Last year, I was finishing my last semester as a student in the Moore School of Business and my friend Sam August told me about a Business Plan competition sponsored by the Faber Entrepreneurship center. On the last day, I entered a business plan called “Good Morning Gamecock” and won! My team took that money, renamed the site to Garnet Report, and launched in January.
This year, the Business Plan competition is back, and better than ever! They have been renamed “The Proving Ground” and offer a total of $40,000 in prizes. A cool $15,000 goes to the winner with the best Technology concept.
- $15,000 SCRA Technology Ventures Prize for the best innovative technology idea for the marketplace;
- $10,000 Innovista Innovation Prize for the most innovative approach to a business concept; and
- $5,000 Maxient Social Impact Prize for the business plan best able to contribute or solve a social or environmental challenge.
From the press release:
It’s not just for business students either. The competition is open to all USC undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines, at all eight campuses. Designed to identify and accelerate innovative business ideas – and reward the students who come up with them – the competition is a proving ground for everything from new technologies discovered in the lab to business ideas brainstormed on the back of a napkin, Kress said.
Submissions will be evaluated and narrowed to nine finalists by a group of 15 experienced entrepreneurs in three categories: technology, innovation and social impact. Final teams will pitch their business concepts to a panel of judges in a “Shark Tank”-style competition in front of a live audience on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
If entrepreneurship is something that you are interested in pursuing, this competition is one of the best opportunities in the country. Just sitting down to write a business plan that you believe will teach you more about entrepreneurship than most classes.
To be eligible, you have to be a current USC student, have developed the plan yourself (or as a team), have active involvement in the business, and the venture should be pre-revenue (not making money yet).
I would personally encourage you to enter The Proving Ground, my experience last year was phenomenal. The deadline is October 21st and more information can be found on the application page. If you have questions about the competition or how it works, let me know in the comments.