The St. Thomas Business Plan Competition is open to all St. Thomas students and recent alumni (graduated within the last 5 years) with plans for a new company or with a business that's been incorporated less than 12 months.
Have you participated in the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, or any other business competition? This is the logical next step to get your plans on paper, move your business forward and get paid in the process.
There are two divisions of competition – undergraduate and graduate/recent alumni – with a top prize in each of $10,000 cash. Additional prizes totaling $8,000 more are awarded to teams that advance to the finals division.
Social Ventures can also compete for an additional award and an automatic bid to the 2024 Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge in San Diego, CA!
If your business is a social venture, you can compete for an additional $6,000 cash award and an opportunity to compete for up to $25,000 in seed funding at the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (FGSIC). After submitting to the Business Plan Competition, social ventures will also submit an additional 3-5 page problem and solution summary. Social ventures will compete in the morning, before the afternoon Business Plan Competition Finals, and the top two social ventures will receive automatic bids to head to San Diego in May and compete in the FGSIC. Being in the social venture finals DOES NOT preclude you from also competing in the Business Plan Finals in the afternoon.
Social Ventures must engage with one or more of the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participants can address any social or environmental problem as long as it is aligned with at least one of the SDGs.
Any current student of St. Thomas can compete in the FGSIC individually or as part of a team (with a maximum of five members per team). Alumni are welcome to compete. If an alumni team advances to the June Global Finals, at least one team member must be a current St. Thomas student at the time of participation. The rest of the team may belong to the same institution, another participating university, another non-participating institute, or not be a student at all.
To submit for the FGSIC Award, you must complete a 3-5 page summary in addition to your Business Plan submission. Read about the FGSIC requirements here.
The competition is open to all currently enrolled University of St. Thomas undergraduate students registered in the semester of the competition with a valid St. Thomas student ID.
Graduate and Recent Alumni Division
The competition is open to currently enrolled graduate students and post-doctoral fellows registered in the semester of the competition with a valid St. Thomas student ID. Recent alumni, students who have graduated within the past five academic years, are also eligible to compete in this division.
In Either Division
- Submissions must be for a new company or for a business that's been incorporated less than 12 months and cannot have won a previous St. Thomas Business Plan Competition.
- The business should not have received more than $200,000 in equity-related capital (such as seed capital or institutional funding) or generated more than $100,000 in gross revenue prior to the current academic year. Revenue generated during a test-marketing project may be excluded from this provision.
- Teams typically consist of one to four members.
- Each team must designate one student or alumni member as the team leader and point-of-contact for the competition.
- Teams may include non-student or non-alumni members, however, these individuals cannot make up the majority of the team, cannot take part in pitch presentations or win prize money.
- In the case of submissions from an existing organization, at least one student or alumni team member must be a C-level officer or a director of the organization (e.g., Executive Director, CEO, COO, etc.) or the majority owner of the business.
All sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, video and slide deck submissions and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these sessions may be shared with interested people, through media that may include radio, television, printed materials and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that could possibly 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. Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, sponsors, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant. By participating in the competition, entrants agree that no member of the Business Plan Competition team — The University of St. Thomas, members of the judging panel, sponsors and their designate organizations — will assume any liability whatsoever for any disclosures of business plan information that may be made (whether inadvertently or otherwise) by any judge, reviewer, staff member, audience member or other individual connected with, participating in, viewing, hearing, or receiving information from the competition.
Complete you submission on the Reviewr Portal!