Contest Rules

Contest Rules

  1. Eligibility
    1. The competition is open to the 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 school year.
    2. University of Nevada students who enter the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition remains 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 maybe 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 for-profit start-up or early stage venture(less than 2 years old and under $500,000 total revenue including grants).
    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.
      2. If the business idea is based upon research done by a faculty member at a university or research entity, the students competing in Sontag must have been assigned at least a 30% ownership interest in the entity, and the entity must have a licensing agreement with the university or other entity where the faculty research was done.
    3. The proposed business cannot be primarily based on 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:

Sontag Workshops (Registration)

  1. Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 7.00 p.m. - 9.00 p.m. at Ansari Business Room #106 (Presentation)
  2. Saturday, December 9, 2017, 12.00 p.m. - 2.00 p.m. at Innevation Center, 450 Sinclair Street (Presentation)

For more information visit our Facebook page.

  1. Friday, December 15, 2017, 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: Deadline for Intent to compete (competition registration)
  2. Saturday, January 27, 2018: Round 1 (Teams will submit the first section of their business plan)
  3. Monday, February 5, 2018: Teams will receive feedback on the Round 1 written plans
  4. Saturday, February 24, 2018: Round 2 (Teams will submit the Second section of their business plan along with the first section if any revisions have been made to that section)
  5. Saturday, March 3, 2018: Oral presentations including the topics of Round 1 and Round 2
  6. Friday, March 9, 2018: Teams will receive feedback on the Round 2 written plans
  7. Saturday, March 31, 2018: Round 3 (Teams will submit the Third (final) section of their business plan along with the first and second section if any revisions have been made to that section)
  8. Friday, April 13, 2018: Teams will receive feedback on the Round 3 written plans and Five finalists will be announced

Intent to Compete (Competition Registration):

Register for 2018 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition and complete the Intent to Compete form no later than Friday, December 15, 2017, 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 eligibility by Friday, December 22, 2017.
  4. All eligible teams are invited to submit a Business plan.

Rounds of Competition:

To allow for periodic feedback from the judges to the student teams, the competition occurs in stages as described below (Rounds 1, 2, 3 and final presentations).

Round 1: Saturday, January 27, 2018. Teams will submit the first section of their business plan, limited to a maximum of 3.5 pages, describing 

  a.  their business idea (product and/or service);
  b.  the value of this product and/or service to customers/users,
  c.  how they will monetize the business (how revenues will be generated), and
  d.  what about their idea will create passion among their founders, employees, customers, investors and any other stakeholders.

Teams will receive feedback on their written plans on Monday, February 5, 2018. [Note: Teams may revise sections of their business plans previously submitted in subsequent rounds of the competition]

Round 2: Saturday, February 24, 2018. Teams will submit the first section of their business plan if any revisions have been made to that section, along with the second section of their business plan, with the combined sections 1 and 2 limited to a maximum 7 pages in length.

The second section of the business plan shall include the following:
   a. a description of who their customers will be, including any customer validation that may have been done by the team,
   b. how they will obtain customers (especially during the initial business launch),
   c. the cost of acquiring customers,
   d. who is or could be competitors to their business (direct and/or indirect, and
   e. how they will differentiate their product and/or service, or otherwise deal with actual or potential competitors.
Teams will receive feedback on the Round 2 submittal on Friday, March 9, 2018.

Oral Presentations: Saturday, March 3, 2018. All the teams need to give the oral presentations which will include topics covered in both of the first two installments of their business plans (Rounds 1 and 2). These presentations will not be scored but they will create impressions among the judges that may impact scoring after Round 3 and have some influence over which teams are selected as finalists. 

Round 3: Saturday, March 31, 2018. Teams will submit the first and second sections of their business plan if any revisions have been made to those sections since Round 2, along with the third (and final) section of their business plan . The total business plan (Sections 1, 2 and 3) shall be limited to a maximum of ten (10) pages, not including pro forma financial statements and other appendices that should be attached to the plan.

The final section of the plan should describe
   a. revenue projections include how the business idea will be monetized, pricing, and revenue timing (launch and ramp-up of revenues);
   b. expense projections for the major expense categories such as the cost of goods sold, support services, research and development, distributor discounts, commissions, etc.;
   c. cash flow projections including how much initial capital the firm would need to launch the business and additional future capital needs based upon the projected “burn rate” following the business launch. How soon will the business need to raise additional capital and how much money will be needed.
The teams should also describe how they would use the $50,000 prize if they the Sontag competition.
Teams will receive feedback on the Round 3 submittal by Friday, April 13, 2018, and on the same date, the five finalists will be announced.

Final oral presentation and selection of the Sontag Award winner: Friday, April 27, 2018. Each of the five finalist teams will make an oral presentation limited to a maximum of ten (10) minutes, with no limit on the number of PowerPoint slides that any team may choose to use.
Each presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the judges limited to a maximum of five (5) minutes. Shortly thereafter the judges will make their decision and the winner of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition will be announced.

Submission Guidelines:

  1. All materials submitted must meet the requirements and regulations of the competition.
  2. Each team may submit a plan or section of a plan for only one business in each round of the competition.  However, sections of plans previously submitted may be revised from round to round.

The 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 a 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.

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

Contact College of Business (0024)

1664 N. Virginia Street

Reno, NV 89557

Phone (775) 784-4912

Fax (775) 784-1773

Ansari Business Building, 409