New Venture Competition

Monday, March 27 – Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nebraska Union, 1400 R St., Lincoln, NE 68588

The UNL New Venture Competition is a celebration of entrepreneurial learning and competition. The competition is for student-created, managed and owned ventures. Open to UNL students, graduate and undergraduate competitions will be held during the two-day event. All graduate students are eligible to participate, including executive MBAs. A grand prize of $50,000, along with additional cash prizes, will be awarded during the Networking and Awards Reception on Tuesday, March 28. The deadline for student registration to compete is Wednesday, March 22.

Register for New Venture Competition

Registration deadline is Wednesday, March 22


March 27 Agenda
7:30 a.m. Judges report for breakfast meeting
8 a.m. Welcome and instructions for competitors
8:15 a.m. Round #1 - Presentations begin
10:30 a.m. Judges deliberation and feedback
11:30 a.m. Catered lunch
1 p.m. Round #2 - Presentations begin
2:45 p.m. Judges deliberation and feedback / Winners announced on social media
March 28 Agenda
1 p.m. Presentation #1
1:30 p.m. Presentation #2
2 p.m. Presentation #3
2:30 p.m. Presentation #4
3 p.m. Judges Deliberation
4 p.m. Networking and awards reception

Business Plan Guidelines

  • Each team may submit only one business plan to the competition.
  • A team’s presentation must be submitted prior to the competition date.
  • The presentation must be made in a PowerPoint format.
  • A presentation should be around 10-15 slides to fit within the 15-minute presentation limit.

Presentation Guidelines

  • In the opening round and final round, each team will be given five (5) minutes to set-up and then 15 minutes to present its business plan followed by a 15-minute question and answer session between the presenting team and the judges. THESE TIME LIMITS WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED. Each member of the team present at the competition must participate in the formal presentation of the plan.
  • Following the judges’ deliberations, all teams will have individual meetings with their judges. Judges will provide feedback and valuable suggestions.
  • Teams may not observe other teams’ presentation or question and answer sessions in their division until after they have presented their own plan. Once a team has finished its presentation, they may observe both the presentation and Q&A session of the teams that follow.
  • Each presentation room will be set up with a LCD projector and screen, a laptop for the presentation, as well as a cart/table.

Eligibility Rules

Student Involvement. Students must (1) have played a major role in conceiving the venture, (2) have key management roles in the venture and (3) own significant equity in the venture. In general, a member of the student team should be CEO, COO or president of the venture, or members of the student team should occupy 50% or more of the functional area management positions that report directly to the CEO, COO or president. Members of the student team should also own 50% or more of the equity allocated to the management team and key advisors. An equity position of less than 50% of the equity allocated to the management team and key advisers, and/or less than 20% of the total equity of the venture will be suspect and require the students to show evidence that they were a major cause in the venture creation. One objective of this rule is to exclude ventures formed and managed by non-students who have given token equity to others for writing their business plan.

Team Composition. To compete in the undergraduate track, a team must be made up entirely of undergraduate students. Teams with at least one graduate student must compete at the graduate level. All graduate students, not just MBA candidates, are eligible to participate in the competition. This includes executive MBAs. Non-students may be members of the venture’s management team and participate in planning the venture. However, only students may present the plan and answer questions from the competition judges.

Student Enrollment. The competition is for students enrolled in the current academic year. Students who graduated in the preceding academic year are not eligible to participate. However, an exception will be made for students who both wrote their business plans for academic credit and graduated during the preceding summer.

Nature of Ventures. The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up or early growth stages. General exclusions include buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area and spin-outs from existing corporations. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is not excluded and is encouraged assuming they have not been commercialized previously.

University Sponsored. The business plan must be prepared under faculty supervision. Ideally, the business plan will be prepared for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study. The business plan must represent the original work of members of the team.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

  • Business plan authors retain all rights to the plan regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below. Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.
  • All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions.
  • The University of NebraskaLincoln Center for Entrepreneurship, the organizer of the UNL New Venture Plan Competition, may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the business plan and other documents, charts or material prepared for use in presentation at the VLIC. Students retain all proprietary rights. The university may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any videotape or other medium that it may produce, provided that any profits earned from the sale of such items is used by the university solely to defray the costs of future UNL New Venture Plan Competition competitions. The university has non-exclusive world rights in all languages, and in all media, to use or to publish the materials in any book, other printed materials, videotapes or other medium, and to use the materials in future editions thereof and derivative products.