Judges will consist of Bradley University faculty, staff, and alumni plus invited judges from the business community, including investors. Decisions of judges are final.
Written plans will be judged on any or all of, but not limited to, the following criteria. All criteria, including the oral presentation, will contribute to the overall score of the plan.
- Overall viability of the proposed business. Describe the product/service. Explain the strength of the concept and its value proposition.
- Assessment of the market. How well has the market been defined and assessed? How large is the market? What market segments will purchase the product/service? How extensive (basic size) and intensive (frequency of purchase) is the market?
- Assessment of competitors. Identify competitors, i.e., how many; include revenue size and market share. How aggressive are the competitors? In terms of marketing strategy, what are your competitors’ key advantages? Compare/contrast your product/service with that of your competitors.
- Financial assessment. How much capital will be required to start the business? How will funds be used? For what amount of investment are you asking for? Will you be financing with debt or equity? What percent of ownership are you willing to give for what amount of capital?
- Marketing strategy. How will you reach your target market? What will be your strategy, including selling and pricing?
- Management team and human resources. Who are the key players? What roles do they play? What are their strengths? Who will you need to hire in the first few months?
- Overall feasibility & Financial projections. Assess the overall feasibility of the projected income, cash flow, and net worth of the company over the next three to five years. Do the projections make sense in light of the market analysis and competitive environment? Use pro formas as a guide.
- Expansive growth and exit strategy. Do you plan to expand this business? Growth should be planned, whether through hiring employees, independent contractors, or franchise opportunities. An exit strategy needs to be included to help the judges and potential investors understand how they will get their money back out of the business.
- Integration. The flow of the written plan should segue properly from one topic to the other. Well constructed, logical arguments derived from cited information sources should act as the basis for assumptions and estimates.
- Professionalism. The presentation and business plan should conform to high quality business practices.