Posted in Business basics | by: David Cheng

The Ultimate List of Startup Competitions, Hackathons & More

There’s no shortage of ways to raise money for your business. If you’re worried about equity dilution to your business, startup competitions are a great way to get money in the door without giving up valuable equity.

We compiled a list of the country’s top startup competitions, hackathons, business plan contests, grants, and more. The only criteria was that the prize had to be cash or cash equivalents, no investments.

For a sample of the list, here are some competitions broken down by category.


These are competitions limited to current students and/or alumni of an academic institution. Example:

The UC Berkeley Startup Competition

  • Application Deadline: Thursday, November 20, 2014
  • Prize: Up to $60,000
  • Eligibility: At least one team member must be a current student, faculty, staff or an alumnus/a of any University of California campus. For more information, see here.

See more academic competitions here.


These are competitions limited to residents of a particular city, county, state, or country. Example:

New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition

  • Application Deadline: June 9, 2015
  • Prize: Up to $15,000
  • Eligibility: You must be 18 years of age or older, live in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island as a legal resident or US citizen, and wish to start a business in Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island. For more information, see here.

See more geo-specific competitions here.


These are competitions limited to a particular group, typically ethnic, cultural, gender, etc. Example:

French American Entrepreneurship Award

  • Application Deadline: January 31, 2015
  • Prize: $10,000
  • Eligibility: The entrant must be a French-American founder-entrepreneur fluent in French and English, thirty-five years old or younger. For more information, seehere.

See more group-based competitions here.


These are competitions limited to a particular industry. Example:

Shopify Build a Business

  • Application Deadline: March 31, 2015
  • Prize: Once-in-a-lifetime trip to Richard Branson’s Private Island for mentorship
  • Eligibility: Entrant must have a Shopify store.

See more industry competitions here.


These are competitions limited to hackathons. Example:

Launch Hackathon

  • Application Deadline: February 27, 2015 (event date)
  • Prize: $100k investment prize or $10k in cash + guaranteed spot on stage at the LAUNCH Festival 2015!
  • Eligibility: Entrant is pre-vetted.