Competition and Resources
Resources for Entrepreneurs
The Center for Entrepreneurship aids students in the creation of new organizations that promote independence and self-sufficiency, and make significant contributions to the community in which they operate. Specifically, the center brings together a host of resources from the campus and the community to facilitate the development of successful new ventures.
Some of the resources offered include:
How to Prepare Your Team for a Business Plan Competition
The real prize at these events can't be measured. It's the opportunity you get in networking with people who could end up mentoring you, advocating you or your business plan, or directly supporting you financially. To be successful, you should enter these competitions with the same kind of rigorous effort you would apply to a "real-world" pitch session, because that's what this is: your shot at making an impression. You only have a short window of time to talk with your panel about your business, so it's important that you know exactly what you're talking about when you get the chance to present. Here are a few tips you should follow when preparing:
- Start planning early: The more you work on your business plan, the more refined it will be when you finally present it to the panel. Judges recommend that teams take months, if not over a year to work on the business models, financials plans, and market research it takes to compose a comprehensive plan. You shouldn't enter into a competition if you just came up with an idea.
- Assemble the best team possible: Most successful teams at these competitions are composed of students from diverse disciplines. There are business majors, but there are also students from other areas present to offer their expertise depending on the subject and angle of the business plan. A team pitching a new smartphone app might have computer science and mathematics experts on board in addition to business majors.
- Test your idea: Whether your test is a prototype of a product or a rough trial run of a service, it's important that you test your business plan with real people before you present it to a panel of judges. Doing so will bring your business plan from the theoretical to the practical realm. Your business plan will no longer be an abstract idea, but something that you can visualize in an actual market. After testing your idea, you can refine your business plan based on how people responded.
- Always keep the consumer in mind: You will hear from judges in these competitions that an enterprise will fail if it doesn't keep a consumer in mind at all times during the development stages. When designing a business, you have to think about the market that you want to target and the viability of your product or service within that market. Your product might be a really interesting in theory, but will people actually buy it? Will your business meet the needs of customers that actually exist? You should be absolutely certain of these points before presenting to the panel.
- Profitability: Above all, make sure that your business plan can generate revenue. There will be countless investors and venture capitalists searching for entrepreneurs with ideas worth investing in. If you can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your business plan could be profitable, there's no way people will invest in it
http://www.gimp.org/ - A free software similar to Adobe Photoshop
Business Plan Software - available in the Entrepreneur Center Student Conference room this provides access to over 2,000 sample business plans and can help you write a your business plan
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