What’s Your Big Idea? Business Plan Competition

Rules & Guidelines

  1. In order to enter, the team leader must be a full- or part-time student, undergraduate or graduate level, who is currently enrolled in a degree program, and who is registered at one of the University of Florida campuses for the Summer 2023, Fall 2023, and Spring 2024 semester. Other team members can be non-UF college students or community members, however, non-student members are not allowed to present as part of the team in the competition.
  2. Only one submission of a new business venture per team is permitted. Plans should not exceed 35 pages plus 15 pages of appendices. They should follow the structure in “Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans” guideline.
  3. Individuals may be a member of only one team. Teams may be as small as one student, and there is no maximum size, but bear in mind that there are practical limits to the size of any working group.
  4. Ideas submitted as part of a team’s new business venture must represent the original work of the team members. Team members will sign a certification to this effect as part of the initial entry.
  5. If the new venture has already received funding from any outside sources (angel investors, other competitions, etc.), amounts, investors and dates of funding must be disclosed in the initial entry. This competition is intended only for student teams that have not received any formal outside investment from venture capital firms or other certified investors and that have received $50,000* or less in outside funds by start of the spring academic semester. Most teams have yet to raise any monies.
  6. Submitted ideas are protected in the spirit of non-disclosure, and all entry materials will be treated as company confidential. The only people with access to the entry materials will be judges and select members of the organizing committee. Materials will not be distributed to any other party unless requested by an entrant team. No other provisions are made to protect intellectual property.
  7. Entrants must adhere to all submission deadlines and guidelines. Materials must be submitted no later than the appropriate due date and time at the specified drop point in the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center (133 Bryan Hall). No late submissions will be accepted and any submissions that exceed the maximum length will not be considered.
  8. Entries will be judged by a panel of independent professionals involved in entrepreneurship. Judges may be successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors or professional service providers working with the venture community. Any entry is subject to minimum criteria in terms of market potential, viability and other factors, as determined by the judging panel’s experience. If no entries meet the minimum criteria, one or both prizes might not be awarded. Throughout any and all phases of the business plan competition, all decisions of the judges are final.
  9. Except as stated below, prize money is granted only to the business entity that the winning team forms, e.g. a corporation or LLC. If the winning teams fail to form the business entity and request the prize money from the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center within one year following the competition, the money remains in the competition fund and is not disbursed. Award money will be granted only to seed the start-up and development of the winning idea (e.g. no substitutions may be made without the approval of the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center). Teams and their resultant business entities are responsible for any tax consequences of the prize.
  10. At least 25% of the winning business entity formed must be owned by one or more of the UF students on the winning team. If, at the time of the competition, the venture has already been formed and the student participant(s) hold less than 25% equity, consideration will be given as to whether the venture was conceived and launched with co-founders who were UF students within the past four academic years.
  11. The university reserves the right to disqualify, in its sole and absolute discretion, any team from the competition at any time. Reasons for disqualification may include, but are not limited to, plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty, misappropriation or infringement of the intellectual property of others, and any failure to comply with these rules and regulations. Disqualified teams shall forfeit any and all prizes awarded to them.

Prize money will be awarded as follows:

  • The prize money will be distributed to the company or entity that is moving the business plan forward in two increments of 50% and 50% of the total prize money, based on milestones achieved that are outlined in the business plan. The payment and milestones schedule will be established by a committee comprised of the Director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, and additional entrepreneurship advisors as may be included on the committee at the discretion of the Director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center.
  • All agreed upon team milestones must be achieved and written notification to the Director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center within one year of the awards competition date in order to receive the two increments of prize money. For the 2023 competition, all milestones must be completed and written notice of the same, together with a request for payment, must be made by April 30, 2024.
  • If established milestones are not achieved by the appropriate deadline, then any related payments will be forfeited and the winnings that are not paid will remain with the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center.
  • Payment for achievement of milestones will not be unreasonably withheld, and the decision as to whether certain milestones have actually been achieved will be determined by the committee which shall have full discretion to make such determination.