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Competition Rules & Regulations

First round competition detail and rules

For the first round of competition, participant teams will submit a brief summary of their idea. The purpose of this summary is to provide a vision for the proposed venture. This summary may include a brief discussion of the business concept, target customers, industry overview, competitive advantage, and revenue potential. This document is not intended to be as comprehensive as a detailed business plan; it is more of a “business overview,” but it should provide the reader with a summary of the major elements and value proposition of the proposed venture.

  • Each team must complete one (1) entry packet. Five (5) printed copies and one (1) electronic copy must be submitted to The Citadel Baker Business Bowl Business Plan Competition by Thursday, October 24, 2019 by 7:00pm. Printed copies must be delivered to The Baker School of Business, Bond Hall, room 339. The electronic copy must be sent to 
  • Each participant must complete and electronically submit a participant agreement form.

From these summaries, a maximum of eight (8) semi-finalist teams will be chosen to advance to the second round elevator pitch. These semi-finalist teams will be announced by 5:30pm on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.


Second round competition detail and rules

The second round of the competition is extremely important because oral presentation skills are a factor in which team eventually wins the competition. While the first round is solely based on written materials, the second round will take the best of the written summaries and pick a maximum of five (5) finalist teams based on the oral presentations. Each of the semi-finalist teams will present a three to five minute “Elevator Pitch” summarizing their idea to a judging committee on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 in Bond Hall Room 165. The purpose of the presentation is to add a personality and oral presentation skills dimension to the selection process for the competition. The finalist teams will be announced by 5:30pm on Friday, December 6, 2019.


Third round competition detail and rules

The finalist teams advancing to the third or final round of the competition will develop a full business plan for their idea, including development, production and sales strategies, detailed financial projections, and other relevant business details. The purpose of the business plan is to demonstrate the details of the proposed venture. A strong business plan illustrates the current status, the expected needs, and the projected results of implementation of the concept. It demonstrates the feasibility of the concept, the potential problems that may arise, identifies any competitive strengths and weaknesses, and how and when the goals of the idea will be accomplished.

Business plans must be no longer than forty (40) pages in length, not including appendixes. Five (5) printed and bound copies and one (1) electronic copy of the final business plan must be submitted to Baker School of Business, Bond Hall, room 339 by Monday, April 6, 2020, by 5:30pm. In addition to the main components of a standard business plan, each plan must include: A one-page cover sheet and a table of contents.

Each team entry will be judged based on the strength of the business opportunity and viability of the concept, as well as the strength of the management team or potential to attract a strong management team. Marketing, financial, operational, intellectual property and other considerations will also be important factors in the judging process.

The following list provides a sampling of the types of issues the judging panel will consider in their evaluation of each business plan. Please note that these questions are provided for perspective only and do not represent a full or necessary list of evaluation criteria.

A. Overall Opportunity

  • To what extent is the business opportunity both highly attractive and clearly realistic?
  • How big is the market and what is its potential for growth?
  • What consumer, societal, or technology trends could help or hurt this market's growth potential?
  • What is the strategy for implementing the idea?

B. Business Concept

  • What is the business model? How is the business concept unique?
  • What is the probability for this venture to achieve a leadership and/or sustainable position in its market?
  • What comparisons are there to past success stories that indicate this venture will succeed?
  • Has the team addressed how they would handle management issues?

C. Marketing and Operational Considerations

  • Does the team have a viable customer acquisition strategy? Who will be the first customer(s)?
  • Is the pricing strategy compelling and aligned with the business concept?
  • To what extent has, the team researched or tested its ideas through anecdotal interviews, customer concept calls, prototype placement, etc.?
  • How long will it take from the current stage of development to bring this to market?
  • Are the team's milestone objectives realistic and achievable?

D. Competitive Landscape/Source of Competitive Advantage

  • Who will be the primary competitors?
  • What are the business's key competitive differentiating characteristics?
  • What types of safeguards for intellectual property and proprietary rights does the business have?
  • What are the competitive advantages?

E. Investment Considerations and Financial Return

  • What is the amount of up-front capital investment required? What are the total projected financial needs?
  • When will the business begin receiving cash generated from sales revenue? What will be the break-even point?
  • Are the operating and profit margins attractive?
  • Do the market and financial projections demonstrate that the team understands its business?
  • Does there appear to be a compelling exit strategy for investors?

F. Other Factors

  • Is the plan clear and well written?
  • Are there any special considerations, such as legal and regulatory environment issues, that could help or hurt the new venture's potential for success?
  • Has the team analyzed foreseeable risks and proposed adequate alternative courses of action?
  • Can the team orally present its ideas clearly and convincingly?

The final judging event will be held Thursday, April 22, 2020 from 1:00 - 5:45 p.m. The session will consist of each finalist team giving a 30 minute oral presentation of their proposal to the panel judges, which includes questions and answers between the judges and the team members.

After the last team has presented, the judges will meet privately and will discuss the scores and results. The winning team and the runner up team will be selected on the basis of both the written and oral presentations of their business plan. The event will reconvene which will include the announcement of the winner, runner up, presentation of awards, and closing remarks.

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