The competition is open to all University of Idaho students who are enrolled during fall 2013 and/or winter 2014 semesters. Teams may include non-University of Idaho students, but each business plan team must include one University of Idaho student for each non-university team member. And University of Idaho students must attest to their significant involvement in the development of the business plan and participate in the presentation and pitch. There is no limit to team size and interdisciplinary teams involving students from multiple colleges are strongly encouraged. All team members must be present at the competition on April 26, 2014.
Mentors can be a valuable resource for startups. Each team must have the endorsement of a faculty advisor and must provide contact information for the faculty advisor. Faculty advisors will be contacted to verify sponsorship of each team. Please note that faculty advisors are encouraged but not required, to attend the Business Plan Competition to support their student team.
Teams are strongly encouraged to have a non-faculty, outside mentor with practical business experience related to the business plans sector. This can be a successful entrepreneur or business leader, technical advisor, or venture capitalists.
Each business plan will be judged by a group of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and managers. The number and amount of awards within each track (and when an award is given in any track) is solely their decision. Cash awards can be used by the business plan group in any way they choose, however; all prize money will be distributed equally among all team members unless the team specifies otherwise in writing in advance of the competition. Our preference is for teams to use the cash awards to facilitate the launch of their venture. Therefore, if teams wish, the entire amount will be awarded to the business.
Additional Rules and Regulations
Only plans for new ventures or for the growth and expansion of an existing business using a new business model may be submitted. The new business model may consist of expansion by a franchise system, e-commerce model, or international expansion, etc. The existing business should be at least one year old and undergoing growth.
The aim of the business plans for the innovative ventures and small business plan tracks is to promote marketable ventures that have the potential to attract funding. Each student on the team needs to have been instrumental in conceiving the venture or developing the business plan. Ideally, the proposed venture must show that student team members will have the opportunity to own equity in the venture (non-profit plans 501(c) (3) are exempt from the equity requirement). Student ownership in the venture is expected, and teams should include a statement about ownership options and equity positions for students.
All written business plans and presentations must be accurate, truthful, and must not misrepresent in any way any aspect of the venture. Any misrepresentation of the venture will result in immediate disqualification.
Previous Activity and Financing
In general, it is expected that all business plans are original and have not been previously awarded or recognized either at the VIEW business plan competition or any other business plan competition. However, business plans that have competed and received awards from other competitions are welcome if the plan shows how the previous award(s) were used to advance the venture and how any awards from the University of Idaho competition would be employed. Ventures must disclose all sources of existing funding.
Please note that we recognize that both students and non-student team members may have worked on their ideas, new concepts, products, and/or technology in prior academic years. Student team members may have even worked on the idea, new concept, product, and/or technology prior to enrolling as undergraduate or graduate students. Under these circumstances, a venture is eligible to compete in the Business Plan Competition as long as the venture has had no revenues and has not raised any equity capital, unless the plan is for the expansion of an existing venture.
Intellectual Property and Confidentiality
Business Plan Competition teams must obtain owner permission and/or authorization to use third-party images or copyrighted material in their written business plans and formal presentations. Team members should keep in mind that the general public will be present during the Business Plan Competition. Members of various media outlets may also be present at the competition. Therefore, any information made known and/or discussed in the competition by team members should be considered information that could possibly enter the public realm. Team members should not assume rights of confidentiality in any information made known and/or discussed in the competition. The Business Plan Competition will make every effort to limit the distribution of the written business plans to only judges of the competition. However, judges, staff of the competition, reviewers, audience members, and members of the media are not required to agree or to sign non-disclosure statements.
All affiliates and the organizers of the University of Idaho Business Plan Competition may make photocopies, photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings of the presentations, including the business plan and other documents, charts, media or other material prepared for use in presentation at the event. The above entities may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any videotape or other medium to promote or enhance future competitions.
Guidelines for Written Business Plan
The guidelines provided in this document must be followed for all written business plans. Failure to comply with the guidelines will result in the disqualification of the business plan.
Format Guidelines and General Content
All business plans are limited to no more than 20 pages of text, excluding appendices. All plans must have a cover page, one page executive summary, table of contents, and signature page and references which do not count against the 20 page maximum length. The text must be typed, single or double-spaced, using a minimum of 12 pitch font and one-inch margins. The financial summary data are included within the 20 page limit and must also conform to the style described above. Appendices should not be more than 20 pages total. Appendices should immediately follow the text portion of the business plan and be clearly titled as Appendices. Do not exceed more than 20 pages for the business plan even if fewer than 20 pages are used for the appendices. Business plans failing to comply with the format guidelines will not be eligible for the competition.
Financial Summary Requirements
Business plans must contain a financial summary. The financial summary must include one year of monthly and two years of quarterly pro formas for  cash flow statement,  income statement,  balance sheet, and  other financial information, if necessary, the team believes may assist the competition judges in assessing the business plan. The financial summary should also include an investor offering that clearly states how much money is required, how the money will be used, and the structure of the proposed deal (i.e., equity via stock, debentures). Possible exit strategies for the proposed venture must also be described within the financial summary. It is not necessary for the team to reveal in their written business plan the precise desired terms of the proposed deal (e.g., company valuation, percentage of company being offered in deal). However, the team should expect to be solicited for this type of information during their presentation and should be prepared to answer questions concerning their proposed deal. Financial plans must be realistic.
Include information in appendices only if it provides support to statements and observations contained within the business plan. It is possible that judges may not read material contained within the appendices due to the high number of submissions. Therefore, be certain that the text portion of the business plan (limited to 20 pages) contains the required and any other important information. Appendices exceeding 20 pages will be reduced to the first 20 pages before being provided to the judges.
Guidelines for Oral Presentation of Business Plan
Preliminary Presentations (March 25 and 26, 2014):
To compete in the Business Plan Competition teams must participate in an initial business plan presentation on March 25 and 26, 2014. The purpose of the preliminary round is to ensure teams are ready to submit their business plan and to compete successfully. Feedback will be provided to enhance both the final written business plan and presentation. For the preliminary round, a complete set of the financials must be provided to the judges and significant attention will focus upon demonstrating the financial viability of the business plan and the funding model. Teams that do not meet a minimum threshold of preparedness, professionalism, and financial viability in the draft presentations (in the opinion of the judges and the VIEW director) will not move forward to the final Business Plan Competition on April 26, 2014.
Final Round Presentations
Team presentations are limited to 15 minutes in length, which will be followed by 15 minutes of questioning from the Business Plan Competition judges. It is essential that teams practice their oral presentation prior to the competition. Teams will be asked to discontinue their oral presentation should the 15 minute limit be exceeded. The oral presentation may consist of posters, PowerPoint presentations, and/or prototypes.
Questions during the formal team presentation will be asked by judges of that track only. Absolutely no questions will be allowed from instructors, members of any other team participating in the Business Plan Competition, or the audience during the formal presentations.
Modifications of Business Plan Competition Rules and Regulations
These guidelines can’t anticipate every circumstance, and the VIEW director reserves the right to modify these rules in any manner for the good of the competition. Any team that violates the rules, regulations, or the spirit of the competition may be disqualified. Competition directors, individual teams, and mentors are responsible for ensuring that entrants meet these requirements for participation in the competition. A team violation may result in the forfeiture of awards and prize money. Any questions regarding eligibility should be sent to the VIEW Director, Dr. Mike McCollough, by phone 208-885-7151 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.