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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 plan 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.

2014 Competition Dates to Remember

Useful Information

Dec 6

Info Session: Changes to competition and find a partner


Dec 14

Deadline: Intent to Submit to


1-page Printable Flyer

Dec 18

Live Q&A with competition hosts 5pm


Jan 24
by 5PM

Deadline: Submit Business Model Canvas


Business Model Canvas

Jan 31

Notification of acceptance


Jan 31 - Feb 11

Coaches review and feedback on canvases


Presentation Guide

Feb 13

Business Plan Prep Workshop: The Pitch


Feb 17&18

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


Must-See Videos

Feb 26




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. Students must be enrolled for the 2013-2014 academic year.
  4. Students may not participate on more than 1 team each year of the competition.
  5. RPI students must play an integral role in each team.
  6. 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.


  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 is a simple email sent to that should include: 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.

The business model canvas, is required the for this competition. It was developed by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur. Learn more about what the canvas is and how to use it in your submission here.

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 innovation in an intriguing manner without revealing your intellectual property.


If accepted and notified, teams will be asked to present their business plan 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.

Presentation guide available here.


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.


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.


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.

Entrepreneurs' Organization of Albany EO albany

The Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) is a global business network of 8,000+ business owners in 122 chapters and 35 countries. EO enables small and large business owners to learn from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life. Our vision is to build the world's most influential entrepreneur community, which aligns with our mission of supporting entrepreneurial education and engaging entrepreneurs to learn and grow.

CornerStone TelephoneCornerstone Telephone logo

CornerStone Telephone is the single source of advanced communication and networking systems for businesses of all sizes. If you are a business owner or IT manager, we will empower you with functionality and control, so you can increase the productivity of your people. Whether you want to better manage growth or consolidate voice and data services, CornerStone has multiple configuration options that can be customized to meet your specific needs.

Rensselaer's Center for Automation Technologies and Systems

The Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) provides an effective interface to leverage a broad range of research resources in automation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with highly trained
technical staff to provide project management that matches industrial requirements and schedules. Our unique combination of leading research, excellence in theory and analysis, practical design and process implementation has paid off for numerous industrial partners.

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.




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



Entrepreneurship Continuum

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