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Submission Requirements

Registration
  1. Each team must register for the 2014 Ohio State Business Plan Competition at http://ohiostatebpc2014.istart.org. Teams also submit their applications and plans to this site.
  2. Further, at registration, all teams must review the Official Rules and Submission Requirements. Registration to the competition constitutes compliance with the eligibility requirements. There must be at least one current Ohio State student member of the team.

Conceptual Business Case Round 1 - Application Process

See specific judging criteria, below.

  1. The concept case application survey (Round 1) needs to clearly communicate the project’s opportunity in a way that those unfamiliar with the project will have sufficient information to make an informed decision on it. The application is a series of questions pertaining to your concept and team.
  2. Judges will review the answers to the submission questions online, selecting approximately 35 teams to receive an invitation to compete in the Business Plan Round (Round 2).
  3. Applications are submitted via the iStart system after the team leader has fully registered for the competition. Other team members may be added at any time and must register using the iStart registration system.
  4. Advancing teams will be notified via email.
  5. Round 1 submissions will be judged based on the following specific judging criteria:

 I. The Opportunity

  • Summarize the nature of the opportunity you are pursuing. 
  • Be specific as to why the opportunity is important.
  • Explain what you propose to do.
  • Who will benefit from your proposal?

II. Your Idea

  • Describe your idea/concept
  • Give details as to how you intend to develop/create the concepts.
  • Provide specifics about the uniqueness of your submission.
  • Give insight as to how your idea maximizes the opportunity.

III. The Intended Audience

  • Describe your target audience for your offering.
  • How large is it?
  • What is the anticipated growth potential?
  • Explain the value proposition/benefit your offering provides?

IV. Going to Market

  • Describe the approach/strategy you intend to implement to reach your audience.
  • Tell how you plan to develop your products or services (i.e., manufacture, outsource to another company, etc),
  • Explain how you will sell/distribute your products or services i.e., retail, internet, wholesale, franchise, direct sales, etc.)
  • Assess the profit proposition (potential) of your offering.

V. Implementation Plan

  • Outline the major milestones and timeline for launching your new idea.
  • Be specific with regard to how you will develop your products/ services.
  • How do you expect to launch your new enterprise?
  • What kind of financial capital need is required?
  • How will you get the necessary funding?
  • What key positions/roles will need to be in place to fully implement your plan?

Round 2 – Business Plan

Business plans should be no longer than 10 pages of text, #12 font, and double spaced with 1" margins. Up to 5 pages of appendices may be included in addition to the 10 pages of text.  The cover page, table of contents and executive summary are not included in the total page count but are required.

Cover Page  - Include the team name (and former name if team name has changed since registration) and name of ALL team members. These team members must be entered in the registration system. You may also include any advisors and mentors on this page.

Table of Contents – Show only the section title, not subheadings. Since new sections, subsections, or exhibits may be added at any time, it is suggested to not number pages.

Executive Summary – 1 - 2 pages  - The summary should capture and present succinctly the essence of the report. It is, in effect a micro version of the entire plan. The executive summary should be at the beginning of the document but should be written after the plan is thought out and completed.

I.         Business Overview

  • Describe the opportunity
  • Describe the unique product/service solution
  • Identify the intended audience

II.         Marketing Plan

  • Market research      
    • Market definition
    • Describe the competition and identify your strengths
  • Marketing strategy
    • Describe how will you sell your products/services
    • Describe how you will reach your target audience

III.         The Startup Team

  • Management team/principals – present the backgrounds of key managers and employees
  • Managing growth – describe how you will expand the management team as your company grows

IV.         Financial Plan

  • Current funding requirements
  • Use of funds, include your implementation plan and key milestones (prototype development, IP, hiring key personnel, first customer sale, attaining break even performance
  • Prospective financial data
  • Exit strategy

V.         Overall Impression

  • Judges will offer an overall impression of the total business plan. They will offer their opinion based on the overall quality of the opportunity, management team strength, market dynamic, and company viability.

Appendices and Exhibits – There will be no evaluation on appendices/exhibits.  You may include five pages of support material at the end of your plan.

 

Please view these links for help in writing a business plan.

  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Bplans
  • Palo Alto Software, Inc is sponsoring The Ohio State  Business Plan Competition at Fisher College of Business with a FREE download of Business Plan Pro LivePlan software for each team advancing to Round II.  The software is an online tool that provides an SBA-approved format for you to write and manage your plan, allowing you to turn your focus from the mechanics behind the plan to other important aspects involved in the competition. After Round II teams are announced, the team lead will receive a link to download this software.

Practice Pitch Sessions

  1. The Center for Entrepreneurship targets to select six teams, but may accept up to eight, to proceed from the Business Plan Round to the Final Presentation Round.
  2. The first official practice session for each finalist team will be with the mentor assigned to the team.  Subsequent pratice sessions will include other coaches and seasoned judges.
  3. During practices, each team will be given 12 minutes to orally present its business plan followed by a coaching question and answer session between the presenting team and the coaches. THESE TIME LIMITS WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.
  4. The purpose of the practice sessions is to familiarize the presenting teams with the presentation process and to receive constructive criticism from coaches prior to the Final Presentation Round.
  5. Equipment needs: The presentation room will be set up with a LCD projector and screen. Each team will need to bring their Power Point or Prezi presentation on a flash drive. More information on the practice sessions will be provided to the finalists at a later date.

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Final Presentation Final Round

  1. During the Final Round, each team will be given 12 minutes to orally present its business plan followed by a 10 minute question and answer session between the presenting team and the judges. THESE TIME LIMITS WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.
  2. The Final Presentations will take place at Fisher College. Equipment set-up will be the same as the practice sessions, with each team bringing their presentations on a flash drive and also sending it via email to Nikki Modlich (modlich.5@osu.edu).
  3. The teams will present their business plans to a panel of expert judges made up of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, private investors, faculty, and leading consultants.
  4. Judges will select three finalists, identifying first-, second-, and third-place winners.
  5. More information about Final Presentations will be provided to the finalists at a later date.

Awards Reception

  1. An awards reception will directly follow the final presentation round.
  2. Exact time and location to be determined.
  3. All finalist teams will be available for networking with the reception attendees.
  4. The top teams in each category will be recognized at the reception.
  5. The first-place winner(s) will be asked to give a brief overview of their plans.