Eligibility

The intent of this competition is to expose students to real world experiences and to enhance their entrepreneurial skills while expanding career options after graduation to include entrepreneurship and starting their own company.

The Small Business division of this competition is open to all faculty- or mentor-sponsored, full-time and part-time undergraduates enrolled at any non research campus, two-year college or private regional university. Students who graduate in December prior to the competition are still eligible to compete.

The role of the Advisor for the purpose of the competition is largely administrative. The Advisor provides confirmation of the eligibility of the students, enforces competition rules and is a point of contact for the competition managers. In addition they are expected to provide guidance in researching, writing and presenting the business plan. Advisors can be faculty members or community mentors.

It is not the intent of the competition to be a turnkey commercialization program. In most cases young entrepreneurs may need a few years of business experience prior to launching a new small business.

Business Plan Requirements

  • The business plan must be for a seed, start-up or early stage venture and must address the entire business concept including implementation. Plans must have a unique or competitive advantage.
  • At least one team member must have a key role in the company’s management team.
  • Ineligible are proposals for the buy-out or expansion of an existing company, tax-shelter opportunities, franchise, real estate syndications, and other consulting projects and analyses.
  • The business plan may commercialize an existing product, service or process in a new unique or innovative manner.
  • The business plan and presentation must represent ONLY the original work of each official team member indicating them as the authors of the plan. Business plans developed through previous programs or classes of which other students, mentors or interns have developed presentations or plans on the same concept are not eligible.
  • Please keep in mind that any concept that has  potential for higher utilization, a broad user base, scalability, or can be easily transferable to larger markets and segments is not eligible for the small business division and will need to be entered in the high growth division.  Eligibility discretion is up to the competition management and can be determined at any point during the competition- including any business models that are changed for the oral competition submission that do not meet the aforementioned criteria.
Useful Links:
Forms, Scorecards and Applications The Paulsen Award Application
Guidelines Sample Business Plan
Resources
Rules