Get Money: Braving “Shark Tanks” for Cash

Expert advice and resources for entrepreneurs who want to raise financing for their business

In addition to a chance to get a significant cash infusion for your business and to add some influential and wealthy business contacts to your network, there’s another potentially valuable prize—the national exposure that comes from competing on the American Idol of business plan competitions. To answer ABC’s Shark Tank casting call, click here.

The MillerCoors Urban Enterpreneurs Series: Now in its 11th year, the MUES Business Plan Competition annually identifies urban entrepreneurs ages 21-35 from across the nation to compete for a pool of $150,000 in business grants. Black Enterprise is the official magazine of the competition and several of its editors, including myself, have served as judges, along with bankers, attorneys, business school deans and other small business experts. MillerCoors has awarded $1.4 million in business grants to entrepreneurs via MUES since 1999.

Miller Coors Chief Responsibility and Ethics Officer N. Cornell Boggs III presents Rex Willis of Hi Tek POS, the top winner of the MUES Business Plan Competition, with a business grant of $100,000.

For winners of the most recent MUES business plan competition, see “Urban Entrepreneurs Series Celebrates 10th Anniversary.

Finalists from regional screenings in metro areas including Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles submit their business plans for review and grading by a national panel of judges, and then pitch their business idea directly to those judges, who grill them with questions about their business model, financials and marketplace assumptions. The 2010 MUES Business competition is now open for entry, all of which must be submitted online. The entry deadline is noon CST, on Friday, October 1, 2010. To learn more, check

WPI Venture Forum Business Plan Contest: This competition is held by the Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute to “inspire and facilitate technology-based entrepreneurship.” The WPI Venture Forum Business Plan Contest is open to technology-based, pre-start, startup, and on-going businesses located in the Northeast. Students are eligible. The venture must involve the development of a new product, a new application, or process in an existing business or the start-up of a new technology-based business.

Sponsors of the competition offer not only the chance to gain access to potential investors, but help developing your business plan. There is a $50 fee to enter the contest. Executive Summaries are 2010 contest are due Friday, October 8, 2010. Qualified applicants will be invited to make a 15-minute presentation in the First Round on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA, Saturday, October 16, 2010.  Final presentations will be made on November 9, 2010 at WPI. To learn more, go to WPI Venture Forum Business Plan Contest web page.

Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) Investor Matchmaking Event: This is an event of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a nonprofit research and strategy organization founded by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter in 1994. ICIC  is a free program providing web-based training workshops, a day-long educational program on equity and growth financing, and a one-day event connecting business participants with investors including private equity firms, venture capitalists, mezzanine investors and angel investors. Since the launch of the program, nearly 200 inner city companies and 150 equity providers have been selected to participate. Participating companies have raised more than $335 million in capital and experienced a compound growth rate of 23 percent.

This year’s ICCC Investor Matchmaking Event will be held November 15-16 in Los Angeles and will feature a full day of speed-pitching to potential investors, along with workshops and individual assessments of investment potential. The deadline for ICCC nominations is September 30, 2010. Eligible companies must be headquartered in or have 51 percent or more of physical operations presence in an economically distressed urban area, and be a for-profit corporation, partnership or proprietorshio with revenues of more than $2 million in 2009.

Check for information on other business plan competitions in future installments of Get Money at

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4 Responses to Get Money: Braving “Shark Tanks” for Cash

  1. ShareDaLuv says:

    This article is real helpful to a new entrepreneur that’s trying to get a grasp on what to expect when looking for investors to infuse their business. I’m an entrepreneur, and i have found out if you build up your business credit first you’ll have better chances of finding an investor for your idea. One of the main resources i use is to help educate me on what are the main aspects that investors look for in getting their resources to help your business of the ground.

  2. Lora V Brooks says:

    GOD gave me two creative ideas for a playing card game: 1st Word-up card game 48 cards all about God words you have to know his words to WIN !

    game 2: N.A.S. Not A Slave playing cards which require you know your black history & the great African KINGS & QUEENS….how can I help my peeps to lift their self-esteem and grab hold of their DREAMS , God has given to us ! How can I get an investor for playing cards games ?

    • Orlando says:

      This is getting a bit more suictjebve, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of neighbors will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune Social is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  3. Lora V. Brooks says:

    Good afternoon, I ask that question September 12 2011…no one responsed?
    I have since then made prototypes of two decks of the Christian card game called :G2G- Glory 2 God & a board game as well for youths and Adult Christians. I’m still working on the Black History “NAS” Not A Slave deck of cards. Thanks for making public. …100% but no respond?

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