Eship:RPI Competitions

Competitive Opportunities for Student Entrepreneurs.

The SCTE helps student teams perfect their business plans, models, and presentations for entry into local, regional, and national business plan funding competitions. Rensselaer undergraduate and graduate students from all schools across campus have participated and won funding in a variety of entrepreneurial business competitions.

Featured: Nuvalence Hardware Award Recipient Eugene Rozental ’22

Take a road trip to an industry conference or trade show to identify some problems facing today's industry. The Eship@RPI team will identify a promising industry conference, teach you some quick tips on how to strike up a conversation with conference-goers that will yield an industry problem, and even help you navigate the show once there.

Think of how good your resume will look when you add a conference to it!

Due to the ongoing concern for our student's health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be scheduling any trips to industry tradeshows during the 2021-2022 academic year.



Identifying problems is the first step towards being a change-maker. Before you can fix something, you need to understand the issue. With a chance to win one of several $500 prizes, this competition will allow you to choose an "unsolvable" problem and explain why it has not been solved yet.


The spring 2022 problem competition will be remote. Pre-recorded pitches will be submitted by February 2 at midnight. No written submission is required this semester. Submit your recorded pitch here:

Can’t think of a problem? View some tips that may help spark some thoughts:

Or consult the Books of Problems we're compiling for you to adopt one and enter this competition or the Eship.2 competition.

View photos of past competitions. 

A bi-annual contest to develop innovative ideas with the potential of changing the world. Open to all current Rensselaer students. Up to $10,000 in prizes are distributed each semester.

The Solutions competition provides a unique opportunity for students of all disciplines to form teams and develop their unique ideas into a viable business concept.  This is a hands-on experience in which students perform customer discovery to better understand the problem they are solving. Top teams are awarded $1,000 each and become eligible for the Best of the Best prize of $5,000 at the end of the year.

This competition is funded by Rensselaer alumnus, business, and social entrepreneur, Sean O'Sullivan '85.

Learn about past competition winners and view photos of past competitions. 


Feb. 15 6:00PM
Join online

What does it take to win $6000? Introduction to the competition

Pop-Up: Who is going to buy this thing?

Feb. 22 6:00PM
Join online

Pop-Up: Talking to customers


Teams conduct customer interviews on their own time.
Due to the current state of the coronavirus pandemic, we strongly encourage students to conduct customer discovery remotely and not in person. Try a video conference call or a phone call. 
Check in along the way if you need help finding customers to talk to or analyzing what you heard from them.

available online

Pop-Up: Pitching to Win 

March 21 8:00AM Submit to compete

March 24 6:00PM
Join online

Live Pitch Night
Results will be announced after all participants have pitched and results are tallied.


View the revised rubric in which teams will be judged.

The goal for the Rensselaer Business Model Competition is not only to provide teams with prizes of cash and in-kind services, but also to provide student entrepreneurs with the opportunity to improve their business through workshops, customer interviews, coaching, feedback, and live practice sessions in preparation for the myriad of competition opportunities held annually each spring across the nation and globally. This competition has been reformatted to accommodate online live team pitches.

View photos of past competitions. 

Spring 2022 Competition Dates to Remember
Useful Information

Unfamiliar with the business model canvas?
Watch the short videos linked below.


Coaching and submission reviews are available to all teams. Email to learn how.

Preparing your submission           
Slide deck template 

Business Model Canvas writeable and exportable

Apr 6 by 8:00AM

Entry form submission deadline

What is the Business Model Canvas (2:20)

Week of Apr 11

Required team coaching sessions

Nine Components of the Business Model Canvas

Here are some short videos to help you understand the business model canvas. There are plenty more online.

Apr 19  6:00PM

Live online competition and judging

How to conduct customer interviews



Qualification Criteria

  1. This competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students only.
  2. Each team must be made of at least half RPI students.
  3. The business idea must be a student-born idea.
  4. Students must be enrolled for the academic year in which the competition takes place.
  5. Students may not participate in more than 1 team each year of the competition.
  6. RPI students must play an integral role in each team.
  7. The presentation must be delivered by RPI student(s).
  8. If the competition is split into graduate and undergraduate tracks, teams must enter in the division dictated by the highest education level of all the team members. This decision will be made after all submissions are received.

Competition Process

  • Plans can be for a product, service, process or technique.
  • The submission must be unique to the market.
  • Your submission does not have to be technology-driven.

In any competition submission, you should describe your business idea without revealing any proprietary information. We don't want to know what your secret sauce is. Part of this process is learning how to write and present your idea in an intriguing manner without revealing your intellectual property.


Judges will consist of community members and alumni with varying backgrounds in entrepreneurship and business. Judges will provide the teams with feedback for fine-tuning and clarifying their business model and presentation for future competitions. The judges' scores will determine the winners. Judging rubric 


Over $15,000 in cash and in-kind services will be awarded to top competitors. If awarded a monetary prize, the money will be distributed in increments based on achieved milestones. All prizes must be claimed within 12 months of the date of the competition or will be forfeited.


  • Vikash '98 and Vikram '02 Agrawal, Founders, eTransmedia; Vik Brothers Investment Fund; Levrx
    Born in India, Vikash and Vikram, better known as “the Viks,” immigrated in the mid-90s to pursue graduate studies at Rensselaer. Their first venture together, Etransmedia, was a highly successful digital health software company that was founded while they were students and attracted the interest of a major hospital network in 2016 which acquired them. After the sale, the two were ready to pursue new opportunities in the digital health industry. That is when Levrx was born. This company is tackling the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs by driving efficiency and maximizing savings for consumers.

  • Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship
    The Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship helps foster new generations of budding and successful entrepreneurs through outreach programs, education, and support systems.

  • Mauriel Kapouytian Woods LLP (MKW)
    MKW is a boutique technology law and commercial litigation firm serving clients from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Annual awards for Rensselaer undergraduate and graduate students to encourage the early development of entrepreneurial ideas. $5,000 in prizes.

One of Rensselaer’s most active, generous, and supportive alumni groups – the Class of ’51 sponsors an annual competition for undergraduate and graduate students to encourage the early development of entrepreneurial ideas.

Early development grants are awarded to the first ($2,500), second ($1,500), and third ($1,000) place individuals or teams, which are determined by the judges to best meet the award criteria.

State-wide competition with multiple tracks covering several industries. Open to college students across NYS. Occurs each year in April.

  • 2021 Rensselaer Team Finalist: Ripely
  • 2020 Rensselaer Team Finalists: Dolphin Data, Intelligent Medicine, Vewr
  • 2019 Rensselaer Team Finalists: Iconoclasm, Intelligent Medicine, DeadEye Technologies, Mobius Packaging Co.
  • 2018 Rensselaer Team Finalist: IPPSec
  • 2017 Rensselaer Team Finalist: Sanguine Diagnostics
  • 2016 Rensselaer Team Grand Prize Winner: Dual: Lock
  • 2016 Rensselaer Team Finalists: Nova; Guide; Bloom
  • 2014 Rensselaer Team Finalists: Resumazing, Adept Advancements
  • 2013 Rensselaer Team Finalist: Vulcan Technologies
  • 2012 Rensselaer Team Finalist: Adept Advancements

Learn more at

Founded by Rensselaer alumni, Sinclair Schuller ’04 and Abe Sultan ’04, along with Rakesh Malhotra, Nuvalence empowers its clients with the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to realize their digital platform and product ambitions.

Nuvalence knows Rensselaer has the best and brightest builders available and wants to engage students across the campus and provide opportunities to develop platform & data-intensive experiences, preparing you for the type of employees Nuvalence will need.

Opportunity #1

Hardware and AWS Services requests
Rolling applications

Practical experience resumes gold. That is why Nuvalence is funding freshman and sophomore student requests for hardware and AWS services that will aid them in getting hands-on experience with AI technologies.

Submit project details and requests. 

Opportunity #2

Summer Research Experience
Open to rising juniors
Rolling applications

Nuvalence will fund a data-intensive research fellowship for a rising Junior to intern directly with Rensselaer data researchers.

Submit your resume and cover letter for consideration

Opportunity #3

Builder Awards
Seniors Only
August and December graduates deadline is mid-November, May graduates deadline is early March 

Nuvalence wants to recognize the best builders at Rensselaer with a $$$ award. Think you have what they are looking for? Members of the Nuvalence team will judge all submissions.

Submit your portfolio link and information. Only graduating seniors are eligible. 

Inaugural award recipient - Leon Montealegre '21

Formerly hosted by the Rensselaer Lally School of Management, the 2015 competition (and all subsequent competitions thereafter) will be transitioned to a new host, the Center for Economic Growth. The competition provides an opportunity for teams of high school students to win prizes and exchange ideas in an intellectually vibrant environment.

Learn more at


Lally School of Management
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street, Pittsburgh Building, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-2812

Back to top