If you can’t find the motivation or financial support to launch your venture, look into start-up competitions. Throwing your hat into the ring at these competitions can provide a great source of motivation. These competitions serve as a good way to test your idea with the least amount of risk. Think of the competitions as a way to launch your idea in a vacuum where you can control the external influences and receive immediate feedback on its viability.
A benefit of start-up competitions is that outside resources are often available to support your project. Sources of capital, tech/development teams, recruiting firms, and legal experts are just a few of the types of resources available at these events. Aside from testing your idea, participating in start-up competitions is a good way to find like-minded individuals who want to become involved in the world of high-risk entrepreneurship.
Start-up competitions take place in a wide variety of arenas. Rudimentary start-up competitions are even available as early on as middle school. These events can challenge groups of students to pursue small-scale businesses. On a more advanced level, most universities commonly support and facilitate start-up competitions. These competitions are often open to both enrolled students and competing universities (or outside groups). University level start-up competitions seek to position the institution as an incubator that is willing to support those students interested in non-traditional business ventures. Despite the fact that educational institutions are most commonly associated with start-up competitions, these are not the only arenas to support these events.
If you’re at a loss as to where to start looking for relevant start-up competitions, refer to your local economic development groups or chambers of commerce. These groups have directories and schedules available to highlight local opportunities. Development groups usually offer grants that can be used as financial assistance for relevant ventures. In addition, development groups often run start-up competitions themselves.
Try This: Investigate local resources to find out the start-up competitions near you. Become involved in this community. Even if you don’t participate, getting to know the resources and parties involved will help you better understand whether you’re ready for the world of start-up ventures.
Avoid This: Don’t enter a start-up competition with an idea that isn’t fully vetted. You won’t get as much out of the experience, or you may not even be allowed to participate, if your idea isn’t well thought out.