Can Lean Startups Compete in Business Plan Competitions?


Traditional vs. Lean Startups

In traditional startup practice, a founder writes a lengthy business plan, pitches it to investors, assembles a team, builds out necessary infrastructure, and then works hard to sell his or her product. In the uncertainty and pace of the modern marketplace, startups operating in this way often struggle to keep up. According to research out of Harvard Business School, 75 percent of all venture-funded startups fail. Lean methodology, articulated mostly by Steve Blank and Eric Reis, seeks to help more startups succeed through a number of fundamental changes to the traditional model.


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Best Practices for Running a Business Competition


Whether you are planning to run a business plan, a business model, pitch or idea competition there is a couple of things I have noticed from hosting a couple of hundred competitions in the last two years that you may want to consider.

Don’t run a competition just to check a box for your organization. Business competitions are a wonderful way to provide experiential learning for your applicants. If you can’t put in the time and provide a clear benefit to those applicants, education, mentorship or capital, let them know about other competitions and help prepare them. In a recent

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SiNode Wins Rice Business Plan Competition


SiNode Systems won the Rice Business Plan Competition in Houston this past weekend. The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship hosts the three-day competition, which boasts the largest judging panel and distributes the most prize money—more than $1 million—of any such competition in the world.

SiNode finished first amongst 42 other teams and presented to hundreds of judges throughout the three-day event to take home $911,000. SiNode Systems is a battery materials company developing silicon graphene anodes for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries. SiNode anodes offer 10X higher battery capacity and a 10X decrease in charging time compared with

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Starting a Startup: A Founder’s Journey – Featuring JJ Tang of Vantage Realized


There are many definitions for the word “startup.” However, a single group of seven words will hardly describe the journey a founding entrepreneur will embark upon during the establishment of his or her company. Business plan competitions are an exciting way to develop new relationships and earn funding. However the top benefit could be experiential learning.

Today, iStart explores the expedition of founder JJ Tang of Vantage Realized, Edson Accelerator winner.

iStart: Tell us about your company?

JJ: Just over a year ago, three friends came together with a mission to change the world for the better. Dana, father of

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