Guidelines, Rules and Regulations
The Business Plan Competition is open to all currently enrolled U of I students and those who graduated during the current academic year. Teams may include non-U of I students but must consist of one U of I student for each non-university team member. There is no limit to team size and interdisciplinary teams involving students from multiple colleges are strongly encouraged. All team members should be present and participate at competition events.
The competition accepts as qualified teams new ventures or significant expansion of an existing business but only if the business model being proposed takes the venture in significantly different directions and promises major innovation and expansion. The objective of the business tracks is to promote marketable business and social enterprise ideas that have the potential to attract funding, launch, and prosper. Each student on the team should be involved from concept and development of the business plan and ideally take an active ownership role in the startup.
All plans, pitches, and presentations must be accurate and represent the venture in an honest manner. Misrepresentation will result in disqualification.
Mentors can be a valuable resource for startups and teams are encouraged to seek faculty, business, and technical mentors. Teams should also consider the writing center for editing and format assistance and have the plan proofread by several business and non-business sources.
Each business plan will be judged by a group of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and business professionals. A judging rubric may be found on this site; however, ultimate ranking and awards are solely up to the discretion of the judging panel. While the competition preference is for teams to use cash awards to facilitate the launch of the venture, these are at the winners’ discretion. Unless the team specifies otherwise in advance, all prize money will be distributed equally among team members.
It is expected that all business plans are original and have not been previously awarded or recognized at the Business Plan Competition in previous years. Exceptions to these and any rules are at the discretion of the competition director and may be considered if a business idea and/or model has undergone major change and improvement since competing in a prior year. We also recognize that both students and non-student team members may have worked on their ideas, concepts, designs, products, and/or technology in prior academic years or prior to enrolling at the University of Idaho. 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 qualifies as a significant expansion of an existing venture.
Teams requiring non-disclosure agreements should not participate in the Business Plan Competition. All sessions of the competition are open to the public and may be broadcast to interested persons through various media and any data or information discussed or divulged throughout the competition should be considered information that will enter the public domain. All affiliates and the organizers of the Business Plan Competition retain the rights to use all competition materials to promote the events and for general academic purposes. Teams must obtain authorization to use third-party images or copyrighted material in their written business plans and formal presentations.
These guidelines cannot anticipate every circumstance. Consequently, the director reserves the right to modify these rules in any manner for the good of the competition. Any team that violates not only the rules and regulations but the spirit of the competition may be disqualified resulting in forfeiture of awards and prize money. Any questions regarding eligibility should be sent to the Entrepreneurship Director, George Tanner, by phone 208-885-6475.
To compete, teams will be asked to submit a one-page summary and a two minute video that pitches their business idea to the competition website idahopitch.eventbrite.com. The purpose of this preliminary round is to ensure teams are ready to submit their business plans and to compete successfully. Feedback will be provided to strengthen the final written plan and presentation. Teams that do not meet a minimum threshold of preparedness, professionalism, and viability in the summary and video round (in the opinion of the judges and the entrepreneurship director) will not move forward to the final Business Plan Competition.
Business Plans should be submitted as a single, printable PDF file. Plans are limited to no more than 10 pages including a one-page executive summary (but not including a cover page and single table of contents page). The written plan may include up to 6 additional pages of appendices.
Page format is 1.5 line spacing with 1 inch margins all around and 12 point font. This line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets. All pages must be numbered excluding the cover page. The cover page must include the venture name, team members, and logo if available.
Financial data should be highlighted in the plan and pro forma cash flow, income statement, and balance sheet data for up to three years should be included in the appendix. Additional appendix information should be included only if it supports assertions in the plan. If applicable, 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. Delineate the exit strategies if applicable and if equity is part of the offering.
Business Plan Presentations may consist of PowerPoint or other presentation media, models and prototypes, video, printed material, signage, and product displays. Team presentations are limited to 15 minutes which will be followed by up to 15 minutes of follow-up questioning from the U of I BPC judging panel. Questions during the formal team presentation will be asked by judges of that track only. The public is welcome to view presentations but may not interact in any way. Teams may not attend competitors’ presentations until after they have completed their own presentations. Though teams can choose their presenting person or persons, each student member should be present at the competition and be prepared to support their business plan.
The Business Plan Competition tries to simulate the process of entrepreneurship. Our U of I student entrepreneur teams should approach the competition as any new venture team would approach the marketplace. You are competing to solicit feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals and to gain start-up support and funding from potential investors. The judges will evaluate your business plans as they would any business opportunity and then decide on the ventures they would most likely fund. Build your plan, pitch, and presentation with accordingly. The decisions of the judging panel are final and they are free to determine prize amounts and the number of winners. If no ventures are supported, financial awards will not be made.