Perfecting the Pitch: W&M Business Plan Competition moves into the “Elevator” stage

Mason School Executive Partner William Spaller listens to the elevator pitch by 2012 MBA graduate Edmund Amoye during last year’s W&M Business Plan Competition.

The Annual William & Mary Business Plan Competition has been officially started.  We had over 25 teams across the William and Mary community submit their business plans for consideration. Teams include undergraduate and graduate students from various disciplines across the campus including the Mason School of Business.  The MBA Entrepreneurship and Innovation club runs the competition every year providing a forum for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas and compete for our cash prize.

The Alan B Miller Entrepreneurship Center and the MBA Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club sponsor this competition to “fuel the ambition of the budding entrepreneur.” The William & Mary Business Competition’s main purpose is to make a fun and educational experience for would-be entrepreneurs, while simulating the real-world process of obtaining funds from angel investors and venture capitalists.

Students will compete for cash prizes over $1,500 to put towards the start of their successful business venture!  Since the competition is open to all students of the College of William & Mary. We encourage teams of students from different majors, departments and levels of study (graduate and undergraduate) to participate. Teams can be made up of 1 to 4 individuals and all business ventures must be for-profit entities.

The competition format includes 3 rounds, with chosen teams advancing in each round. The first round consists of submitting an Executive Summary outlining the core business.  Round 2 is the Elevator Pitch in which teams will actually ride Mason elevators with judges to make their pitch in 1-2 minutes. The final round is the presentation of the full business plan to a panel of judges.  Last year’s winning team iTour Mobile and runner up SoapBox Soaps have continued to make their businesses flourish into reality.

Different rounds of the competition will be judged by a group of retired, semi-retired and active executives from the corporate business world. They may belong to venture capitalist firms and angel investor groups. We are lucky to have such a close connection with our Executive Partners who volunteer their time for this competition.  Additionally Professors Dick Ash and Ron Monark, who lead the Entrepreneurship Center and initiated the competition, provide guidance and support throughout the competition. They have in the past invited several guest judges including Dan Akerson, of the Carlyle Group and currently the CEO of General Motors, and David Braun of Capstone Strategic Inc.

Out of 25 entries, 14 teams were selected from Round to move forward to the second Round 2: The Elevator Pitch which will be held on Friday April 12, 2013.  The finalist top 5-6 teams will submit a full written business plan proposal and present their business plans to a panel of judges on April 23, 2013. The competition is open to all to attend and we encourage you to join us in the final presentations and networking reception.

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Sanik Patel

Sanik Patel is a second year MBA student with the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary.

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