Submission Overview and Guidelines
Concept Synopsis Guidelines
There are two tracks for entries in the competition – (1) undergraduate; (2) graduate and alumni classification. Please ensure that when submitting your concept synopsis you indicate the correct category type and academic classification of competition for both your entry and status at the University (see eligibility requirements). Only degree-seeking students and alumni are eligible.
Multiple concept synopsis submissions are NOT accepted. Each individual should only appear on ONE submission.
Each concept paper must contain individual or all team member name(s), e-mail address(es), and phone number(s) at the time of the submission.
Concept papers must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 4:00 P.M. on Tuesday, December 20, 2016.
The date and timestamp of the submission form mailbox will serve as the official receipt information; please leave adequate time to ensure your submission is received as the mailbox will be shut down after 4:00 P.M.
Submissions must be typed and presented in a single Microsoft Word or PDF document not to exceed 5 pages total; all required information must be contained within the 5 pages submitted. No other supporting documents will be accepted.
Submissions longer than 5 pages will not be accepted; a cover page is not needed.
Do not send a secure document that requires a password to be opened; such entries will not be accepted into the competition.
If the concept synopsis submitted is based on a class project, either all members must be part of the team or those not entering/participating must approve the submission by the other team members in writing prior to the submission.
In the event that the submission is accepted and later on it is found that other unknown members to the competition did not give approval for participation prior to submission, the entry may be disqualified.
The content of the concept papers may vary depending on the type of venture. However, it is critical that the following issues should be addressed in detail:
- What exactly is the product or service?
- What is the market?
- Who is the customer?
- What are the financial possibilities (size/profitability goals)?
- What is the business model?
- Management prowess?
- What is the exit strategy for investors?
It is also critical that references are provided for all key facts, and that key assumptions are explicitly stated.
Submissions that do not fully address the critical issues, or that do not provide references or explain assumptions, will be rejected.
Both the concept synopsis and finalist business plan submissions will be treated as confidential by those involved with the competition; however, please note that for screening and evaluation purposes these items will be reviewed by multiple competition personnel and panelists.
Written Plan Guidelines
Written business plans must be limited to 20 pages of text (typed, double-spaced, maximum 12 pitch font, and 1" margins on all sides), including the executive summary and summary financial data and excluding a cover sheet and table of contents. Detailed spreadsheets and appropriate appendices should follow the text portion of the plan but will be limited to 10 pages. Plans with fewer than 10 pages of appendices may not use the remaining pages to increase the size of their business plan beyond 20 pages. In total, the maximum number of pages is 30, or 32 including cover sheet and table of contents.
Contents of the Written Business Plan
Your 20-page business plan should include:
1. Executive Summary
2. Company Overview
3. Product or service description
4. Industry/Competitor Analysis
5. Market/Customer Analysis
6. Marketing and Sales Plan
7. Operations and Growth Strategy
8. Management Team and Staffing Plan
9. Financial Summary
10.The Offering (how much investment you are seeking, uses of funding, possible exits)
Financial Data: Financial data should include a cash flow statement, income statement, and balance sheet. We recommend projecting annual financials for at least five years along with a monthly plan for year 1. This data should be included in a summarized fashion in the main section of the business plan. Include an explanation of the offering to investors indicating how much money is required, how it will be used, and the proposed structure of the deal, (i.e., stock, debentures, etc.) and possible exit strategies. Detailed financial data and tables should be included in the appendices.
(Please note: The team is not required to reveal the exact desired terms of the deal (i.e., proposed company valuation and percentage of company being offered). However, teams should expect to be asked about these terms and should be prepared to answer these questions in some fashion (if this information is not already provided in the written plan). It is up to the team to assess the BEST way to address this question; however, past experience indicates that some judges will want to know a team's estimated company valuation.
Appendices: Should be included only when they support the findings, statements, and observations in the plan. All appendices must fall within the 10-page limit; any pages over this limit will not be posted or otherwise provided to the judges.
Written Plan Submission: The final written plan from invited teams will be due to email@example.com on or before 4:00 P.M. E.S.T. on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Please submit an electronic version via email on Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF. Any other form will not be accepted. Teams not meeting this deadline will not be considered for this year's competition.
Changes to Your Business Plan: Once your written business plan is submitted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, you will not have a chance to modify your written plan. It will be provided for review by the judges, and you will receive the judges' written feedback on your plan prior to the final round, if you are invited to present.