Innovative ventures: involve new technologies, products and processes. In general, patents and intellectual property are involved, often from the University of Idaho Office of Technology Transfer. Total awards of $10,000 are available in this track.
Small businesses: tend not to involve intellectual property but focus more on traditional “mom and pop” ventures such as new or expanded retail or service operations. Total awards of $5,000 are available in this track.
Social entrepreneurship/Nonprofits: plans must address a social cause or effort to better the world and society. The business can be set up as a non-profit organization i.e., 501(c) (3), or it can be set up as a profit-oriented business. The ROI (return on investment) for the social entrepreneurship business will be measured by an impact analysis and/or a financial ROI. Total awards of $5,000 are available in this track.
Guidelines for Writing a 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. Teams should closely inspect the scoring criteria that will be used by the competition judges. This information provides a clear indication of the content that should be contained within the written business plan.
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 and 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 (team to supply their own laptop) and/or prototypes. For the preliminary round a complete set of the financials must be provided to the judges. Further, for the preliminary round at least half of your presentation should be focused on demonstrating the financial viability of the business plan and the funding model. Teams that are deemed to be unprepared at the Preliminary Business Plan Competition or those plans that lack basic viability (in the opinion of the judges and the VIEW director) will not be allowed to compete at the final business plan competition. Depending on the plan, the final business plan presentation may involve less time spent on the financials then in the preliminary and more on the overall business model.
Question and Answer During Judging
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.
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 all phases of 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. In the U.S., inventors generally have one year after disclosure in which to file patent applications. 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 member of the media will not be required to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements.
Preliminary Business Plan Presentations March 28 and 29, 2013
To compete in the business plan competition teams must participate in an initial business plan presentation on March 29, 2013. The purpose of this practice session is to assure teams are ready to submit their business plan and to compete successfully. Feedback will also be provided to enhance both the final written business plan and presentation. Teams that do not meet a minimum threshold of preparedness, professionalism and financial viability in the draft presentations will not move forward to the final Business Plan Competition on April 27, 2013.