Competitor Resources

We're looking forward to having you compete in the Rice Business Plan Competition! Before accepting the invitation, please make sure to check out the rules and format documentation to ensure you're able to compete. All set and ready to go? Please check out the rest of our resources and information to ensure you're setup for a successful virtual competition. 

This page will be updated regularly with more materials as we get closer to the 2023 competition. 

Details for 2023 RBPC Competitors

Below is information for 2023 RBPC competitors. Please check back soon for news and updates on having the best experience possible!

  • Date Time Event Format
    Detailed Schedule with Round 1 pitch order will be here. Elevator Pitch Competition pitch order will be here.    
    Thursday, May 11

    Noon CDT

    Registration and Lunch for Startups Welcome to the RBPC! Arrive by Noon for lunch and get settled for the panel presentation and practice pitch.
      1:00 - 1:50 PM CDT Panel - Making the Most of the RBPC Find out how to use the competition to your advantage! And have your last-minute questions  answered.
      2:00 - 5:30 PM CDT Practice Pitch sessions Run through your pitch and get feedback from a select group of judges.
      6:00 - 7:30 PM CDT Elevator Pitch Competition Let the games begin! All startups will participate in the Elevator Pitch Competition in front of 150+ judges. Bring your best 60-second pitch and prepare to wow the audience!
      7:30 - 9:00 PM CDT Company Showcase and Reception Showcase your startup and meet the judges! Be prepared to answer questions, talk about your startup, and make contacts! A light dinner will be served.
    Friday, May 12 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM CDT

    Round 1 + Feedback Sessions

    All startups compete in Round 1, in 7 sector-specific flights of 6 startups each. Pitch for 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes of Q&A with judges. The afternoon is reserved for feedback sessions with the judges.
      4:30 - 6:30 PM CDT Semi-Finalist announcement and Reception The two top-scoring startups from each flight (14 startups), plus the next top-scoring startup overall (1) will advance to the semi-finals.
    Saturday, May 13 8:00 - 10:50 AM CDT Round 2: Semi-Finals + Wildcard Semi-Finals: 15 startups pitch in 3 flights; the 2 top-scoring startups from each flight advance to the Finals. In the Wildcard Round, held simultaneously with the semis, the top-scoring startup over all 27 teams advances to the Finals. All pitches are 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes of Q&A with judges.
      10:50 - 11:50 AM Lunch  
      11:45 AM CDT Finalists announcement Find out which 7 startups advance!
      12:00 - 4:00 PM CDT Final Round 7 startups compete! Pitch for 15 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Q&A with judges. Expect about 200+ judges! And prepare to move fast!
      6:00 - 7:00 PM CDT Company Showcase Reception Showcase your startup to the attendees who will vote on their favorite!
      7:00 - 9:30 PM CDT Awards Banquet We will announce the winners and celebrate all startups at the Awards Banquet. Expect a rollicking good time!
  • Check out the What to Expect at the RBPC: Schedule and Judging & Scoring Criteria (coming soon) guide to see how the event will run, guidelines for each part of the competition, how startups are scored, and what questions to expect from the judges! Pages 7-9 of the guide offer the most insight on how to prepare for the RBPC.

    Want to see what winning pitches look like? All 7 finalist pitches from the past few competitions are on the website! Check the 2022 competition to see what it's like to pitch in-person.

  • The competition rules and format document outlines (coming soon) the details for competing at the RBPC. It is a required reading that will outline the following key points:

    • Competitors: The pitching and presenting startup that competes at the RBPC must contain at least two team members and a maximum of four team members; all must be current students, and at least one must be a current graduate-level student.
    • Attendance: Your startup team is required to attend the event April 7-9, 2022. At least two team members must be present and accessible in every oral presentation, session and round; and that those two members must be current students, and one of them must be a graduate degree-seeking student. 
    • Presenters: For each pitch (excluding the Elevator Pitch), startups need a minimum of one student pitch (i.e. do the talking), but up to four students can pitch.
    • Documents: You must submit required documents to compete by March 21, 2022
  • Below are questions and answers about competing at the RBPC!

    Q - Is the business plan or investor pitch deck scored or judged at the RBPC? Why do I submit one?
    A - No, the business plan or investor pitch deck is not factor into the scoring or judging at the RBPC. It's used for mentoring--startups will get feedback on their BP or investor PD before the competition which may help guide them as to how to present their startup.
    You submit one so that judges (and investors) can do due diligence on your startup. Judges will have access to your BP or investor PD during the competition. More info on what to include in your BP or investor PD is on page 3-4 of the Competition Rules and Format doc.

    Q - What is the difference between a business plan and investor pitch deck? That document I have to submit by mid-April?
    A - No difference other than format! A business plan is usually in a Word doc; an investor pitch deck is usually in power point, Google slides, etc. You can submit either. Submit something that does a "deep dive" into your startup. Don't submit your presentation deck, or the deck you will use in your pitches at the RBPC.

    Q - How long is our pitch at the RBPC?
    A - All investor pitches at the RBPC are 15 minutes long. Your Elevator Pitch is 60 seconds long! Each startup will give at least two full-length investor pitches at the RBPC, and give their Elevator Pitch once.

    Q - When do we need to arrive on Thursday, May 11?
    A - Arrive on Rice University campus around noon for lunch, and by 1:00 PM for the panel presentation. Definitely arrive in time for the Practice Pitch sessions beginning at 2:00 PM.

    Q – How can I prepare for the RBPC?
    A – The long-read of how to prepare and what to expect is in this document.

    Q – How many times will I pitch at the RBPC?
    A – All startup teams will do 1 elevator pitch (60 seconds) and at least 2 full-length investor pitches (15 minutes).

    Q - Who will judge at the RBPC?
    A - There will be over 250 judges throughout the 3 days of competition. As of now, well over half are investors in come capacity. I will update startups closer to the event with the full list of registered judges.

    Q - What can I win at the RBPC?
    A – While each startup team will win at least $800 cash for completing the competition, there a quite a few other prizes you can win. Check the prize list and see what’s out there and what you are eligible for. You may want to tailor part of your pitch to show you are eligible for certain prizes.   

    Q – What do I need to bring to the RBPC?
    A – The quick list of what to bring: yourself, your competing team members, verbal investor pitch (15 minutes), elevator pitch (60 seconds), pitch deck/presentation deck, backup of presentation deck, items for your company showcase table
    Full details are on the front page of this document .

    Q - What a/v and tech is available for the pitches?
    A - All Round 1 and the Semi-Final Round/Wildcard Round will take place in the Jones School classrooms. The Elevator Pitch Competition and Final Round will take place in the Shell Auditorium. Please see this page for info on tech and a/v that will be available.

    Q – When is my pitch at the RBPC?
    A – Check the schedule for the Practice Pitches and Round 1 pitches! It will be posted here.

    Q – What should I wear at the RBPC?
    A – There is no dress code at the RBPC; you are not expected to wear any special clothing. But you are expected to look the part of a startup pitching for investment. Which you are! Generally you want your technology, product and company to speak the loudest, to be the center of attention (not your clothes).
    Below are some thoughts. They are not endorsed or promoted by the RBPC, but rather a checklist to think about. If in doubt, talk to your academic advisor, mentor or entrepreneurship center director:

    • Your outfit and image should reflect the environment you’re trying to achieve at your startup. You are welcome to wear a team shirt with your your company logo or company colors.
    • You can always go with clothes that are basic, classic and comfortable.
    • Your outfit is not your company and will not sell it. But the attention you pay to details shows how much you care.
    • Your choice of clothing helps control your message and the impression you want to give.
  • Travel

    Houston is served by two airports--Intercontinenal Airport (IAH) and Hobby Airport. IAH is about 45 minutes from the Rice University campus; Hobby is about 20 minutes. Please use a ride share, taxi, or airport shuttle from the airport to Rice University or the Intercontinental Houston - Medical Center hotel. There is no reliable and quick public transportation. 


    All startups are encouraged to book their hotel stay at our conference hotel--the Intercontinental Houston - Medical Center. We have a conference rate there of $179+tax per night.

    You will be able to book your hotel room here starting in March, or contact the Reservations Department at 713-422-2779 or toll free at 888-465 4329 and identify yourself as guests of the Rice Business Plan Competition 2022 in order to receive your special group rate.

    The guest room has a cut-off date that will be posted here.

    The conference hotel is less than 1 mile from Rice University. A shuttle from the hotel to Rice University campus will be available each day of the RBPC to get you to and from the event.

  • A shuttle will run daily from the Intercontinental Houston - Medical Center Hotel to the RBPC at McNair Hall (#57 on map) on Rice University campus. The schedule will be posted here.

    1. Log in with email and code (sent to you by email from the RBPC Director) to access/create your account
    2. Click on Create New Company
    3. Answer the basic questions about your startup, and click on videos for help
    4. Go to Create Plan to get started.
    5. Click on Pitch in the top-most bar menu. These are the only pages you will create for the RBPC event program. Fill in as much as you can! This is what all the judges and investors will see during the competition. Each team’s pitch will be two pages in the event program.
    6. Click on View or Edit to start filling in the sections. In Edit, there is a left-hand menu were you can see all the options for information to add to your pages.
    7. Click I’m Done to save your work as you go.
    8. Click on View to see your pages as you are working.
    9. ***Please complete the Team and Key Roles section, and add startup member contact details (email, website, etc.). This is the best way for interested people to contact you during and after the competition.***
    10. You can click Publish to get a link to see your pages. You can click on “View your secret web page” to see what it looks like, and that all your info has made in onto your pages.
    11. If you want to make changes to your pages after you click Publish, click Stop Publishing My Pitch to continue working. There is also an opportunity to publish your link again after edits with a Republish prompt.
    12. When you have finished your pages, and are content with how they look, click Publish on the top menu. You will get a link to your pages; put that link in your application ( under Live Plan link)”
Person Painting

The Rice Business Plan Competition is a unique and potentially life-changing event, rich in opportunities for learning, discovery, friendship and both personal and professional growth. Let us work together to make the RBPC the most impactful, positive and amazing experience for all participants. Read more about our values and code of conduct. 

Optional Executive Summary and Template

Using this template is not required for the application, but it does give you an idea of what information to include in your executive summary. Application screeners will pay most attention to the executive summary part of your application.