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Contest Rules

Contest Rules

  1. Eligibility
    1. The competition is open to University of Nevada, Reno students enrolled during the academic year in which the competition is held and in good standing with the University of Nevada.
      1. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits hours to be eligible.
      2. Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours to be eligible.
      3. Students not meeting either of the two eligibility requirements above may be eligible if:
        1. They are enrolled according to the requirements above for the first semester of the competition (the semester during which the competition begins).
        2. They were enrolled according to the requirements above in the immediately preceding semester.
    2. University of Nevada students who enter the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition remain eligible to compete in any other business plan competition.
    3. While we do not anticipate doing so, the Competition Committee reserves the right to refuse admittance or to remove from the competition any participant, and to change eligibility rules and requirements at any time, in its sole discretion.
  2. Team composition
    1. University of Nevada students may enter as individuals or as part of a team.
    2. Teams shall consist of one to five members.
    3. Non-students may be advisors, mentors, and/or members of the company formed; however, all team members presenting at competition events must be eligible University of Nevada students as defined above.
    4. Graduate and undergraduate students may be on the same team.
    5. Each team shall designate a team leader.
    6. An individual student may be a member of more than one team in the competition, but may be team leader of only one team.
    7. Changes to the team composition following submission of the Intent to Compete must be approved by the Competition Committee.
  3. The business venture
    1. The business may be a start-up or early stage venture.
    2. A business plan submitted for expanding an existing business may be submitted at the discretion of the Competition Committee.
      1. Business ideas submitted to expand an existing business must exhibit the entrant's clear and significant equity interest in the expanded business.
    3. The proposed business cannot be primarily based upon licensing and selling the product of another firm; however, the proposed business can involve licensing and utilizing a technology developed by another entity.


Competition Timeline:

  1. Friday, October 30, 2015, 11:59 p.m. Pacific - Deadline to register for the 2015 competition and submit Intent to Compete via Pitchburner
  2. Friday, November 27, 2015, 11:59 p.m. Pacific - Preliminaries due via Pitchburner
  3. Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - Finalists Announced
  4. Friday, March 18, 2016, 11:59 p.m. - Final Submissions due
  5. Monday, March 28, 2016, 12:00 a.m. - Oral presentations
  6. Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 11:30 a.m. - Winner announcement, JSCU - register today!


Intent to Compete (Competition Registration):

  1. Register for 2016 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition and complete the Intent to Compete form no later than Friday, October 30, 2015, 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. Fill out the application.  Note: No other expression of intent to compete will be accepted.
    1. Complete the Intent to Compete form by providing the following:
      1. Team member names, with contact information, class level, and major;
      2. Team leader (designated contact person);
      3. A 1500 character (max) abstract describing the business venture. Note: The initial business description can be altered, as appropriate;
      4. Names and contact information for project advisors and mentors.
    2. The students listed as team members on the Intent to Compete form will be evaluated by the Competition Committee as to their eligibility.
    3. Teams will receive an email regarding team ineligibility by Wednesday the 4th of November.
    4. All eligible teams are invited to submit a Preliminary Overview of their business idea.

Fill out the Intent to Compete 

Submission Guidelines:

  1. All materials submitted must meet the requirements and regulations of the competition.
  2. Each team may submit only one preliminary overview and, then if a finalist, only one business plan.
  3. The preliminary overview and business plan
    1. must describe original work.
    2. must not contain fabricated or false information.
    3. must appropriately document all sources used.
    4. must clearly indicate that the student(s) entering the Competition will have significant equity interest in the new or expanded business.
    5. may be prepared with or without faculty supervision.
    6. may be prepared in a UNR course for credit, as a component of a UNR independent study course, through the College of Business Entrepreneurship Club (eClub), or as an extra-curricular activity.
  4. Preliminary Overview
    1. Teams will be evaluated to compete as a finalist for the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition based upon the quality of the Preliminary Overview, which is due Friday, November 27, 2015 by 11:59 p.m Pacific. To be submitted through the PitchBurner website.
    2. The body of the overview cannot exceed 10 pages in length, including cover page, appendices, figures, references and illustrations. The overview should be formatted according the following guidelines:
      1. Include a cover page that presents the name of the business, a list of the team participants, their expectant graduation dates and their majors, the mentor(s), as well as the date of submission. This cover page IS included in the total of 10-pages described above.
      2. 1 inch margins
      3. at least single-spaced with appropriate breaks for sections and titles
      4. 12 point or larger font size
    3. The preliminary overview should include information on:
      1. Company overview
      2. Products or services description
      3. Customer/market analysis and competitive advantage
      4. Management personnel and structure
      5. Operating strategies
      6. Milestones that describe how the business is conceived to unfold, from conception to full operation
      7. Financial highlights, primarily cash flow statements, including:
        1. How the business will generate revenue within three (3) years; and
        2. How the award will be used to fund the business.
      8. Critical risks
    4. An appendix, of no more than 3 pages, may be included to support financials presented in the body of the plan; however this appendix counts as part of the ten (10) pages.
    5. The assumptions underlying the financials must be separately and distinctly provided, either in the body of the plan or in the appendix.
    6. Industry mentor: Finalists in the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition are required to work with an industry mentor of their choosing. Entrants must provide the contact information for their mentor(s) on the cover page of their preliminary overview and in the submission form.
    7. A business model canvas that portrays the business value of your plan as well as adequately covers all sections of the canvas.
  5. Written Business Plan
    1. A complete written business plan from the invited and confirmed finalists will be due on or before Friday, March 18, 2016 at 11:59 p.m Pacific via the Reviewer platform.
    2. Complete business plans follow the same guidelines as the preliminary overview with the following exceptions:
      1. The body of the plan is limited to 30 pages, including figures and illustrations.
      2. There is no limit to the length of appendices but they must be specific and relevant to the subject area
      3. The pro forma financials must include
        1. Financial Assumptions
        2. The anticipated startup cost;
        3. A breakeven analysis;
        4. For each of the first three (3) years of operation (the first year by month and the last two by year)
          1. A cash flow statement
          2. A balance sheet
          3. An income statement
          4. Any anticipated investment offerings
    3. Please see the SBA document: Writing a Business Plan.
  6. Oral Presentation
    1. Each of the finalists selected by the Competition Committee will give an oral presentation of their business plan.
    2. The presentation should communicate the following:
      1. Clear description of the product/service and the problem it solves
      2. How the company is unique and differentiated
      3. The market opportunity
      4. Management capabilities
      5. Current development stage
      6. Business Model - how will the company generate profitable revenue?
      7. Measures of success and potential exit opportunities
      8. Understanding of how much money is needed and how it will be used
    3. Team presentations will be limited to 10 minutes. Presentations should include visual aids, such as PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote, etc.
    4. The judges will have 20 minutes to ask the teams questions following their presentation. Questions are not limited in scope and can range from clarifications of points to deeper inquiries into the market or model.

Judging Criterion:

  1. Judges will be selected by the Competition Committee. This committee consists of business professionals and UNR faculty appointed by the Dean of the UNR College of Business.
  2. Judging Criterion
    1. Demonstration of the intention to use the award funds to successfully start the proposed business
    2. Demonstration of the ability to successfully start the proposed business
    3. The likelihood the proposed business will be generating significant revenue within three (3) years.
    4. The potential of the proposed business for growth, job creation, and profitability.

Funds Disbursement:

  1. A check for $50,000 will be awarded to the winning team at the end of the spring semester
  2. Funds may be used for
    1. Development of the business opportunity
    2. Educational expenses while enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Nevada

Responsibilities of Participants, Finalists, and the Award Winner:

  1. Participants agree to complete a survey at the close of the competition designed to determine satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement
  2. The Award winner agrees to submit an annual progress report for three years, starting one year after the receipt of the Award, to communicate progress toward business goals.

Contact Us

College of Business (0024)

1664 N. Virginia Street

Reno, NV 89557

Phone (775) 784-4912

Fax (775) 784-1773

Ansari Business Building, 409

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