Last year I had the opportunity to participate as a judge and mentor in the inaugural competition, MassChallenge. This is a serious business competition that has shown it can attract top quality concrete job creating ideas from round the world. Over 450 entries applied and 110 finalists were incubated for 3 months including free office space, introductions to VC, funders, customers and team resources. Sixteen finalists split $1 Million including $100,000 for the top finisher. Seeding Labs, profiled elsewhere on my blog, won $50,000 as the Social Impact finalist and also was offered free office space for another nine months.
If you have a venture and are looking to make it to the next level I strongly encourage you to apply to the 2011 accelerator. If you have any questions please reach out to the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org or apply online at www.masschallenge.org/enter.
Here is some more info about the competition:
MassChallenge is running a global startup competition and accelerator to catalyze the launch and success of high-growth, high-impact new businesses. Last year, MassChallenge launched on April 14, 2010 and received ~450 entries. Sixteen winners were announced on October 21, 2010 and split $1M in cash awards. Following the 2010 final ceremony, President Obama announced MassChallenge as an initiative of Startup America.
The competition is open to anyone in the world, with any new startup, in any industry. Physical activities are based in Massachusetts where innovation resources are highly concentrated. Every entrant receives training, feedback, PR and networking support via expert volunteers from partner organizations. 110 of the highest-potential startups receive 3 months of intensive mentorship and other free resources, including office space and targeted introductions to customers and funding sources. The very best startups are identified by expert judges to receive cash awards toward launching their businesses along with enhanced PR and privileged access to top investors seeking to place seed capital to work in high-growth firms. MassChallenge is a 501(c)(3) (non-profit) leveraging both public and private funding. Key dates for this year are March 7th (online application goes live) and April 11th (deadline for final submission).