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Rhode Island Business Competition

Opportunity for Rhode Island Entrepreneurs to Compete for
Cash Awards and In-Kind Support to Develop Businesses

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Rhode Island Business Competition

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/13/21 5:00 PM ET


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Opportunity for Rhode Island entrepreneurs to compete for cash awards and in-kind support to develop businesses. Applicants are required to submit an application prior to a full business plan. In addition to the cash award, applicants may also receive access to mentoring and co-working spaces, as well as opportunities to participate for further competitions.

The Rhode Island Business Competition has been organized to promote entrepreneurship and the development of start-up and early-stage companies in Rhode Island by encouraging submission of plans of original business concepts that will lead to the development of new growth businesses.


  1. Business plans may be submitted by individuals or by teams, but all applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. There is no limit on the number of people on a team.
  3. Each unique business plan must be submitted in one track.
  4. Any area of commercial endeavor is valid.
  5. All applications must be the original work of those making the submission.
  6. Applications must describe a new business or an early stage company.
  7. All semi-finalists must agree that, should they be chosen as a finalist or winner, they will use prize winnings to establish or continue operations that employ people in Rhode Island.
  8. Existing businesses may propose a new business that would have operations in Rhode Island.

Applicants may submit an idea for early stage, or seed stage, company. This typically is a business proposal at the inventor stage where there is an idea, a concept, or even a product, but little or no income.

No industry is favored over any other. The competition has received applications for many industries, including data management, food & beverage, education, energy, entertainment, green technology, health & nutrition, hospitality, insurance, maritime operations, med-tech, and software.

The judges focus on originality, scalability, and likelihood of success when winnowing down applicants. Scalability refers to breadth of business. For example, an application to develop a storefront cafe will likely not be viewed favorably. However, a proposal to create a franchised network of storefront cafes will likely garner a more positive reception since it has the potential to create more jobs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178886

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

One winner and three finalists

Estimated Size of Grant:

Prizes consisting of cash and in-kind services, with a total value of at least $150,000, will be awarded to a winner and three finalists in the 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition.

Also, everyone who submits a completed application to the 2021 Competition will receive two consecutive months of free co-working space for their team at Sprout Coworking in the Rising Sun Mills campus in Providence. Free parking and access to meeting space is included.

And all semi-finalists will receive free mentoring services from RIHub.

The bonus winner will automatically qualify as a semi-finalist in Get Started Rhode Island 2021, which will award prizes valued at $50,000.

In addition, finalists will have the opportunity to enter round two of judging in the highly competitive MassChallenge accelerator program -- and be one step closer to potentially joining the MassChallenge Rhode Island cohort.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants, 18 years of age or older may apply to the Rhode Island Business Competition.

While applicants do not have to be Rhode Island residents, to be selected as a semi-finalist, applicants must agree to establish or continue business operations in Rhode Island should they be named a finalist or winner.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Workshop: Business Plan Development
Dr. Ezenwayi Amaechi is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Management Department at Johnson & Wales University, where she also serves as the Faculty Consultant at the Entrepreneurship (eCenter) Center. In this business planning workshop, she will provide attendees with resources and walk them through the creation of an investor-ready business plan.
- JAN 7, 2021: Sign up at

Workshop: Define the Customer
A panel of experienced entrepreneurs explain how to define a target market and the best way to promote your product or service.
- Feb. 4, 2021

Workshop: Find Those Funds
Top business builders and investors provide valuable tips and insights on how to get early-stage funding.
- March 4, 2021

More information:

Pre-Application Information:

Application and Judging Schedule:
- To participate in the Rhode Island Business Competition, applicants must complete and submit an online application by 5 p.m. Eastern time (U.S.) on March 29, 2021.
- After reviewing the applications, the judges will invite semi-finalists from each track to submit complete business plans by April 13, 2021 at noon.
- Semi-finalists will be selected from each track and will be invited to make a 5-minute presentation to the judges on April 20, 2021.
- Finalists will be selected from semi-finalists and invited to a 25-minute meeting with the judges on April 27, 2021.
- May 6, 2021: Awards Ceremony: Finalists present to a public audience and the winners are announced.

Business Plan Guidelines:



Applying to the Competition:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

The online application will be available January 6, 2021 at:

Email inquiries to:

Send mail inquiries to:
Rhode Island Business Competition
c/o Business Development Company
40 Westminster St., Ste. 702
Providence, RI 02903

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Rhode Island

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