The Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition is held to encourage entrepreneurship among Georgia Tech students , to encourage and support the founding of high-quality and leading-edge ventures, and to provide exposure to both high tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The competition is open to all Georgia Tech students; and alumni who have graduated since May 2012. Individuals who have graduated prior to May 2012(Spring Semester 2012) are NOT eligible to compete unless their venture team includes a current Georgia Tech student or an alumni who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements.
Teams competing in the business plan competition are expected to develop a concept, business model and a "investor deck" for a sustainable for-profit venture with specific exit options. The venture concepts should provide evidence of the feasibility of the technology around which the business will be developed as well as a viable market(s) for the products and/or services provided. Technology must be a core component of the venture expected competitive advantage -- whether that technology is embedded in the firms product or service, business processes, or business model. Any form or application of technology -- from life sciences, IT and web, communications technology, materials technologies, nanotechnologies, and others -- are welcomed into the competition.
An important aspect of the BPC is the workshop series. Workshops are optional for competition participnats but are recommended -- especially for students who have not taken or are currently enrolled in an entreprneurship-related course. For the 2013 BPC, the workshops are organized into a Fall series and a Spring series. The Fall series will be focused on Business Model Discovery and leveraging principles of Lean Entreprneurship to discovery and validate an effective business model for the new venture. Using materials developed for the National science Foundation ("NSF") I-Corps program, NSF sanctioned teachers and coaches will help participants focus on "getting out of the "building/lab" and talking to and learning from potential customers. The purpose is to help the participants learn and experience entreprneurship that focuses on finding a product/market fit and a repeatable sales model before attempting to scale and build a business. At gthe conclusiopn of the fall workshop series, the BPC will host a Business Model Guantlett competition awarding $1000 in cash prizes.
The Spring workshop series is focused on how to pitch a venture concpet to investors and will be taught primarily by local Atlanta area business angels. In addition to leanring effective techniques for evaluating and assessing venture potential and how to find and secure investor funds, these workshops provide an opportunity for participants to meet and network with active local investors.
Another key aspect of the 2013 BPC is the mentoring program. Teams that register for the Investor Round will, at their option, be assigned local mentors from the entrepreneurial community. The mentors in turn will work with the teams to help team craft a business model and fine tune the team's investor pitch deck.
The successful venture teams will develop a venture concepts that provides for a compelling value propositions and sustainable economic models targeted towards industries that are demonstrated to be attractive and likely to grow. Participants will need to know how to appropriately scope and identify their Total Assessible Market ("TAM") and Sales Assessible Markets ("SAM"). Ultimately the winning teams will be those that can provide and articulate to potential investors proof of the significance of the investment opportunity provided by the venture.
The competition creates the following scenario: The Company has been invited to present its venture to a diverse group of prominent investors, entrepreneurs and business executives. The group has had an opportunity to review your written Executive Summary, your applicatiuon for investment, and has seen a video of your elevator pitch. Now the executive team has a chance in a face-to-face meeting to convince these potential investors that the plan is both viable and the most significant investment opportunity that they will hear today. The team may go through two rounds in the competition. All teams will participate in a prelimninary round and selected teams will be advanced to a final round. More specific are provided later on this page.
Eligibility to Compete
Eligibility to compete requires that at least one venture team member, who holds a significant management position in the venture (i.e. CEO, CFO, CTO) and owns or has significant equity potential in the venture, be a current Georgia Tech student (graduate or undergraduate) or have graduated from Georgia Tech since May 2012.
Non-students may participate in planning the venture and the preparation of materials turned into the competition director. However the Georgia Tech student or alumni team member(s) are expected to take a leadership role in presenting the venture plan in the competition.
It is recommended that no more than five team members take part in the competition presentations (given the limited time allowed for presentation) but there is no restriction on the total size of the venture's founding team.
The competition is for new independent for profit ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages. Generally excluded are the following: expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, franchises, licensing of existing companies that involved distribution in new geographical areas, spin-outs from existing companies or buy-outs.
Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is not excluded and is in fact encouraged assuming that the technologies have not been previously commercialized for the specific field of use developed by the venture and that it can be demonstrated that a licensing agreement between the university and the venture is likely.
Ventures that have raised more than $150,000 in equity financing prior to January 1, 2013 are not eligible to compete. There is no limit on funds raised prior to January 1, 2013 from research grants and similar sources of development funds.
Students are responsible for any costs they incur by participating in the competition. However there are no entry fees or other BPC related costs to the students for attending workshops or any of the other related BPC events.
Plans submitted should have a significant technology component. Ventures may be either service-based or product-based but for this competition there should be a significant technology component in the manufacture, delivery or makeup of the product or service provided. The Competition Director reserves the right to determined plan eligibility under this required focus specification.
The Venture must be organized as a for profit business. If your venture is a 501 (c) non-profit then consider entering the Georgia Tech Ideas to SERVE Competition instead. For-profit ventures that have either a strong social or environmental sustainability component (e.g. a triple bottom line focus) are encouraged to enter the BPC if the venture meets the technology requirement noted above. Ventures with an environmental sustainability component are also encouraged to apply for the GREENGUARD award -- a BPC specialty competition.
Intellectual Property Considerations
It is the policy of the Business Plan Competition that all Intellectual Property (IP) remains the ownership of the presenting teams. It should be noted that the presentation of specific information regarding technologies in a business plan competition may constitute public disclosure as it relates to the patent process. For teams thinking about pursuing an international patent, presentation of the concept at a business plan competition may place the concept in the public domain precluding the ability to patent the concept internationally. It is the responsibility of any team that has concerns about public disclosure to check with an IP attorney prior to submitting their plan to the competition. It is also recommended (but not required) that inventors file for a provisional patent prior to disclosure of the invention in this competition. The Competition Director can assist in this process if requested.
All written planning materials and presentations are to be submitted to the competition as pdfs and/or PowerPoint decks. No printed copies of any submitted business plan will be retained by the competition. Judges who receive pdfs and presentation decks will be asked to either destroy or return any printed copies they make to the submitting teams. Judges will not be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement but will be cautioned to not discuss the contents of the plan with anyone not associated with the Competition.
As a condition of submitting planning materials to the BPC, teams agree that those materials -- the investor deck, the youtube elevator pitch, the Executive Summary, Business Model canvas, and the Applications itself maybe use for adamnic purposes in classroom exercises. In those cases where team materials are actually used, moodifications will be made to hide the identy of the team and the entrepreneurs; and any enabling technology detail will be removed.
The Georgia Tech Honor Code applies to all student participants in the Georgia Tech BPC. If a student is concerned about the confidentiality or the misuse of his/her intelectual property by other team members in the course of developing the venture planning materials, it is recommended that the team develop a written (Founders) agreement and or a non-disclosure agrement. A generic Founders Agreement and a template for a sample NDA are linked to this page. While every effort will be made to preserve the confidentiality of each submission, it is suggested that highly sensitive material be excluded from the entry.
Intent to Compete
All teams wishing to compete in the 2013 Georgia Tech BPC must submit an "Intent to Compete ("ITC")" via the competition website during the period December 4, 2012 through February 20, 2012. After February 20, 2012 entry to the competition is closed. ITCs will also be the basis for requesting participation in the BPC mentoring program. Only teams that complete an ITC prior to Janaury 21, 2013 however will be guaranteed a mentor.
Submission Materials and Process
Each team must submit a pdf of their Application, Executive Summary, and Business Model Canvas; and a link to a 60 second elevator pitch (posted on youtube) no later than 8:00AM (morning) Sunday February 24, 2013. This is an absolute deadline. Teams submitting plans past the deadline will not be included in the competition. Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please name your files by including your venture name and type of material.( For example MAID Executive Summary.pdf, MAID Business Model Canvas.ppt, MAID Application.doc) . This will help the competition director and the judges in organizing these materials.
Inclusion in the competition is dependent upon first passing a screening process conducted by the Competition Director. This is a quality control (mainly for competitiveness) step and rarely results in the rejection of an entry. Teams will be notified by 6:00 p.m. on Monday, February 25, 2013 of their inclusion in the preliminary round of the competition along with 1) their specific presentation track, 2) a list of the judges responsbile for that track, 3) and a specific presentation schedule.
Investor Round -- Preliminary
All teams meeting the minimum competition criteria described above will be invited to present their venture concept in a preliminary competition to be held on Friday, March 1, 2013 (as noted above teams will be notified of the specific times for their presentations no later than Monday February 25, 2013.).
Teams will be divided into tracks (based on the total number of teams competing). Each track will be judged by a panel of three or more judges who will have read each team's written plan prior to the presentation. Preliminary round judges will be drawn from the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities in the Atlanta area.
Each team will have a total of 30 minutes (15 minute presentation and a 15 minute Q&A conducted by the judges) to present their investor pitch. Judges will complete rating and comment sheets for both the presentation and the other materials ssubmitted by the team (mainly the Application, Executive Summary, and Business Model Canvas).
Following all team presentations each set of track judges will rank the ventures in their track. The judges will conduct a 15 to 20 minute feedback session for each team to help teams improve theirventure concpets and investor pitch materials.
The first place team in each track will get an automatic invitation to the competition finals to be held on Friday, March 8, 2013.
A total of up to six teams will be selected to move forward and be invited to compete in the finals. As a result, based on the total number of tracks in the preliminary round,one or two second place teams in their tracks may be invited to compete in the finals.
All judging decisions are final.
Investor Round - Finals
Teams selected as finalists will have until 12:00 noon on March 4 to submit a revised Executive Summary (pdf), Business Model Canvas (pdf or PowerPoint) and Investor Deck (PowerPoint) to the Competition Director. Materials should be eMailed to email@example.com.
The final round competition will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013. The final competition will be judged by a diverse set of judges drawn from both the local and national entrepreneurial and venture capital community. It will be a different set of judges than the preliminary competition.
Each team will have a total of 30 minutes (15 minute presentation followed by a 15 minute Q&A conducted by the judges) for their presentation.
Following the conclusion of all team presentations, and prior to the announcement of the competition winners, judges will meet individually with each team and provide verbal feedback.
All judging decisions are final. Judges comments will be returned to the teams following the conclusion of the competition.
* The Competition Director reserves the right to make changes in competition rules and/or awards based on funding and other considerations. Any changes will be published in advance of implementation of the rule changes.