Welcome to the third and final stage of the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup series! The goals of this stage in the E-Cup are to showcase and provide seed capital to the most compelling student projects. As a result, this stage of the competition is about the commitment of the students involved in the projects, the sustainability of the project, as well as the potential for the project to scale towards significant outcomes.
Accordingly, the Launch! stage of the competition carries expectations beyond those of a traditional business plan competition. Competition submissions are often able to provide evidence of real customer and/or stakeholder demand alongside a vision for how the project could become a sustainable business or non-profit. Furthermore, these student projects have often begun the process of assembling the team and resources to deliver their product or service to an increasing number of customers or stakeholders.
Judges will be considering the following nine dimensions in their decision-making:
The proposal identifies and describes an addressable need or want in society.
The proposal defines an initial group of paying customers (e.g., early adopters) or non-paying users (e.g., patients with insurance, users of a free app) that experience this need or want. Customers would be parties who might purchase the product or service, while stakeholders would be parties who might lack the means to purchase the product/service yet would benefit from the product/service if made available.
The proposal defines and describes the key dynamics of the market context within which the need/want exists. This context would include the alternatives through which this need/want may be presently addressed (the competition), the possible size of the market for the product/service (in dollars or units), and any competitive dynamics that you feel truly matter (e.g., price, location, features).
The proposal presents a novel, original and compelling solution for addressing this need/want—whether based in a new technology, design, production or production method through which the product/service is delivered.
The Value Proposition
The proposal describes and supports how the innovation is an improvement over currently available offerings, thereby meeting or exceeding the needs/wants of the target customers or stakeholders. The proposal uses evidence and analysis to somehow value this innovation from the perspective of a customer or user.
The Business or Impact Model
Describe a feasible, justifiable and defendable means through which to either earn revenue and/or enable the intended social impact. Provide a plan for executing this business or impact model. Where possible, provide evidence of traction, either through revenues, downloads, or other forms of customer engagement.
The project presents a committed group of individuals, including internal team members and advisors, who together present a compelling “team,” capable of moving the project through its next stage.
Use of Funds
The project presents reasonable plan for what it will do with the capital from the competition, why and how this capital will move the project forward (e.g., what uncertainties it might resolve), as well as what future capital and growth will be required for the project to, ultimately, be viable.
Beyond mere viability, the project can provide evidence and analysis to suggest there is the potential for significant financial and/or social return on investment.