• 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.