When I came on board at Palo Alto Software, I really had no concept of business plan competitions. But since managing academic competitions was one of my responsibilities, I quickly learned all about them and was amazed at the myriad of competitions out there.

From the first-ever Twitter Business Plan Contest where you have to explain your business in 140 characters or less to the very well-known and prestigious Moot Corp Competition; to the first-ever Wal-Mart Sustainability Business Plan Competition to the rapidly growing and leading Rice Business Plan Competition, the options for participating in a business plan contest really do seem endless.

Our company sponsors about 25 academic competitions each year and many of them claim to be the biggest, best or most prestigious competition in the academic arena. Therefore I ponder what makes one stand out above the rest…

Is it the prestige of the contest? The press the contest receives? The level of judging? The prize money? The answer to this question is likely very different for every person who enters a competition, but it is still interesting to contemplate what designates one competition as the biggest and the best.

Kristen Langham
Marketing Manager
Palo Alto Software