The Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition is a rigorous competition for Seattle University students and alumni – teams advance through three rounds of judging and feedback (screening round, semi-finals, and finals) to see who will take home the $10,000 Grand Prize! Teams will submit their executive summaries into the screening round, then advancees are hand-selected a coach to get them through the next two rounds. Four teams are then selected from the semi-finals to advance to the final round; these teams will give 10 minute investor-style pitches to a panel of seasoned judges to determine the grand prize winner.
The HSBPC is a public event and draws hundreds of investors, advisors, business leaders, community members, students, alumni, and faculty as audience members. It is the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center's largest event, and one of the hubspots for entrepreneurial spirits!
2022 Competition Dates
Team Coach Application
How many people should be on a team?
Can I have non-students on my team?
Do I have to use the prize money for the business?
Preview the Team Registration questions and instructions here: HSBPC Team Registration
The Screening Round is the first round of the competition! Teams submit a 2-3 page summary of their business plan, which are then read, reviewed, and scored by Screening Round Judges. Teams with a weighted score of 60/100 or higher (usually 12 teams) will progress to the second round, the Semi-Finals (Elevator Fast Pitch and Trade Show).
Judges & Scoring
The Semi-Finals Round will be in the form of two online experiences. It includes two separately judged (but equally weighted) scoring sections - the Elevator Fast Pitch and the Trade Show.
Part A: Elevator Fast Pitch
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 team member, in front of a panel of judges.
Part B: Trade Show
The Trade Show is a giant fair where teams have a "booth" space 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:
Executive Summary Sheet
Each team will create a one-page Executive Summary sheet that will be provided to the Pitch Judges, Trade Show Judges, Audience Choice Judges, and event attendees. The executive summary sheet is due three days before the Trade Show.
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 10 minute presentation followed by 5 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.