An education experience like no other

Enter the RISE Collegiate Business Plan Competition


Commit to this 6-month journey to enhance your college experience! Get the education, skills, mentorship, and motivation necessary to create a viable start-up company in Southern Virginia! You do not need to be a business major to compete. Teams of students with diverse majors, skills, and backgrounds will have an advantage.


Every participating higher education institution is GUARANTEED at least one team in the semifinals. Give your students the opportunity of a lifetime by encouraging them to enter and by being a coach!

Open to ALL Southern Virginia college students in ALL majors

You do not need to be a business major to compete. Teams of students with diverse majors, skills, and backgrounds will have an advantage! Students from ALL higher education institutions in our region are encouraged to compete. Contact your school to let them know you’d like to start or join a team.

The Collegiate Business Plan Competition is also open to students that have a permanent address in Southern Virginia but may be attending school elsewhere in the state.

Longwood University

Jacob Dolence
Faculty, Cormier Honors College
Brandon Hennessey
Director of Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Hampden-Sydney College

Dr. Andrew King
Director, Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship

Averett University

John Vigouroux
Chief Entrepreneurship & Innovation Officer
Dr. Peggy Wright
Chair, Business Administration

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

Hope Harris-Gayles
Associate Director, Communications & Outreach

Patrick & Henry Community College

Dr. Nancy Phillips
Professor and Department Lead for Business Technology

Don't see your school listed? You can still compete!

Contact us at

Did you miss the information session on October 14th?

Watch it here.

6 Month Entrepreneurship Experience

The competition begins in November when applications are due and extends through the entire academic year, culminating in April with the final pitch before a panel of judges. The competition consists of three rounds. Feedback and instruction are given for each round. Everyone who registers in Round 1 will be invited to attend the Workshop. Each team must have at least one team member attend the Workshop to be eligible for moving on the the next round. Teams who make it to the second round will be required to find a coach/mentor, which we can assist with if needed.

Competition Timeline

October 14, 2021

Virtual Information Session for Students and Faculty/Staff

Update – January 20, 2022

Round 1: Rolling registration deadline for submissions

January 20, 2022

Virtual Workshop for participants

February 3, 2022

Feasibility studies due by noon

February 14-18, 2022

Round 2: Virtual Semifinals (week long interviews)

February 22, 2022

Finalists notified

February 24, 2022

Virtual Workshop for finalists

April 7, 2022

Final business plans due by noon

April 21, 2022

Round 3: Finals – Pitch Competition

Recommended Reading for Participants

Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers

by Giff Constable

For a free digital copy download, fill out the Non-Profits/Schools form found here.

Ready to Get Started?

Let us know you’re ready by filling out the application! The application deadline has been extended to Thursday, January 20th at noon.

Event Sponsors

Interested in becoming a sponsor of this program?

Let’s talk! Send us an email and we will set up a conversation.