Several business schools hold competitions in which you can get your creative ideas in front of venture capitalists, angel investors and other potential financing sources–and the most promising business plans receive substantial cash prizes. Most of those require student participation, but other members of the team can come from all over.Funding to existing businesses whose founders are not students may require you to place a student as a partner. This may be your only option if you are seeking this type of financing. Before, placing a student as a partner you need to weight out many options to determine if the student will add value to your company.
These university competitions have proved so fertile with ripe ideas that VC firms have started sponsoring their own. The WPI Venture Forum’s Business Plan Contest, based in Worcester, Massachusetts, offers a first-place prize of about $20,000 to the top tech companies–startups included–in the Northeast. The Global Social Venture competition, run out of Berkeley, California, rewards businesses that address social or environmental concerns and awards a grand prize of $25,000.
Start off in your city and state and find out if your local universities offer these types of programs. If not, there are plenty of colleges and universities around the nation that do.