Proven tips for the Businessplan-Wettbewerb Berlin-Brandenburg (BPW)
The Businessplan-Wettbewerb Berlin-Brandenburg (BPW) is a competition for entrepreneurs where proven tips can help you win. It aims to provide financial and professional support, as well as networking opportunities for participants. The competition was first held in 1995 and has since grown into one of the largest competitions in Germany.
This article will give you insights into the competition and tips on making your participation successful!
What is the Businessplan-Wettbewerb Berlin-Brandenburg
BPW supports founders in creating their business concept (business plan or business model canvas) with a variety of options. It is organized by business entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with an idea or already started company from Berlin and Brandenburg. At BPW, they can get help to develop their ideas further through workshops, training sessions, networking events, and presentations on funding opportunities at KfW Bankengruppe (German Federal Savings Banks). The winners will be awarded prizes with a total value of €50,000!
The BPW is divided into several phases. The main event, the Businessplan Competition (BP), includes three different categories:
- for sustainable businesses with strong market potential
- for innovative service providers that are primarily targeting SMEs
- as a regional “small business” category for companies from Berlin or Brandenburg
You can receive the following support with the Business Plan Competition Berlin-Brandenburg:
BPW conveys the relevant startup topics in online seminars, workshops, and forums. In the process, the business plan chapters are examined individually, and the Business Model Canvas method is discussed in detail. Due to the coronavirus most of the seminars are held online. You can have a look at their calendar here.
More than 300 advisors at BPW partner for startups with their expertise. Experts include financing strategists, tax advisors, lawyers, and successful founders. All the advisors work voluntarily, and you are matched with the most suitable experts. The regular counselor session is around one hour. During the counseling sessions, you will receive important information that will help you to develop your business concept further. Counseling requests can be sent via the BPW profile.
BPW is the only institution in Berlin and Brandenburg that offers a full spectrum of events, workshops, and seminars on entrepreneurship. BPW connects participants to networks including investors, public institutions, and business partners.
The networking is segmented into the following areas:
Contact evenings are held in each of the three competition phases. BPW organizes online sessions and hybrid networking events.
Together with various partners, BPW organizes forums divided into law, taxes, and financing management. Topics are funding and investment for startups, legal and tax topics around the foundation.
Each phase of the BPW concludes with an award event where the winning teams in the specific category are selected. Usually, the event is a hybrid, as it is streamed online.
How to apply for BPW
The first step is to register on the website at www.b-p-w.de. Then you can enroll in the competition, events and manage your appointments. After successful registration, you can also send the BPW requests for advice. The use of the offers and services is independent of the participation in the competition.
The competition is divided into BPW Plan and BPW Canvas. Within the competition, you can switch between the BPW Plan or BPW Canvas methods at any time or participate in both categories.
You have the opportunity to submit a (partial) business plan for evaluation in each of the three competition phases. The higher the phase, the more topics the business plan needs to cover, starting in phase one with a summary, product/ service, and team. Two independent jurors will confidentially examine each business plan based on the specified evaluation criteria. In the three phases, the teams with the best evaluations pitch to a jury of experts. After the presentations, the jury determines the three most convincing concepts, awarded prizes at the award ceremonies.
In addition to the business plan, you can also submit your complete business model canvas for evaluation in each of the three phases. Each canvas concept will receive two jury evaluations and will be confidentially assessed against pre-set evaluation criteria. In each phase, three finalists will be selected. A pitch will then decide who will emerge as the winning team.
6 Tips on how to be successful in the competition
The BPW is quite open when it comes to the decision foundation and selection of their winners.
Rating criteria: It is essential to look at their rating criteria, which can be found in their handbook on pages 46-48. Try to adjust your business plan to the assessment criteria.
Guiding questions for each topic: The handbook offers guiding questions to each of the topics the business plan needs to cover in three phases. These questions provide an excellent overview of what is expected and what areas you need to cover.
Structure: Have a solid structure in the business plan which is easy to follow and understand. Be precise and on-point in writing. Avoid extended formulations that do not get to the point. Try to make the job for the jury as easy as possible.
Be realistic: Be ambitious and visionary. Still, make it realistic! Ensure that all of your assumptions are backed up with data and the planned development of your growth is reasonable.
Think out of the box: The jury will read hundreds of business plans. Try to stand out from the crowd by incorporating something new into the business plan. Work with visuals and images which support your reasoning. Use startups in your industry that failed and showed what you could learn from them. Be creative!
Outside perspective: Have people who are not involved in the project read your business plan and give feedback. Ensure that people without your expertise understand your plan as the jury will most probably won’t have your expertise in the industry either. We also offer a free businessplan check to support you in the competition.
Know your numbers thoroughly: how much money you need to start the business with, what kind of investment is needed for each phase of operations, etc.
Who can participate in the competition
Every idea is welcome – regardless of the industry and whether it is a startup or a business succession. Please note the deadline at each stage. The hurdles for participation at the BPW are low, however, the following must be fulfilled to participate in the competition:
- The foundation of your business is planned or has taken place in Berlin or Brandenburg.
- If your company already exists, it was founded no more than twelve months before the start of BPW 2021.
- Your company already exists, but you are building up another business field, or was the company taken over as part of a succession? In this case, participation is possible. The business concept must be created by the team members themselves (no creation by management consultants, etc.).
The benefits of participating in the competition
The prize money and free PR winning the BPW are some of the biggest benefits of participating in the competition. The prize money is structured as follows:
Business Plan Competition Berlin-Brandenburg – BPW Plan:
1st stage: 1st place to 3rd place: 3,000 euros
2nd stage: 1st place to 3rd place: 4,000 euros
3rd stage: 1st place: 8,000 euros; 2nd place: 6,000 euros; 3rd place: 4,000 euros
Business Plan Competition Berlin-Brandenburg – BPW Canvas:
1st cycle to 3rd cycle each: Winning team: 4,000 euros
Business Plan Competition Berlin-Brandenburg – Special Prize Sustainability:
The free amount of expertise you receive in participating in the program is enormous. Counseling sessions and free training where experts support you with their industry knowledge are priceless in getting your startup to the next level.
Besides the price money, the competition is a great way to grow your network in the startup hub Berlin. Experts like investors, tax consultants, and other founders can open future doors, even though you might not win the big prize money.
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