business competitions
You can find a variety of business competitions that suit every interest — even fashion. Source: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? If you’re looking to gain some entrepreneurship experience to prepare you for the challenging world of startups, business competitions are the way to go. From art and design, to science and math, and political science and engineering, there are a myriad of opportunities available to international students.

Some of today’s top companies were founded by college-going students. Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, launched The Facebook — as it was known then — as a sophomore at Harvard on February 4, 2004. The following day over a thousand people had registered. Today, Facebook has almost three billion users.

Business competitions can be an opportunity for you to win prize money or even full ride scholarships. They’re also a great way to set new goals and work towards them. They also serve as useful platforms to apply the skills and knowledge gained from your lectures in the real world.

You’ll also stand to gain a plethora of useful skills such as public speaking, networking and how to pitch your ideas, which are useful for your future career. Here are four business competitions that might interest international students. Entry to some of these competitions have closed, but do keep an eye out for them next year:

Techcrunch Startup Battlefield

What is it: One of the world’s most distinguished business competitions. It features 15 to 30 early stage startups who pitch their idea in front of a panel of judges, and in front of an audience, both in person and online

Why is it cool: Think of this competition as a type of Dragon’s Den for tech heads with iconic Silicon Valley figures such as venture capitalist and businessmen Ron Conway, Fred Wilson and Roelof Botha. 

Who can apply: Startups from around the world can apply. 

Prize: A 100,000 US dollar equity-free cheque and a membership to the Battlefield alums and Extra Crunch.

business competitions

The University Startup World Cup is where student entrepreneurs establish connections on a global scale in the world of business. Source: Ludovic Marin/AFP

Innovation World Cup Series

What is it: A world-leading open innovation platform that supports breakthrough innovations. It also connects participants with techpreneurs and global tech corporations. You’ll get to share your solution to a panel of international industry experts based on qualities like innovation, marketability, sustainability, and usability. There are a number of competitions to choose from.

Why is it cool: It’s an event teamed up with regional ICT clusters and media partners worldwide. 

Who can apply: If you’re over 18 and you’re not affiliated with Navispace (the host), you’re eligible to participate.

Prize: Prizes vary depending on the competition you participate in. You could win a cash prize of 10,000 euros, business connections, free use of production labs and testing facilities, free marketing packages, and speaking opportunities at exclusive tech events.

University Startup World Cup

What is it: A competition hosted by a Danish non-profit, Venture Cup. Here, student entrepreneurs, you, establish connections on a global scale in the world of business. 

Why is it cool: It’s a unique opportunity to meet a huge network of international student entrepreneurs worldwide. You’ll also have the chance to meet key players from the Chinese startup ecosystem and expand your network with the business community. 

Who can apply: Only student startups can enter. You must be part of a startup with two co-founders where one is affiliated with a uni (or be a recent grad within two years). Your business should fit into categories that include greentech, fintech, hightech and robotics, or information technology. 

Prize: You could win up to US$16,000 in cash prizes, depending on the category. 

business competitions

The Global Change Award is a fashion one to encourage ideas from innovators all around the world that will help make this industry circular. Source: Ludovic Marin/AFP

Global Change Award

What is it: Are you interested in business competitions that relate to sustainable fashion? The Global Change Award is on the hunt for early stage innovations that can help create a future for sustainable style and restored earth systems. Applications are open until October 20, 2021.

Why is it cool: Participating in this award doesn’t only entail contributing ideas for a greener planet, but it also means joining a competition that was done in collaboration with non-profit H&M Foundation, Accenture and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. 

Who can apply: The competition is open to any individual and groups of up to four people over 18 anywhere in the world. 

Prize: Five winners will share one million euro grant and have access to a one-year innovation accelerator programme.