If you’re a first time entrepreneur, you’re discovering new startup competitions on an almost daily basis. Some reward startups with money (sometimes great, sometimes just… ridiculous), some with a business travel and finally some with prestige. You get some press coverage, local, national or sometimes international, with every competition when you’re among the lucky nominated or awarded startups.
You think that you wonderful amazing project will convince the jury, without any doubt. Yeah, you would not living your startup every minute you breath if you were not convinced you’re on something with a great business potential!
But, the maths are simple. You have often a 1% chance (or even less for international competitions) of getting selected. And everyone who has ever filled an application form knows that it’s extremely time consuming. Every competition has another, different application form. Yes, everyone is reinventing the wheel. Fair enough, there are different selection criterions. But answering the different questions takes time, and during this time, you’re not making any real progress in the development of your business. Would you invest so much time in a business deal where you know that you have only 1% chance of signing the contract and getting the money?
All resources of entrepreneurs are scarce, especially time. There are so many things to do – even if you’re a team of 3 co-founders – that you just never have enough time. Never. Time is the scarcest resource of entrepreneurs. And you have to be extremely selective where you invest time, that’s your job as an entrepreneur. Don’t lie yourself and evaluate the:
- chances of getting selected;
- return on investment (does this money bring you any step forward?)
- press coverage you could get if you’re nominated or awarded.
But please, startup competitions: don’t waste entrepreneur’s time!
Fortunately, there are clever guys out there who have already recognized this problem. Have you ever heard about f6s? It’s a web platform to apply to more than 2’800 accelerator programs around the globe, contests, look for co-founders or employees, get deals for your startup. I’ve discovered some extremely cool things on this platform: you can reuse some parts of your application, like for instance the description of your team. Or other parts of the application if programs talked together and agree on the questions to answer.
So please, organizers of startup awards, if you’re reading this post… talk to other organizers and try to standardize the application process, for entrepreneur’s sake!