Here’s an interesting idea in prizes for business plan contests: The winner of Princeton’s competition on Friday, May 28, gets a one-hour meeting with Silicon Valley venture capital legend Sequoia Capital, plus two round-trip tickets from the East Coast.
That’s in addition to free marketing plan consulting, business planning consulting, and legal services. Plus, of course, the prestige of winning at Princeton.
Sure, that first prize doesn’t match the million-dollar cash-and-equivalent prize money for the Rice business plan contest; and Princeton, without a business school of its own–let alone an entrepreneurship center–can’t match the prestige of the University of Texas’ Moot Corp. Still, I’ve been judge and presenter at the Princeton event a couple of times now, and I’m looking forward to doing it again next week. It’s held on Princeton’s beautiful campus (right), it attracts very strong new businesses, and Princeton does it during a graduation/reunion weekend that’s one of the best of its kind.
Not having a business school as part of the institution doesn’t seem to dampen the work of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Network, which still manages to bring several hundred people, speakers, judges, and interesting new companies to the event. This year the finalists include a social entrepreneurship track as well as the main track, plus a collection of shorter pitches from additional companies. I’ll be doing a workshop on business planning in the morning, as part of that event. And Princeton/Stanford alum Brian Spaly, CEO of the Trunk Club and co-founder of Bonobos, is giving the keynote.
(Tangent: As an alumnus of Notre Dame, University of Oregon and Stanford, but not Princeton, I envy the way Princeton does its graduation/reunion celebration as a single event every year. Having both of those affairs at the same time makes for a long weekend party that brings all ages onto the campus at the same time. It starts with an alumni parade led by the oldest alumni and ends with a graduation ceremony three days later. That seems so much better than what most schools do. For example, my eldest daughter graduated from Notre Dame the same year as my 25th reunion, but the graduation and the reunion were three weeks apart; we live in Oregon, so we went to the graduation, but not the reunion. Princeton does it right.)
(Image: Oleg Mit/Shutterstock)