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Rensselaer Business Model Competition
Where Innovation Meets Motivation!

Welcome to the Rensselaer Business Model Competition website.  RPI BPC
The RPI Business Plan Competition is pivoting to a Business Model Competition. Participants won’t be rewarded for their ability to use CAD or write a convincing executive summary or perform the perfect sales pitch. Instead the RPIBMC rewards students for: 

  1. breaking down their idea into the key business model assumptions,
  2. getting outside the building and test those assumptions in the marketplace,
  3. learning from the failures/successes of those tests and applying that knowledge to their model
  4. learning to pivot (change) until they have arrived at a customer-validated business model.

The goal for the Rensselaer Business Model Competition is not only to provide teams with prizes of cash and in-kind services, but also to provide student entrepreneurs with the opportunity to improve their business through workshops, customer interviews, coaching, feedback and live practice sessions in preparation for the myriad of competition opportunities held annually each spring across the nation and globally.

2015 Competition Dates to Remember

Useful Information

Dec. 15

Soft Deadline: Intent to Submit to


Unfamiliar with the business model canvas?
Watch the short videos linked below.

Jan. 30
by midnight

Deadline: Submit Business Model Canvas



Feb. 4

Notification of acceptance


Business Model Canvas writeable

Jan. 31 - Feb. 11

Coaches review and feedback on canvases


Business Model Canvas printable

Feb. 17 & 18

Practice runs with EIR and feedback coaches - sign up for a time slot


What is the Business Model Canvas (2:20)

Feb. 25

Competition from 4-9 p.m., Rensselaer Campus, Darrin Communications Center, Room 330.


9 Components of the Business Model Canvas


How to conduct customer interviews

2015 Program with Team Descriptions
View the Pictures

2014 Winning Teams
2014 Program with Team Descriptions
View the Picture

2013 Winning Teams
2013 Program with Team Descriptions

View the pictures

2012 Winning Teams
2012 Program with Team Descriptions


Qualification Criteria


  1. This competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students only.
  2. Each team must be made of at least half RPI students.
  3. The business idea must be a student-born idea.
  4. Students must be enrolled for the academic year in which the competition takes place.
  5. Students may not participate on more than 1 team each year of the competition.
  6. RPI students must play an integral role in each team.
  7. The presentation must be delivered by RPI student(s).
  8. If the competition is split into graduate and undergraduate tracks, teams must enter in the division dictated by the highest education level of all the team members. This decision will be made after all submissions are received.

Competition Process

  1. Plans can be for a product, service, process or technique.
  2. The submission must be unique to the market.
  3. Your submission does not have to be technology-driven.

Intent to Submit
Send a simple email to with: team name, each member's name, area of study and grad status (UG or G), 1-2 sentence description of your innovation and the team's primary contact person.

Each team's application consists of a completed business model canvas. The canvas is a visual chart comprised of (9) essential components of a business, value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. Teams will list hypotheses in each of the (9) boxes on the canvas and then prioritize them. On an additional page, choose 3-5 hypotheses from the canvas and describe how you will test them. Learn more about what the canvas is and how to use it in your submission here.

Each canvas will be reviewed by a minimum of one coach who will provide feedback prior to the competition date.

Teams are required to attend a coaching session the week prior to the competiton. These will be used for presentation dry-runs and Q&A.

In any competition submission, you should describe your business idea without revealing any proprietary information. We don't want to know what your secret sauce is. Part of this process is learning how to write and present your idea in an intriguing manner without revealing your intellectual property.


If accepted and notified, teams will be asked to present their business model to an external panel of judges. Each presentation is limited to 10 minutes. This time frame will be strictly enforced by a time keeper. Teams are allowed to use visual aids as they see fit. At the end of the 10 minutes, the judging panel will have 5 minutes to ask questions and provide feedback and coaching. Any team member presenting must be college students enrolled for the academic year in which the competition takes place.

Example presentations


Judges will consist of community members and alumni with varying backgrounds in entrepreneurship and business. Judges will provide the teams with feedback for fine-tuning and clarifying their business model and presentation for future competitions. The judges' scores will determine the winners. Judging rubric


Over $15,000 in cash and in-kind services are available this year. If awarded a monetary prize, the money will be distributed in increments based on achieved milestones.


Bob Godgart ’82 (Founder, ChannelEyes, Autotask, PowerAdz, etc.)

Bob Godgart has over 25 years of successful software and SaaS experience, building each company from startup to market leader. He served over 10 years as CEO of Autotask, creating the world's leading Services Automation tool for IT Solution providers.  His current (and 5th) startup ChannelEyes has helped re-imagine the way vendors communicate, educate and engage with their sales channel.

Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti, P.C.Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti

The law offices of Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti, P.C. have graciously donated in-kind services to the first place team(s). Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti, P.C. is the largest law firm in New York's Tech Valley, devoted exclusively to intellectual property law. The firm handles all aspects of acquiring and enforcing intellectual property rights, both domestic and
foreign, including licensing and litigation.

Center for Future Energy Systems CFES logo

Rensselaer's Center for Future Energy Systems is the Energy Center for Advanced Technology (Energy CAT) in New York State and is funded by NYSTAR (New York State Office of Science, Technology and Innovation) and industrial partners. CFES conducts fundamental and applied research to accelerate the development of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies.

Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurshipscte

The Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship (SCTE) helps foster new generations of budding and successful entrepreneurs through outreach programs, education and support systems.

Were you looking for the High School Student Business Plan Competition page? Click here.

Entrepreneurship Continuum

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