What goes into your Preliminary Business Proposal? What you should know before submitting your entry.

Eligibility and General Information

  • Students can participate as a member of a team (up to five members) or as individuals. Cross-disciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.
  • A team or individual can submit only one business plan. An individual cannot be a member of more than one team.
  • The business plan must be developed during the student’s time at the university.
  • Participants, whether teams or individuals, can have advisers and coaches. These advisers can be faculty members, business executives, entrepreneurs or family members. This is not a requirement. However, it is the students who must present their business plan and participate in the competition.
  • Only students are eligible to earn prize money. No payments will be made to non-students.

Preliminary Business Proposal


In under 2,000 words, summarize your idea and tell us the following:

The name and nature of the proposed business

  • An overview of the business opportunity and the key points
  • Layout the components to develop and eventually launch a successful business model
  • Think carefully about the name of your product/service (business)
  • Explain the basic business idea
  • Describe the product or service you wish to sell
  • What industry and market does your business belong to?
  • What is the attraction of this industry/market?

Capabilities and experiences of the student(s) to carry out the business plan:

  • Define the skills, abilities and personality characteristics that you and your team members have to carry out the business?
  • Assess if other capabilities and experiences are needed and how they will be attained?

An assessment of the market for your product or service:

  • Who is your target market? How did you identify them?
  • Problem – Solution – Benefit
  • How will the product/service appeal to the market place?
  • Describe the marketing mix (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) in your strategy to make your product/service appeal to and fulfill the target market?

A review of existing and potential competitors:

  • What similar competitive products or services are there?
  • How will you compete with them?
  • How is your plan different?

A description of how the product or service will be created, distributed and sold:

  • What are the resources required for this product/service (business)?
  • Where will you get your supplies?
  • If applicable, how and where will you produce the product(s) or services?
  • How will you package or deliver your product or service?

An exploration of potential legal issues:

  • Will you and how will you intellectually protect your product/service? (Patents, Trademarks, Trade Secrets, Copyrights)
  • What will be the ownership structure of your business? (Sole proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation)

Sources of financing, projection of revenues and profits, and appeal to potential investors:

  • Where will you get the financing to start-up your business?
  • What will the breakdown of your funding requirements be (debt/equity)?
  • How much will it cost to launch your business?
  • What are your projections for income?
  • Calculate your return on investment?
  • What is the financial appeal to your potential investors/partners?

Video Pitch

Create a quick 2-3 minute video pitch that includes the following:

  • Your name(s) and name of your business
  • What you are interested in?
  • What is the opportunity for your business?
  • What is the market size of your business? How is the market?
  • What is your business model?
  • Your call of action

Watch an example video pitch.

Phone Number
Hagedorn Hall of Enterprise 316

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