MBA New Venture Competition

Initial submissions must include a written plan. The plan is limited to 40 pages (25 text, 15 appendix), double-spaced on 8.5-by-11-size paper, 12 pt. font size, including the executive summary and financial data.

In the business plan financial section a complete set of financial statistics must be included (income, balance sheet, cash flow) for initial three years of venture. A detailed assumption list must accompany the statements. Detailed spreadsheets and appendices can follow the text, however, the total plan should not exceed 40 pages.

Plans should include an explanation of the offering to investors that indicate how much money is required, the expected ROI, how the deal might be structured, a marketing plan, an operations plan and a management team description. Potential exit strategies should be included.

Six copies of the business plan for the qualifying-round judging are due by the first Monday in January. All of the presentations will be on the first Friday in January and will be a maximum of 20 minutes followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer period with the judges. Finalists will be announced that day.

Those teams selected from the qualifying round will submit six copies of the final revised business plan one week later to the Center for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization which will retain a copy for its files and submit the plans for further competition.

Each team selected to participate in either the Spirit of Enterprise Competition or the New Venture Championship is required to present its plan at the competition in February or April.



  • All entries must be prepared under faculty supervision; we strongly urge the faculty advisor to attend.
  • Team size may range from two members to a maximum of five members
  • Team members must be graduate students
  • The management team outlined in the plan may include individuals who are not associated with the university but only student team members can present in the competition
  • At least one member of the team must hold a senior-level management position in the proposed new venture


All student team members must be enrolled on a full or part-time basis, in the current academic year.


The business should not have raised outside capital nor generated revenues prior to presenting for the competition.

Qualifying round judging

Submittals will be judged on the basis of potential success as a new business venture.

The primary determinants of business success to be used in judging are as follows (each determinant weighted 20%):

  • Market attractiveness
  • Competitive advantage
  • Strength of management
  • Implementation plan
  • Economic value

Market Attractiveness

  • Size
  • Growth rate
  • Margins available
  • Competitive level

Competitive Advantage

  • Market need for product/service
  • Ability to reach the defined market(s)
  • Ability to withstand competitive attacks
  • Potential for additional advantages or markets

Strength of Management

  • Completeness of management team
  • Requisite skills and experience for this type of venture
  • Ability to present and "sell" the business
  • Quality of written plan and data

Implementation Plan

  • Description of operations
  • Implementation plan and timetable
  • Projected income statement
  • Cash flow projections
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Sources of funds

Economic Value

  • Total wealth created
  • Risk/return relationship
  • Exit strategies for outside investors (if any)
  • Assessment of risks
  • Cash flows

Final judging criteria

Quality of the new venture concept

Will the plan convince prospective employees, bankers, and investors of the opportunity for success?

Formal presentation of the written and oral plan

The ability to present and "sell" a new venture plan is critical to the venture's success. The management team and business plan must be able to attract and motivate prospective employees as well as investors, bankers, resellers, and other business partners.

Potential for financial success

Do the numbers make sense? Are the numbers and projections credible? What is the realistic return to investors?


Charles H. Matthews, PhD
Distinguished Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy
Office: 3448 Carl H. Lindner Hall
Phone: 513-556-7123