Rules and registration

The following rules apply to the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition and the qualifications to compete. Key dates and competition registration are included, as well. Other resources available to help teams qualify can be found on the Sontag Resources page


The Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition is open to all full-time University of Nevada, Reno students enrolled and in good standing during the academic year of the competition. To be considered a full-time student, undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours, and graduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours. A student may also be eligible if they were enrolled full-time in the preceding school year. (Inquire with a competition administrator.)

University of Nevada students who enter the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition remain eligible to compete in any other business plan competition.

To ensure the integrity of the competition, the Competition Committee reserves the right to, at any point in time, change eligibility rules, change the competition requirements or use its discretion to refuse admittance to or remove from the competition any participant.


Competition registration

Register to qualify for the 2023 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition and complete the Intent to Compete form no later than Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time).

Applicant teams must:

  1. Fill out the application. Complete the Intent to Compete form by providing the following:
    • Team member names, with contact information, class level, and major; the students listed as team members on the Intent to Compete form will be evaluated by the competition committee as to their eligibility
    • Team leader (designated contact person)
    • A 1500-word (max) abstract describing the business venture. Note: The initial business description can be altered, as appropriate
    • Names and contact information for project advisors and mentors
  2. Submit Business Model Canvas worksheet(s) for their business concept
  3. Submit an abstract describing the business venture (1,500 word maximum)

Sontag intent to complete form

Teams will receive an email by Thursday, January 25, 2024 regarding team eligibility and indicating whether they have been selected for a qualifying interview.

Note: No other expression of intent to compete will be accepted.

Judging process

Teams wishing to participate in the Sontag competition will submit a 1,500-word (max) abstract describing the business venture and a business model canvas.

Selected teams that qualify for the Sontag competition will pitch their idea live in front of a group of judges.

The teams accepted to move on are considered quarter-finalists. These teams will submit a six-minute video pitch and written business plan. From this group of teams, those that are accepted to continue are the semi-finalists. These teams will present live to a group of judges, who will ultimately determine who the finalists are. 

The finalist teams will submit their revised six-minute video pitch and written business plan. These teams will also present their finalized pitch live to a new group of judges. A winner will then be selected and the chosen team will receive $50,000.

Sontag judging process timeline

Stage of the Sontag Competition Description Date and Time
Intent to Compete Team information + 1,500 word maximum abstract On or befofe 11:59 p.m., January 25, 2024  
Round 1* Notification / Invitation By January 30, 2024
Round 1*  Six minute pitch followed by six minutes of Q&A February 8 or February 9, 2024
Round 2* Notification / Invitation By February 12, 2024
Round 2* Submit six minute video of pitch and written business plan On or before February 22, 2024
Round 3 - Semi-finals* Notification / Invitation By March 1, 2024
Round 3 - Semi-finals* Six minute live pitch followed by eight minutes of Q&A March 8 or 9, 2024
Round 4 - Finals* Notification / Invitation March 12, 2024
Round 4 - Finals* Submit revised video and business plan On or before April 8, 2024
Round 4 - Finals* Final presentation & awards April 19, 2024 beginning at 5:00 p.m.

*Invitation only


If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Dick Bartholet, Sontag Competition Director, at or (775) 784-6878.

You can also stop by the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship in Ansari Business Room 402.