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The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors, successful entrepreneurs, and community leaders. The judges function as venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentations, all influence the judges’ decisions. Ultimately the winning team should be the team in which the judges would most likely invest their money.

The ranking of the teams is guided by the scorecard (described below), which should be consistent with the approach that would be used by a venture capital or early-stage investor.

Final written business plans must be turned into to the County Representative by the due date listed on your county of participation. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from the Challenge. Written plans will be reviewed and ranked. Top teams will then be chosen to give oral business plan presentations which will be scheduled by the individual county representatives.

Once all counties have chosen a winner(s), their plans will be submitted to Enterprise Columbus for the regional competition. Winning students will be asked to present their plans to a panel of regional judges.

Judges in the Maverick Challenge will be looking for the following:

  • Viability - Is the opportunity reasonable and supported by a sound execution strategy?

  • Realism - Have the assumptions behind the plan been tested in the market to determine the need for the solution being proposed? Does the plan allow for contingencies?

  • Competitiveness - Have you identified competitors and enumerated your competitive advantages? Can the business successfully resist competitive pressures?

  • Maturity - Do the plan authors understand the nature of the business they are proposing, and are their assumptions, projections, and solutions realistic?

  • Experience - Does the applicant have a management team, or can he/she assemble one, that has the breadth and depth of experience required to make the plan a success?

  • Dedication - How has the team evidenced the tenacity required to launch and grow a business?

In addition to the above, attention to the following nuts and bolts will help:

  • Format - Follow the structure given to you by the Pitch Then Plan system. This will help put your plan in a neat and easy to follow format.

  • Writing style - Write for the educated, intelligent layman. Avoid jargon.

  • Graphics - Graphics should help tell a story. Use them where they make sense.

  • Edit and re-edit - Before submitting your plan, run it by people who will give you an honest assessment-about your idea and how it is presented.

  • Typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors should be avoided at all costs

Judging Criteria

Judges will rely on the following criteria in judging the competition:

  1. The commercial potential of the business, with high-potential, growth oriented businesses likely to be viewed more favorably.

  2. The likelihood that the business described in the plan can achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

  3. The decision of the judges is final, including interpretation of the rules.

  4. Judges will not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in connection with performing their duties for this competition. It will be the responsibility of the students to protect their intellectual property.

  5. Judges agree not to initiate a professional relationship with individuals who have an active business plan in the Maverick Challenge. Judges will excuse themselves from discussion about and voting on students in the Challenge if the judge has an existing personal or business relationship with the student.

Scoring Criteria

The winners of the competition will be determined by the judges’ ranking of the teams. The ranking will be based on the judges’ willingness to invest in the company as noted above. The ranking will be completed by the judges for both the written and the oral parts of the business planning competition. Judges will rank the teams from 1 (team least likely to receive funding) to 6 (team most likely to receive funding).

To assist the judges in this decision process and to provide additional feedback to the teams, the judges will fill-out two scorecards for each team. The two scorecards will cover: Written Business Plan and Verbal Presentation.

Please note: The scorecards are designed to assist the judges in evaluating the individual components of each team in order to develop their overall rankings. While there are criteria and scoring guides for the judging of the business plans, all decisions made by the judging panel are final.

Scoring for Written Business Plan

Judges will review the written business plans for each of the teams involved in the Maverick Challenge. They will assess the written business plan, focusing on key elements and the effectiveness of the financial data.

Scoring for Oral Presentation

Judges will listen to and evaluate the oral presentations of the teams involved in the Maverick Challenge. They will assess the poise and professionalism of the presentation as well as evaluate the perceived viability of the venture.

The quantitative assessment provided by the Scorecards is only meant to serve as a guide to the judges for ranking the teams/individuals. The rankings plus which business ideas the judges would invest their money will both be used to determine a winner.



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