The UW Business Plan Competition is comprised of four competitive rounds (Screening Round, Investment Round, Sweet 16, and Final Round) and one non-competitive Coaching Round, designed to prepare teams for the Sweet 16 and Final Round.
The Screening Round takes place online, and is the first major hurdle for students participating in the Business Plan Competition. Student teams submit their business plan executive summaries online. Over the course of a weekend, each business plan executive summary is read and scored by eight to ten judges who are encouraged to provide written feedback for students. After the Screening Round, an announcement of teams advancing to the Investment Round is sent via email. Please also review the submission checklist.
NOTE: Scoring based on 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), with 3 being of the caliber to advance to the next round
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Does the summary adequately describe the idea — does the idea make sense?
Has the team adequately described the pain in the marketplace?
Do you believe the team has presented a feasible solution?
Is the summary well written and succinct?
Does the summary create excitement?
Bonus: Does the team discuss measurable efforts to minimize consumption, use, and byproduct waste, while bolstering profitability/cost containment?
Does this management team have the skills required to execute the plan?
Does this team have the experience to lead a new venture?
Have they adequately described the market and economic opportunity?
Have they clearly stated their value proposition? Is it a viable model?
Has the team completely analyzed its competitive space?
Does the summary clearly identify the company’s initial competitive advantage or differentiator?
Does the team have an adequate strategy for defending their market position?
GO TO MARKET STRATEGY
Is it clear how the company will reach its initial customer?
Does the summary clearly identify a sales strategy?
Is the distribution plan clearly defined and reasonable?
Has the team made progress toward any milestones (licenses, patents, etc…)
Has the company signed customers and/or channel partners?
Has the company booked any revenue?
Are the financials consistent with the overall plan?
Are the assumptions realistic?
Are contingencies and exit strategies addressed?
Does the plan describe the funding/resources required to execute on the plan?
The Investment Round, arguably the most exciting event of the competition, follows a trades show format in which teams set up intricate displays and interact with judges to pitch the team’s idea. The judges, all prominent members of the local entrepreneurial community, are given one thousand “Buerk Center dollars” to invest in a portfolio of teams that they consider the “most viable” – that is, with the best chance for success in the real world. At the end of the event, investment dollars are collected and tallied. The sixteen teams receiving the highest “funding” are announced at a reception immediately following and advance to the next round, the Sweet Sixteen.
We ask the judges to invest their $1,000 “Buerk Center dollars” in a minimum of 5 companies (student teams) and a well-rounded portfolio of companies. We also tell them: when you’re deciding which teams to invest in, ask yourself:
- Does this business seem well thought out?
- Has the team demonstrated knowledge of the industry and potential customers?
- Is there a real opportunity here?
- Has the team answered your questions?
The Coaching Round is a noncompetitive round in which no teams are eliminated. This round gives teams the opportunity to practice their presentations in front of a panel of coaches from the local entrepreneurial community. This round is designed to provide teams with in-depth and constructive feedback that they can use to hone their business plans and pitches prior to the Sweet 16 and Final Rounds.
After honing their presentations in the Coaching Round, each of the sixteen remaining teams is assigned to present to one of four panels of judges. Judges select the advancing teams based on the following criteria:
1. The Team: What are the team dynamics? What is the quality of the team? Does the team demonstrate the ability to execute on its plan? (Student-driven teams are a plus.)
2. The Market: Does the company’s product or service address the target market’s needs? (Opportunity size is a plus, but not the primary concern)
3. Viability: Is the business model viable, well-articulated, and reasonable? (The team’s IP position should be clear.)
4. Presentation: Did the team make a quality presentation? What was the quality of the team’s materials and data? How was the team’s ability to answer tough questions?
Each panel of judges will see four teams’ presentations. After all presentations are finished, judges will discuss the merits of each of their four teams and by process of consensus select one or two teams to go on to the Final Round in the afternoon.
The Final Round is open to viewing by all competition participants, faculty, students, and the public. Each team has 30 minutes to present to and answer questions from a panel of judges (these judges have not seen any teams’ presentations prior to the Final Round.) The judges reach their decisions about team ranking by consensus using the same criteria as the Sweet 16 judges.