Forty-eight students from 21 majors and seven colleges at the University of Nevada, Reno have turned in their “Intent to Compete” in the 2019 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition. The $50,000, winner-takes-all business plan competition is entering its eighth year, and organizers are changing the way the competition is run.
New this year, only 10 teams will be selected to move on and compete in the competition from the initial 23 entries received. Teams will find out if they make the cut Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. While teams will continue to be judged on the quality and potential execution of their created business plan, competition organizers have stressed the importance of developing a viable business model prior to the creation of a business plan.
The judges, a combination of University faculty members and community entrepreneurs, desire to see some validation of the hypotheses behind the initial business ideas, as well as more interdisciplinary teams and diversity within the teams themselves.
“One of our goals is for students to really understand what a solid business team should look like,” Richard Bartholet, director of research at the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship and director of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, said. “Leading up to the Intent to Compete submissions, we held a series of workshops to educate students on the importance of team dynamics, the ideation process, how to develop all the necessary components of a business concept, how to validate those ideas, some legal issues to be considered, assessing competition and how to develop and deliver a business pitch.”
According to Bartholet, not all entrepreneurs need to be visionaries. There are several key roles and a variety of complementary skill sets and personality types involved in most successful business startups. Startups need individuals skilled at operations, relationships/sales and developing the strategic vision.
Bartholet said one of the misperceptions about the competition continues to be around who can compete. Many students still believe only business students are eligible, when, in fact, the annual entrepreneurship competition is open to any University student enrolled during the academic year of the competition or the year prior.
To be eligible, students simply need to be full-time and in good standing – undergraduates need to be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours, and graduate students need to be enrolled in at least six credit hours.
“Some of our strongest competitors have been interdisciplinary teams from across campus,” Bartholet said.
Read the rest of the story at unr.edu/nevada-today.