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CLICK HERE to view the schedule of events on May 4 and May 5

Business Plan Submission Guidelines

Business Plan Submission Deadline: Friday, April 21, 2017 at 12:01 PM. Late submissions will not be reviewed.

Submit to:

Format: Everything must be in ONE file using Microsoft Word or PDF format (no other formats will be accepted). Please use Times New Roman 12-point font, 8 ½ X 11 page settings, and a 1-inch margin all around. The text should be aligned to the left.

Maximum of 20 single-spaced pages, as follows:

1 page: Cover Page

1 page: Disclaimer

3 pages maximum: Executive Summary and/or Table of Contents

12 pages maximum: Main Body of Business Plan (includes 10 required sections below)

3 pages maximum: Optional Appendices

Files should be organized as follows:

  • Cover Page:

    • Team Number

    • Venture Name

    • Names of Team Members

    • Contact Information (email and phone number of the contact person)

    • Venture Description (a maximum 100-word description of the venture)

    • The Confidentiality Notice

  • Disclaimer Page:

    • The page following the cover page must include the Disclaimer.

    • This disclaimer is intended to satisfy the requirements of U.S. securities law. You want to be very clear, in this context, that you are not making anything that can be construed as an offer to sell securities.

  • Executive Summary: The executive summary should be no more than 3 single-spaced pages. Tables, figures, and exhibits should be included within the 3-page limit.

  • Business Plan Main Body: The business plan will be judged on the following 10 sections. CLICK HERE for additional details on what to include in each section.

    • Venture Description

    • The Problem

    • The Solution

    • Differentiation

    • Revenue Model

    • Execution Team

    • Marketing Plan

    • Operations Plan

    • Financial Projections, including the REQUIRED TABLES (.docx).

    • Current Status/Milestones

  • Optional Appendices: All appendices must be contained within 3 pages at the end of the business plan. We suggest that you include at minimum an income statement and cash flow statement. Other optional appendices include a business model canvas, gap analysis, list of key assumptions, estimated start-up costs, etc.

The business plans will be evaluated by judges, and only qualifying teams will advance to the Elevator Pitch and Venture Expo Competition on May 5, 2017. For business plan judging criteria, click here.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017:
Elevator Pitches, Venture Expo, Announcement of Semifinalists, Student Union

Elevator Pitch Guidelines:

  • One individual from each team will have a maximum of two minutes to deliver the elevator pitch to judges.

  • The presenter should carefully time and practice the elevator pitch because he or she will be cut-off at exactly two minutes.

  • The elevator pitch should clearly articulate the description/problem, feasibility of the solution, and target market.

  • Teams will be divided into multiple competition rooms based on their business plan evaluation scores.

  • No PowerPoint Presentations are allowed.

  • Physical visual aids (e.g., prototypes) are allowed.

  • Dress code is business formal.

  • Click here for elevator pitch judging criteria.

Venture Expo Guidelines:

  • The venture expo allows teams to interact one-on-one with the judges. Your team will be evaluated based on the value proposition, market feasibility, financial feasibility, ability to execute, launch, and potential impact.

  • Exhibit space: Each team will have an assigned display table, which is roughly 2.5-feet by 5-feet. The table does not have skirting or a backdrop, but teams may add them if they wish.

  • Electrical access will be available but close access cannot be guaranteed. Please bring an extension cord.

  • Per Student Union requirements, any food and beverage must be preapproved.

  • All special items and equipment should be prepared ahead of time by the team.

  • During the venture expo, teams will interact with judges who will have the opportunity to ask specific questions about the ventures. Please be aware that some questions should not be answered in order to comply with U.S. securities law. Here is a list of talking points on how to respond to these types of questions.

  • Teams are allowed to hand out information (e.g., flyers, business cards, pens) and have additional people available at their booth (e.g., customers to talk about their experiences).

  • Teams are NOT allowed to distribute copies of business plans to judges.

  • Click here for venture expo judging criteria.

Announcement of Semifinalists: 5:00 PM

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Friday, May 5, 2017:
Semifinalist Presentations, Finalist Presentations, Award Ceremony Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall

Semifinalist Presentation Guidelines:

  • 16 semifinalist teams will be evenly divided into four competition rooms.

  • Each team will have 15 uninterrupted minutes to make their presentation and 5 minutes to answer questions from a panel of judges.

  • A PowerPoint presentation or similar visual aid is encouraged.

  • Upon conclusion of the four presentations in each room, judges will discuss and reach agreement on one semifinalist team that will advance to the finalist presentation.

  • The presenting team is responsible for checking on any special technology requirements before the day of the competition.

  • Dress code is business formal.

  • Teams will be evaluated based on the value proposition, market feasibility, financial feasibility, ability to execute, launch, and potential impact. Click here for semifinalist presentation judging criteria.

  • Teams may structure their presentations however they would like. Here are some suggested items to cover during the presentation:

    • What is a significant problem/need that your venture has identified?

    • How does your venture solve the identified problem/need?

    • What are convincing reasons as to why customers will pay for the product or service that your venture offers?

    • What is your venture’s business model?

    • How profitable and sustainable is your venture’s business model?

    • What is your team’s analysis of the financial projections and feasibility of your venture?

    • Who are your venture’s competitors?

    • What differentiates your venture from your competitors?

    • How do you protect your innovation (business) against imitation?

    • What is the next milestone for your venture?

    • How much money does your venture need to get to this next milestone?

    • How will your venture use the money to get to this next milestone?

    • Do you plan to raise money for your venture within 12 months?

    • How confident are you in raising the funds?

    • If your venture is selected as a winner of this competition, how do you plan to use the award money?

Finalist Presentation Guidelines:

  • Four finalist teams will have 15 uninterrupted minutes to make their presentation and 10 minutes to answer questions from a panel of judges.

  • Teams will be evaluated based on the same criteria of value proposition, market feasibility, financial feasibility, ability to execute, launch, and potential impact. Click here for finalist presentation judging criteria.

  • Upon conclusion of the four presentations, judges will discuss and reach agreement on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place teams.

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