Student teams from four continents compete for tens of thousands of dollars in prizes. But the most valuable reward is the entrepreneurial acumen they take away.
Three rounds of competition
An online event, the Screening Round is the first major hurdle you’ll face in the competition. Email your 1 page business plan executive summary to competition organizers.
Review the following documents:
Over the course of a week, your executive summary will be read and scored by judges. It will be evaluated on a 1-to-5 scale in terms of the executive summary as a whole, management team, market opportunity, competitive strategy, go to market strategy, and financials. Judges will provide your team with written feedback.
Advancing to the Presentation Round
After the Screening Round, you’ll receive an email naming the teams that will advance to the Presentation Round. If your team proceeds, you’ll need to submit your full business plan (4-7 pages) and pitch deck (10-15 slides) by the deadline shown in the schedule.
- Written plan rubric (pdf)
How teams in the Presentation Round compete
The top 24 teams each submit a 4-7 page written business plan and a 10-15 slide pitch deck. Each team delivers an oral presentation of its plan to the judges. On competition day, each team will follow this schedule:
- Set up: 10 minutes
- Presentations: 15 minutes
- Judges’ questions: 15 minutes
- Judges’ conference: 10 minutes
- Judges’ feedback: 10 minutes
Teams are evaluated on both their written business plans and their presentations. Judging criteria include team presentation and style, the customer problem, solution, value proposition, competitive advantages, market and sales strategy, management, financials and offering, and investment analysis. Judges choose the top team in each of 6 leagues to advance to the final round. The following documents further explain the judging criteria:
- Presentation rubric (pdf)
Business plan dinner
If you competed in the presentation round, you and your teammates will dine with the judges—a priceless opportunity to build professional connections. Following the dinner, competition organizers will announce the winning teams.
Advancing to the final round
Following the business plan dinner, competition organizers announce the top 6 teams that will advance to the final round.
How finalists compete
Teams presenting their plans in the final round will adhere to this schedule:
- Set up: 5 minutes
- Presentation: 15 minutes
- Questions and feedback: 10 minutes
We encourage you to attend Resource Nights, evening learning sessions that bring in experts from the local community to teach various aspects of writing and presenting a business plan. Offered throughout spring semester, sessions are open to students and the public.
Start preparing your business plan in January…or sooner. Check the schedule for details.
- The contest is open to all Washington State University students who are enrolled in the current spring semester. To enter the competition, a team must complete the online registration. Teams should include members possessing the essential background to enable the development of a serious business plan. It is recommended that teams include science or engineering qualifications as well as business expertise where appropriate. There is no limit on the number of members; however, small interdisciplinary teams are encouraged.
- At least two members of the team must be full-time WSU students.
- Teams may consist of graduate as well as undergraduate students.
- Teams must submit all required documentation to advance to the Presentation Round of the competition including a full set of pro-forma financial statements for five (5) years (statement of cash flows with first year by quarter, income statement with first year by quarter and balance sheet)
- Advancing teams must send at least one team member to the Team Info Session. Advancing teams must also present in person during the Presentation Round of the competition.
- Only four members of the team will be allowed to present their idea before the judges during the Presentation Round of the competition.
- The business plan must be developed during the student’s tenure at the university. Students working with outside entrepreneurs must create an original business plan.
- All submissions to the Business Plan Competition must live up to the higher ideals of Washington State University. Your idea must be appropriate for a university-sponsored event. The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies reserves the right to disqualify any entry that in its judgment violates the letter or the spirit of the competition or exceeds the bounds of social convention.