There are three major parts to the Business Plan Competition.

Screening Round

The first round is the initial review of business plans that determines which teams will be moving ahead to the Trade Show/Elevator Pitch Round. Approximately 15-20 teams are chosen to progress to the next round. 

Semi-Finals Round

The Trade Show/Elevator Pitch Round is divided into two distinct parts:

Part 1: Trade Show

The Trade Show is a giant fair where teams have a space in the Campion Ballroom to set up a display and present their business idea. You may have a total of four members of your team, including the student/alumni member, working your booth. Teams are scored by two constituents:

  • Trade Show judges. Trade Show judges are pre-selected judges chosen by the Entrepreneurship Center who visit the booths and select a minimum of three teams they feel have the best business idea and presentation.
  • Community Choice judges. Community Choice judges consist of fellow students, friends, and other members of the community who visit the displays and then vote on their favorite business ideas and presentations. They may vote for one to five business ideas and presentations.

Part 2: Elevator Pitch Round

The Elevator Pitch Round consists of a two-minute pitch of the team’s business plan, presented by the active SU student or SU alum, in front of a panel of judges. The combined results of the Trade Show scores, given by the Community Choice judges and the official Trade Show judges, as well as the scores from the Elevator Pitch Round and Screening Round, will narrow the field down to the final teams that will continue to the Final Presentation Round.

Finals Round

The Final Presentation Round is where the final teams present their complete business plan to a panel of judges. Normally, four teams will proceed to the Final Presentation round (exceptions to this number may be made based on the quality of business plans submitted). The Final Presentations focus on the complete business plan where teams present their plans to a group of judges and field questions. Presentations are open to investors, Seattle University faculty, staff, alumni, students, and Seattle University friends. Teams will give a maximum 15 minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers. The judges will meet after the presentations to make final award decisions. Winners will not be announced until the Awards Reception. The presenters will receive feedback from the judges in written form and mentoring within a week after their presentations.

The finalist teams will receive special coaching sessions prior to their final presentations. If teams choose to revise their final plan before the final coaching session, the business plan will be due back three days prior to the coaching session to give the coaches time to review it. After the coaching sessions, the final business plans will be due at least six days prior to the Final Presentations. The finalist teams will also be required to create a Power Point presentation for the Final Presentation.

I'm not exaggerating at all when I say this experience was the hardest I have worked during my academic career at Seattle U (both grad and undergrad) but also the most rewarding - this competition forces you (and allows you!) to blend every single class, subject and lesson into one experience.

Gayatri Eassey 2011 business plan contestant