International Business Model Competition



Over 85% of new businesses fail within a few years, often because they try to plan their way to success. It’s time to change. 

The International Business Model Competition represents a radical departure from the past and the crest of a new paradigm in entrepreneurship. The IBMC is not a business plan competition. Participants won’t be rewarded for doing research, creating fancy graphs, writing an archaic business plan, or crafting the perfect VC investor pitch. Instead the IBMC rewards students for:

1. breaking down their idea into the key business model assumptions,
2. getting outside the building and testing their assumptions with customers,
3. applying Customer Development / Lean Startup principles to make sure they nail the pain and solution, and,
4. learning to pivot (change) until they have arrived at a customer-validated business model.

Ultimately we believe this approach will dramatically improve the success rate of new ventures. The IBMC is the first international competition of its kind and is open to all students enrolled at an accredited four-year institution of higher education anywhere in the world. Last year over 1,000 student teams from 100 schools in 10 countries participated.

The IBMC is sponsored by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at Brigham Young University and is co-hosted by Harvard and Stanford.


Technium is a joint venture to develop a market pull vs. a technology push commercialization model. This partnership will allow IBMC student teams access to over 250 university and national lab technologies. Across US labs approximately $140 billion is spent on research annually. Known to few, the knowledge, inventions, and technologies can be licensed and become the foundation of a new startup.

95% of these technologies never get to market, but these are the same labs that developed the internet, radar, GPS, and other technologies that have changed life as we know it. Participants of the IBMC will have the opportunity to access a list of select IP to base their business model validation on and compete for a chance to license these game-changing technologies.


Competition Organizer

Brigham Young University

*International Event*

*Available in all states*

Submission Date


Awards Date


Total Prize Cash (US Dollars)


Competition Category
  • Graduate - All U.S.
  • Undergraduate - Canada
  • Undergraduate - All U.S.
  • Business - Canada
  • Business - Local U.S.
  • Business - All U.S.
  • Graduate - Canada
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Technology - Green
  • Technology - Other
  • Women or Minority-owned
  • Specialized Industries
  • Virtual/Online
  • Business - Global
  • Graduate - Global
  • Undergraduate - Global
Who's Eligible


The organizers of the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) recognize that no set of criteria can apply to every circumstance and therefore reserve the right to determine eligibility or to disqualify any team that it determines to be in violation of the spirit of the competition. Similarly, students who feel they fit the spirit of the competition, but may be in minor violation of the eligibility criteria, may submit a petition All decisions will be made by the IBMC organizers and are final. 

Competing teams should consist of at least 2 and no more than 5 degree-seeking students who are enrolled part-time (minimum of 6 credit hours) or full-time in a semester during the competition year.

In general, a member of the student team should be CEO, COO, or President of the venture, or members of the student team should occupy 50% or more of the functional area management positions that report directly to the CEO, COO, or President.

The student team must have a minimum of 20% ownership in the venture.

The student team must control a minimum of 51% of the venture’s voting rights. The IBMC organizers recommend maintaining this control for at least 2 years beyond the date of the competition.

Because revenue is often the best form of validation, minimal revenues gained in the process of validation are allowable for the competition. Excessive revenues will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the IBMC organizers.

No more than $100,000 will be allowed from friends and family, debt (any source -- convertible, venture, traditional), and accelerators. Any convertible debt must be in the form of a standard debt note with a separate agreement specifying the rules for conversion. Conversion cannot occur for at least 2 years from the date of the competition. 

NOTE: We do not encourage investment prior to the start of the competition because investment encourages scaling. Premature scaling is a leading cause of startup failure.

Ventures cannot be a buyout, an expansion of an existing company, a real estate syndication, a tax shelter, a franchise, a licensing agreement for distribution in a different geographical area, or a spin-out from an existing corporation. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously.

Ventures may compete in the IBMC only once.

Important Dates


October 15 - Training Workshop (streamed online)
November 5 - Training Workshop (streamed online)
December 3 - Training Workshop (streamed online)
January 1 - Submissions Open 
January 14 - Training Workshop for Submissions (streamed online) 
March 31 - Submissions Close 
April 15 - Semi-Finalists Announced 
May 1* - Pitching, Mentoring & Networking Events
May 2* - Semi-Finals
May 3* - Finals

*The 2014 international competition will be hosted at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.