New Business Venture Competition

Criteria for Judging

Evaluating the Trade Fair

The Trade Fair presentation will be evaluated on the following criteria -

  • The professionalism of the presentation and the contestants present
  • The creativity and the information value of the materials
  • The extent to which the materials convey what the product or service is
  • Information provided at the Fair is consistent with the Business Plan

Evaluating the Elevator Pitch

The Sixty Second Elevator Pitch will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Clarity
  • Conciseness
  • Logic
  • Conveying of a sense of energy and enthusiasm
  • Professionalism
  • Features and benefits of goods or services that the venture proposes

The Written Business Plan will be evaluated on the following criteria -

  • Necessary components – does the business plan contain all of the necessary sections?
  • Well written – the business plan must be written in a clear, concise, and logical manner; additionally, it should adhere to the principles of good writing
  • Viability – the venture must be implementable, realistic, and viable
  • Innovation and Creativity – should be discernible in the venture and the business plan

The written portion of the business plan will comprise 60% of the weight.

Oral Presentation of the Business Plan will be judged using the following criteria:

  • The persuasive presentation of the viability of the venture
  • The materials are presented in a clear, concise, professional, and logical form
  • Presenters convey a sense of confidence, enthusiasm, and professionalism
  • Presenters are responsive to the judge’s question
  • The visual aids are relevant, attractive, and professional

The oral presentation portion of the business plan will comprise 40% of the weight.

Viability of Venture Criteria

  • Market opportunity—there is a clear market present and method for taking advantage of it
  • Competitive advantage—the business has a unique, novel, or distinct approach, which gives it an advantage
  • Management capability—the contestants are able to effectively develop the venture and handle the tasks necessary for its success
  • Financial understanding—the contestants have a good understanding of the financial requirements of the venture
  • Innovation—the contestants have developed an innovative solution to an existing or emerging problem

Other Notes:

  • The decisions of the judges are final.
  • All federal, state and local taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winners.  All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
  • By entering in the competition, the contestants give permission to Northern Michigan University to use the names of the winners and their project for publicity and/or trade purposes without further compensation unless prohibited by law. Contestants grant permission to the University to record and publicize their oral and written presentations, in whole or in part.  All submitted materials become the property of the University and will not be returned to the contestants.
  • Northern Michigan University, judges, and sponsors shall make no claim to any property or rights retained by the contestants.
  • Contestants and any business entities associated with them release and discharge Northern Michigan University, the judges, and prize sponsors, from any and all liability associated with participating in the New Business Venture Plan Competition and with the start-up and operation of any businesses described in the business plans. 
  • Contestants should not present any information to the judges, orally or in writing, which they deem to be confidential, proprietary, or commercially sensitive. Information presented will not be kept secret.  The presentation of the business plan, the elevator pitch competition, and the trade fair are all public events.
  • Competition contestants may be invited by the University to allow implementation of the business plan in a business incubator at the University.