Start-up competitions are a potentially fun way to find capital available to start-ups. Competitions are held at many levels, though they are often most popular at universities or within trade groups. A start-up competition is not only a potential source of capital, but a good way to see how your venture (and idea) compares to the competition.
Start-up incubators are tools set up by local governments or philanthropic endeavors to support the development of new ventures. While funding may be available through start-up incubators, the resources are often known for their ability to provide counseling to new start-ups. This counseling can often focus on specific ways that your venture might be able to access seed capital, highlighting local investors, investment funds, or grants specific to your interest.
Try This: Perform research on start-up competitions and use this work as a way to get to know other resources available in your area. Think of the start-up competitions as a springboard to launch you into the start-up arena and make you aware of the resources that exist.
Avoid This: Don’t think of start-up competitions as a preliminary step you can take before you’ve fully worked out your strategy. People take the competitions seriously and you will need to have a fully vetted idea in order to compete.