i2b – ideas to business
We’re a business planning initiative that supports founders in writing business plans with our free services, such as expert feedback, business plan editing assistance, templates and offering a business plan handbook, and by organizing Austria’s largest annual business plan competition.
i2b is a program backed by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Erste Bank, and Sparkassen launched in 2000 with the long-term goal of supporting founders, specifically with the written component of developing their business concept. “We think you’re more successful in starting a business when you have a good, written plan behind it,” says deputy managing director Lisa Rupp. In 2022, over 1,500 people started a business plan on the website, and 413 of those were completed and qualified for entry into i2b’s annual business plan competition, in which the only submission requirement is a professionally written plan. As Lisa says, “It is not about the idea behind the plan, but the business plan. Everybody can take part in our competition, as long as the plan is good.” On the website, anyone with entrepreneurial ideas can access i2b’s central services at no cost.
Founders or startup teams who take part in the annual competition can win prizes worth up to €200,000 ($218,000), including €10,000 ($10,900) in cash for the overall winner. When submitting, founders self-select into one of four categories: Service/Trade/Commerce, Technology, Students or Sole Proprietorship. Prizes are awarded to the top three plans in each category, along with extra prizes for the special categories of social businesses, business succession and greentech. All plans submitted to the competition receive expert feedback, and the top five in each category are invited to pitch their ideas to a jury of about fifty professionals, including investors and consultants. The winners are announced at an awards gala with experts, investors and media representatives in attendance.
In addition to cash, the prizes include business services provided by i2b’s network of partners, such as consulting services from Deloitte, online management courses from Danube University Krems and a financing and marketing workshop from CONDA, a crowd investing platform, and iPads sponsored by aws. Some prize winners are awarded a full-page advertisement in Die Presse, a daily newspaper and i2b’s media partner.
Submit your business plan to the competition. It is not necessary to use i2b’s online template, startups can upload their previously written plans as pdfs.
Write in German or English. Both i2b’s online resources, including expert feedback, and the competition are conducted in both languages.
Include a financial plan. Even for theoretical plans in the Students category, the plan should be realistic and actionable.
Do a complete assessment, including risks. Winning plans are clear about the real-world challenges in implementing the idea and how the team will address them.
Have your headquarters in Austria. We are looking for a community focus, but know that any businesses implemented within a year prior to the competition are excluded from participating in that year’s i2b.
Application can be sent via
Main Photo by: Klaus Morgenstern