Values and Code of Conduct

RBPC Purpose

The purpose of the Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) is to help innovators and their investors move bold ideas forward fast. We enhance the probability of success for student entrepreneurs and their startups by providing mentoring and guidance, deep connections to the entrepreneurship ecosystem and opportunities for engagement. The RBPC creates an environment for our competitors, judges, sponsors, volunteers, sponsors, attendees and all participants to connect, learn from each other, pursue big ideas and make a powerful impact on people’s lives.

We invite all RBPC participants to help ensure a positive competition experience for everyone:

  • We believe in a culture of opportunity, respect, inclusion and tolerance to promote the open exchange of ideas
  • Our goal is to create an environment for positive conversation and collaboration among all participants throughout the RBPC
  • We strive to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial culture that not only values differences, but also elevates them as sources of strength and innovation — at our event and in the world.

RBPC Code of Conduct

We ask all members of the RBPC community to reflect our culture through their actions. Please welcome and show respect for everyone at the Rice Business Plan Competition — the competitors, judges, sponsors, volunteers, attendees, sponsors, staff and all participants. Each of us is responsible for the success and integrity of the competition:

  • We expect equal treatment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, disability or veteran status. Verbal comments or actions related to any of these areas may be discriminatory, regardless of whether they are unintentional.
  • Judges should not comment on a startup team member’s appearance or clothing. We know there can be wide differences in startup attire, but it is the responsibility of the startups at the competition to determine for themselves how they want to present themselves. Focus your questions and comments on the content of the presentations, not on the presenters.

  • The RBPC will not tolerate disrespectful or harassing behavior, conversations or interactions by any participants: competitors, judges, sponsors, volunteers, attendees, sponsors and all participants, in any form, in any aspect of the program, regardless of whether it occurs on campus or off campus.
  • This includes taking responsibility to help others we may see in distress. When something goes wrong, we must seek out those who can help address it. We must always strive to prevent harm and wrongdoing; but when it occurs, we must respond with integrity. It is our collective responsibility to look out for each other.
  • Any participant found to be acting inconsistently with this Code of Conduct may be removed from the competition at the discretion of the organizers. The RBPC reserves the right to refuse admittance to, or remove any person from, current or future competitions at any time.


We ask that you contact us if you experience or witness actions or behavior at the RBPC that violate our Code of Conduct or are inconsistent with our culture or values. The following are available at any time before, during and after the competition, and all interactions are confidential:

  • Brad Burke, Managing Director, Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, 713-348-6136,
  • Catherine Santamaria, Director, Rice Business Plan Competition, 713-348-3190,
  • Lina Bell, Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Jones Graduate School of Business, 713-348-4731, (Independent third party, not affiliated with the Rice Business Plan Competition)

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.