how you fare in a specific competition.
Entrepreneurship Competitions Provide Visibility and Networking
Entrepreneurship competitions are melting pots of fresh ideas and seasoned opinions. When participating in one, you’ll attend events and training sessions, pitch your idea to experts, media channels, partners and investors, and get a ringside view of what your peers are coming up with. The kind of visibility and networking opportunities that startup competitions offer are hard to find elsewhere.
Make sure you go in well-prepared, explain your business clearly, and have your business card and landing page ready. You never know when you’ll meet a potential investor, partner, co-founder, or customer. You’ll also get the chance to be featured on numerous communication and media channels related to incubators’ networks and support institutions.
Entrepreneurship Competitions Give You Access To Grants, Incubation and Other Prizes
Winning an entrepreneurship competition or getting shortlisted for the prize opens up multiple opportunities depending on the program. These could range from grant money to international visibility and opportunities to participate in conferences, to incubation and ongoing business support.
In short, doing well in a startup competition goes a long way towards putting you on the map and getting you ready to meet investors and manage your venture.
Entrepreneurship Competitions Provide Feedback and Validation
Winning an entrepreneurship competition spells great news for your business. But as we mentioned right at the outset, these contests are more than just about winning or losing. They give you real, practical insights into how your business idea would fare in the real world.
The feedback you receive from judges, industry experts, and potential users of your product, allow you to test and validate your idea, which in turn is a great opportunity to learn, adjust and improve your offering according to market needs and ground realities.
Entrepreneurship Competitions Are Your Entry Ticket To The Ecosystem And Expert Support
As a participant in a startup competition, you’ll have access to networks of mentors and expert advisors who are committed and willing to accompany you on your entrepreneurial journey. You’ll discover innovative ideas, learn the best practices in entrepreneurship, meet like-minded people, and have the chance to apply to many other support programs run by partners.
You’ll find the experience immensely helpful as you shape your business plan, develop your minimum viable product (MVP), and explore funding and growth opportunities
Bonus Tips: Prepare To Succeed
It’s important to remember that the entrepreneurship landscape has never been as competitive as it is right now. To make the most out of the opportunities offered by entrepreneurship competitions, keep these tips in mind:
- Read the competition guidelines. Spend time going through the details of the competition brief, objectives, eligibility and judging criteria, and so on. This will help you build a solid pitch that aligns with the broader aims of the competition.
- Be unique. Make your submission and presentation stand out from the crowd. Your personal style and voice may be more effective than you think.
- Display the strength and expertise of your team. A quick introduction to the knowledge, skills and credentials you possess can go a long way in inspiring confidence.
- Have a clear vision. More than a few startups promise way too much in their initial pitches. A concise but clear vision statement indicates that you know what you’re talking about.
- Master the viability of your project. Include statistics and market insights in your pitch to establish that you have realistic and achievable goals.
- Focus on the customer. Build your market strategies around the needs and preferences of your target audience.
- Rehearse your pitch… and do it several times. Get as much feedback as you can from your friends, family, colleagues and mentors.
- Anticipate questions…because you’ll get a lot of them. Go in with an open mind and welcome feedback from the jury.
- Know your jury. Study the judges’ profiles and professional backgrounds, and customize your pitch based on their interests.
- Define a clear call to action. With only a limited amount of time available, it’s natural to want to talk as much as possible about your business and its objectives. But the most successful pitches close with a well-defined and concise call to action.
If you’re interested, stay tuned for our next article about the common judging criteria and questions you’ll have to address in an entrepreneurship competition. You can also check out the upcoming Berytech competitions here and apply!
/About the writer/
Krystel Khalil holds a master’s degree in Marketing and a bachelor’s degree in Business from Saint-Joseph University, and is currently the Programs Director for Berytech, responsible for the projects lab unit, including innovation, entrepreneurship, business and economic development programs and partnerships on the local and international scale, for the support of Lebanese startups. Krystel is a certified mentor from Mowgli Foundation and Confideo venture mentoring (affiliated to MIT) and has a certificate in social entrepreneurship from Insead.