9 Key Elements to Running a Competition, Contest or Award Program

Everyone needs administrators to run a successful event and judges to give feedback to applicants, but there are less obvious elements that you can include in your competition that can be highly beneficial as well. You can utilize mentors to aid your applicants in the submission process or use a post-event page to thank your participants and create awareness about the date that you’ll begin accepting applications for your next competition - the options are limitless. While no two events are exactly alike, there is a common list of components that make up a successful competition, contest or award program.

Successful, engaging competitions often include:

Where & Why you should run your contest, competition or award program

You may wonder why we keep asking you these questions on our blog. No, we aren’t as demanding as we seem. We’re just back, enthusiastic and ready to tell you more about the Ways to Narrow the Scope of Your Event. Last time we discussed how to refine your contest, competition or award program by identifying the who/what of it. This time around, we would like to specifically, as subtly mentioned in the title, discuss the where & why.

How to Avoid Budgetary Concerns When It Comes to Running Your Programs

It happens more often than not: The time of year to run an event rolls around and the applicants are all geared up. Unfortunately, the budget is dryer than the sahara in May. Telling those applicants that there won’t be an event this year will be heartbreaking: They’ve all worked so hard and it would have been such good publicity for your organization.

This situation can be easily avoided!

Follow these 5 tips to ensure you and your team can run your challenge, competition or award program to its fullest potential and avoid any budgetary concerns you may face along the way.

Narrow the scope of your competition, contest or award program

The IDEA of an event is fun and exciting...but how do you go about turning it into a reality? When beginning to plan an event, one must answer those 6 questions that have been drilled into everyone’s mind since the beginning of time: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Though these 6 questions seem stereotypical, their value speaks for itself. Sometimes, you just have to do things the old-school way.

Business Plan Competition Strategy 101

Reviewr|Reviewr|May 30, 2015

For many students and young entrepreneurs, competing in a business plan competition can be incredibly overwhelming. Often times, students are just hoping to get their business plan completed by the deadline. And if they manage to do that, they’re often just wishing to get through the presentation without embarrassing themselves; no strategy involved there.

Here’s 3 strategy tips we want to share with you to help you not only get through the business plan competition, but completely rock it.

Pitch Contests are Rapidly Gaining Popularity

Reviewr|Reviewr|May 20, 2015

Business plan competitions aren’t the only option available today for entrepreneurs seeking prizes, funding and the chance to get in front of venture capitalists within a competition framework. More and more competitions are becoming centered around an elevator pitch that gives the applicant the ability to spend a few brief minutes presenting their innovative idea to a panel of judges that often consists of investors and influential members of the entrepreneurial community.

An advantage to administering a quick pitch competition is that it can be easier to enter, organize, participate and judge than a typical business plan competition (though we aren’t knocking business plan competitions - we love them too). Basically, competitors have three minutes in front of a panel of judges to sell their idea. There is often an audience who can listen in on the pitches and propose questions, as well.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation: IDEA

Reviewr|Erin Carey|May 5, 2015

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is running their yearly competition: IDEA. IDEA is more than an invention competition. IDEA is about the commercialization of ideas – in other words, turning great ideas into great businesses. An idea is only a beginning. It takes skill, strategy, and execution to turn an idea into something more. That is the purpose of the IDEA Competition – to help the applicant turn their great idea into a profitable business venture.

The annual event engages its applicants by providing training, business coaching, and capital to entrepreneurs who want to turn an idea into a fast-growth business.

Successful businesses require hard work, the right connections, and a flash of inspiration. If they have an innovative business idea, the IDEA Competition will add momentum to an applicant’s business strategy, whether they've never started a company or they're already in business and generating revenue.

Johnson Wales University: Sharkfest 2015

Reviewr|Erin Carey|April 30, 2015

What do flip flops, feeding the hungry and voltage readers all have in common? All were the ideas of student and alumni entrepreneurs who recently won the annual SharkFest competition sponsored by the Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship (e-Center). The idea for this event began three years ago as a way to help JWU students and alumni grow their ideas into successful businesses.It’s the brainchild of the e-Center’s Executive in Residence, John Robitaille. Some entrepreneurs who apply are only in the early planning stages, and some have already opened their doors. Either way, the competition receives a wide variety of impressive applications every year.

University of Buffalo: Panasci Technology Entrepreneurship Competition

Company News|Erin Carey|January 26, 2015

The Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition was created by the University of Buffalo (UB) School of Management and the University of Buffalo Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach. Funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr., the program is designed to bring UB students from science, technology, business and other disciplines together to maximize their potential to create viable businesses in Western New York.

"Panasci TEC gives students the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship in a real-world setting where they take an idea from conception to market,” said Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of the UB School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL).

Teams that enter Panasci TEC will compete for startup funding and in-kind services to launch their businesses. A first place prize of $25,000 in seed funding along with in-kind services valued at $27,000 is awarded to the top team.  The second place team is awarded $10,000 in seed funding.  Since the competition began, 13 local businesses have launched with the first-place prize money, and most remain in business today. The very first Panasci TEC champs sold their business, Campus Labs, for $40 million in 2012.

The competition provides informational and training sessions in the fall, briefing potential competitors on how to write a business plan, pitch best practices and revenue modeling, including tools, technigues and resources needed. Participants also have access to Q&A and discussions with part competition winners and administrators.

West Virginia University

Company News|Reviewr|December 1, 2014

West Virginia University, in conjunction with the West Virginia Department of Education, is seeking to peak the interest of the youth across the state. To do so, they are running two business plan competitions: one for high schooler students, and one on the collegiate level. The goal of both event is to increase the drive for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Virtual Enterprises International: A Business Plan Competition for Youth

Company News|Erin Carey|September 23, 2014

Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) is an educational program in which teams of students create and run their own businesses. One of the intended major outcomes of this rigorous national program is for each firm (team of students) to develop and present a formal business plan. The National Business Plan Competition, one of the most prestigious annual business plan competitions for public high school students, is a competition that challenges qualifying teams from across the country to demonstrate their global business expertise through written business plans and oral presentations. The competition showcases best practices, rewards excellence, and trains these high school students to apply sophisticated knowledge and skills typically expected from business professionals and college students.

Size Doesn't Matter When it Comes to Making Your Competition Rock

Company News|Reviewr|July 1, 2014

Competitions come in all sizes - from just a few applicants to thousands of applicants. However, no matter how few (or how many) submissions your event may receive, competition management software can still play a crucial role in making your competition, contest or awards program a success. If you run a large program, management of all your forms is essential to keep track of the high volume of participants you interact with. However, even if your event is small, it’s still of high-value, and your participants deserve a world-class experience.

Postcode Lottery Green Challenge

Company News|Erin Carey|June 8, 2014

The Dutch Postcode Lottery was founded in 1989 to support charitable causes. Since the Postcode Lottery's founding, it has donated more than €4 billion to organizations working on behalf of humanity and the natural environment. Today, 2.5 million people in the Netherlands play every year, vying for hundreds of thousands of prizes each month. Half the price of each ticket is distributed among 90 charitable organizations. The Postcode Lottery started the Green Challenge in 2007 and continues today.

Proto Labs Cool Idea! Challenge

Company News|Erin Carey|June 4, 2014

Intuitive. Chic. Impressive. Sleek. Innovative. Cool.

These are all words that have been used to describe the products that have received the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award — a program that helps product designers, entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, makers, or, anyone with an innovative product idea move from concept to real-life product.

Why Your Event Needs Competition Management Software

Company News|Reviewr|May 28, 2014

You’re smart. You’re organized. You’re (probably) capable of fighting crime in Gotham City. But you’re also busy, and the idea of running an event on your own probably seems like an evil villain you just can’t kick. Have no fear: every great superhero needs a sidekick! That’s why, when you’re looking to run an event, competition management software is faithfully by your side.